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Last week, we hit the halfway point in this series of 74 tips for reducing your equipment costs. Here is the next set of tips:
Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul is the science of inventory control applied to maintenance spares. Rigorous adherence to inventory control process is a science… not an art. There are some excellent classes on this topic to increase knowledge and improve cost management of inventory control .
Minimize human touch as much as possible—the more automated, the more accurate.
Fuel management technology can take many forms, including electronics that help reduce fuel consumption through direct injection, variable valve timing and other technologies. Fuel telematics include GPS monitoring, fuel usage and burn rates, drivers’ driving behavior and equipment usage. Controlling your costs through fuel telematics utilization should be a must for all companies. Typical installation is $300 to $500 per vehicle and $30 to $50 a month monitoring, and it is worth it. A GPS/telematics system will:
Using telematics you can:
Look for alternative uses of equipment—any other function it could serve to generate revenue. Examples would be using your truck fleet to contract haul during the off-season. If it is sitting, it’s not paying for itself.
Charge for idle time (ownership cost) for non-use time when the equipment is on site but not being used. This discourages operations from hoarding equipment that could be used elsewhere. By eliminating spared equipment and putting pressure on improving reliability of primary equipment, costs goes down as utilization increases.
By chartering a team to conduct the analyses and make recommendations on elimination and acquisition of equipment, better decisions will be made. Set targets for purging equipment each year. Our experiences show that most fleets have 20 to 25 percent opportunity for reduction. Our clients typically are able to eliminate 7 to 10 percent in the first year.
It may surprise you how long you can stretch them. Keep a record to see if there is any degradation or increase in failures. Conditions of use could alter the patterns for scheduled PMs, such as filters.
Although PM can include cleaning, lubrication, testing and scheduled replacements, the most important task in PM is inspection. This means ensuring the equipment components are in a specified condition. Specify what condition you want to find or not find versus the traditional “check belt… check radiator” list. Having a clear set of equipment specs as a checklist is more robust and ensures the likelihood the inspecting technician is examining those conditions rather than relying on recall or memory. It is important that the PMs have clear pass/fail criteria to set a standard of acceptance.
Next time, we’ll finish up by looking at outsourcing maintenance services, managing your vendors and developing a work order system.
Preston Ingalls has more than 41 years of maintenance experience and is president/CEO of TBR Strategies, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based maintenance and reliability consulting firm. He has consulted with firms that have won the Association of Equipment Management Professionals’ Fleet Masters Award for fleet maintenance excellence in 2004 and 2009. In addition, he assisted two other organizations in winning the North American Maintenance Excellence Award.