It turns out that there is a simple and effective way to save money on your fleet in the long run, but it is often overlooked. Monitoring and managing the age of your fleet only requires a small number of man-hours per year depending on the size of your fleet but its benefits are clear.
Monitoring an ageing fleet requires more thought than what most businesses have to consider with their yearly capital. Many businesses operate on simple 5-year plans, such as replacing all computers every 5 years. For construction machinery, closer attention is required as different machines have different lifespans. Sometimes you can get lucky and get a grader that goes years without repairs or other times you might just get a lemon.
This guide will outline the steps needed to monitor your fleet and the benefits that are possible from managing the age of your fleet.
1. Save on Repairs and Replacements
As construction machines age, they require maintenance and repairs more often. This can become especially expensive once machines reach a certain age, as repairs and parts become exponentially more expensive. Sourcing a temporary replacement machine while yours is being repaired is a cost that all of us would like to avoid if possible. New machinery is far less likely to need frequent and time-consuming maintenance compared to older plant.
Some larger companies have started hiring large portions of their fleet. Hiring allows them to maintain an up to date fleet without the huge costs of deposits and ongoing loans. Hiring construction equipment is an ongoing variable cost, but if you want flexibility and the latest and most efficient technology, then it may be the best option for you. As the terms of your hire end, this gives you the option to rotate your fleet and get newer machinery that is far less likely to need repairs.
2. Save on Fuel
Upgrading to a new construction machine usually means that your new vehicle is more fuel-efficient and easier to operate than the original plant. Research conducted by the Truck Industry Council indicates that 41.7% of Australia’s fleet of trucks was manufactured before 2003, where there were limited exhaust emission standards.
These trucks emit more exhaust and are therefore worse for the environment and less fuel-efficient than their modern equivalents. Australia’s exhaust regulations are much more relaxed than Europe’s, but if they were to change, upgrading to a newer truck would have to be considered to comply. Therefore, upgrading your fleet at regular intervals allows you to stay on top of any regulations as well as save on fuel costs.
3. Track your Data
By tracking each vehicle’s maintenance costs, this allows you to track how much you have to spend maintaining each vehicle compared to how much you originally paid for it. One commonly recognised rule of thumb is that if you have spent more than 50% of the cost of the vehicle on repairs then you should consider replacing it. If you have detailed data on the costs associated with your fleet, you may be able to pre-empt this rule of thumb by upgrading vehicles that have high repair rates but have not yet reached the 50% threshold.
Noticing these trends across your fleet can help you offload problematic vehicles earlier than usual, therefore saving you money in the long run. There are software and telematics programs available to assist with your data management, which allows you to use a simple tool to measure your fleet costs. Making data entry a part of your routine will help you save costs in the long-term.
4. Complete a Job More Efficiently
New machinery will almost always have improved performance compared to older models. This will allow you to complete jobs faster, therefore saving money on labour. Any way to ease the pressure of meeting deadlines is a welcome bonus. The high cost of upgrading your fleet might seem daunting initially but your clients will thank you for it when you can finish jobs on or ahead of schedule. The cost savings on repairs and fuel will help offset some of the costs of upgrading your fleet.
5. Lower the Risk of On-Site Breakdowns
There’s nothing worse than when you are facing a deadline and your equipment just won’t work. An older fleet is more likely to face performance issues than new machines. An on-site breakdown can put your project behind for days until the machine is repaired. Parts required to fix older machines can also be hard to source, which may potentially delay your project even further.
It is clear that many fleet operators could be undertaking a more effective method of fleet management. For only a few more man-hours per year, you could have a much better idea as to the costs associated with your fleet and where your machines are in their lifespan. If hiring machines is an option that looks appealing to you, then visit our website or contact us at iSeekplant, we’re more than happy to help.