Generally, the cost of maintaining all of the heavy equipment components is the most expensive line item in a business’s operations budget. Just acquiring the machines themselves is often the biggest capitol investment a company has to make. On top of that, replacing the parts that take the most wear and tear (such as heavy equipment hydraulic cylinders, bucket pins, and cutting edges) can put an incredible strain on an operations budget, but not making these necessary repairs is not an option as a business is only as strong at its weakest heavy equipment component. While the nature of every business and heavy equipment part is different, there are some tricks of the trade that help keep operations costs for heavy equipment lower. Check out our tips and tricks below.
Five Tips for Lowering Your Heavy Equipment Costs
- Minimize idle time
Running your heavy equipment while they are not in use burns good money in several ways:
- Obviously, any time the engine is running, it is burning fuel. Fuel is money, people!
- When the engine is burning daylight but now making progress, it’s putting unnecessary wear on it that shortens its lifespan but gets you nothing.
- The run-time hours that you waste non-productively wastes the manufacturer’s warranty on the equipment.
Focus on reducing idle hours through machine features, such as automatic shutdown or one-touch idle, or through employee training. This is low-hanging fruit in the wasted heavy equipment costs world.
- Consider remanufactured parts
Even with the best care, it is inevitable that parts on your heavy equipment will need to be replaced from time to time. When that time comes, you can save yourself a truckload of cash by using remanufactured parts. For example, heavy equipment hydraulic cylinders are costly, yet have to be replaced frequently. When you buy it new, heavy equipment hydraulic cylinders can really take a toll on your budget. Meanwhile, buying remanufactured heavy equipment hydraulic cylinders involve a fraction of the cost.
We know what you’re thinking. Your heavy machinery is your most valuable asset, you don’t want to outfit it with second-rate parts. However, remanufactured parts are often a more sound purchase. They’ve been extensively inspected and tested to ensure quality.
- Invest in operator training
Approximately one-third of equipment failures are a result operator errors. Investing in proper operating training is a great way to avoid expensive failures due to human error.
If you are concerned about the cost of task training all of your employees on all of your equipment, consider the other risks of your workers being undertrained. This is not just an issue of money. Improper use of heavy equipment can be extremely dangerous — there is no amount of money in the world that is worth losing a human life.
- Protect your equipment
Just as football players wear padding to protect the critical parts of their body from injury while taking a hit or two on the field, so should you protect the parts of your heavy equipment that are most likely to be damaged in a day’s work. The nature of your work probably involves heavy scraping, scuffing, and regular wear and tear on the underbelly of your equipment. By covering the surface with a hardox steel plate, the plate takes the beating and the important (and costly) components of your machinery are protected. When the hardox plate wears out, it can easily be replaced.
- Consider leasing vs. buying
There are many benefits to buying your heavy equipment. When you buy your machinery, your costs add equity to your business. However, sometimes your work is so harsh that it beats the daylights out of your expensive asset. In these situations, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by tying up your capital in equipment that you run into the ground.
When this is the case, it might be more financially beneficial to spend far less to just lease your heavy machinery. Yes, the money that you spend to use the equipment is an operational cost that doesn’t add value to the business, but if you run your heavy machinery to failure, it doesn’t add value either.
Do you have any other tips for reducing heavy equipment operational costs? Please share in the comment section below!