Ten days work to pay for one
TRUCKS cost a lot of money to operate.
Fuel, driver, finance, registration, insurance, tyres, maintenance, tolls... it all adds up. Truck operation is expensive. Trucks not operating is money down the drain.
A good friend of mine taught me this about 20 years ago.
He was complaining about a warranty break down, when the service manager said “what’s the problem, we’re fixing it and it won’t cost you anything”.
My friend got more upset, telling him the truck “costs him $1200 a day just sitting there”.
Later, I did some calculations that showed it takes 10 days of work to pay for one lost day. I rang him back.
“Yep, the Christmas break means we don’t make any money until after Easter.”
So, Christmas has just past. The week off work is lost forever.
But, the finance costs, rego cost, insurance, they just keep bleeding you dry. Keep your trucks working.
Most people don’t understand the numbers. Numbers do get mind boggling, but numbers is what it is all about.
If you don’t keep track of the costs, so called improvements can’t be verified. No numbers, no way of measuring.
Break downs are horrible. Your truck is stuck somewhere. The costs go through the roof. And you aren’t making any money. No profits. Just costs.
What can you do about it?
Preventive maintenance is vital. Let’s look at tyres.
They are round and black, cost too much and don’t last long enough. A blown tyre is far worse. You stop, hopefully in control, without doing too much extra damage, or killing someone.
Almost all blown tyres happen because they were under inflated, and no one knew. They get too hot because of excessive tyre flex, and blow out. No rocket science here. But the costs are horrible.
First, you need a new tyre, but your friendly tame tyre dealer is 1000km away. The nearest tyre dealer knows you’re stuck. No discounts here.
Add in the roadside delivery and tyre change, and you’re $1000 down, at least. But it gets worse. You have lost at least three hours, and your time schedule is blown to pieces. How much does that cost? Fatigue laws mean you lose a load, or you risk a hefty fine. There is no way to get back that money. You have probably lost $2000 or more and upset some customers.
Checking tyre pressures is vital, but, who has the time? Tyre Pressure Monitor Systems (TPMS) would have informed the driver before it happened. One blown tyre would have paid for the TPMS.
Lots of other products reduce down time costs, if used.
Better fuel filters extend
the life of your injections system. Bad fuel can cost tens of thousands of dollars, plus days or weeks off the road. Poor air filters, or poor filter design can damage your engine.
Cheap oil might save you a few dollars today, but, the cost later could wipe out your business.
You won’t know, if you don’t keep track of the numbers.
Write down the amount of fuel, the distance travelled, the costs and the conditions into your diary. Note any unusual issues.
Write down the mileage when you fit new tyres and the date. Keep track of how long they last.
Write down the costs for each day, your food, drinks, tolls, fuel and your expected income.
Then, when you change brands of tyres, or add a fuel saving product, you will know if it helps, or hurts. Numbers are your friends.
As an example, Joel Morrow is well known in the USA as a truck owner driver that is getting phenomenal fuel economy on American highways cruising on 120km/h, hauling one trailer.
Through experimentation and keeping track of numbers, he improved both fuel economy and tyre life.
He installed better tyres and got better tyre life. He fitted tyre pressure monitoring and kept his tyre pressures at 100psi and got better tyre life.
He then trialled optimising the tyre pressures for his tyre size and loads, as recommended by tyre manufacturers in their load to inflation tables, and got even better life.
Then he went to the 50 series real wide single tyres and got even better tyre life. Last I heard, he was getting over 400,000 miles (600,000km) from his tyres!
Admittedly, his roads are a lot better than ours. He’s also averaging over 4.25km per litre!
In the next instalment, I’ll tell you more ways to save. And most of them don’t cost much. They all return money, making you money.
Keep trucking. We have a beautiful land. Life is fun.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chet Cline has over 50 years of experience and private research fixing, building, modifying, and improving vehicles of all types. He is sharing his extensive experience to help make a better transport industry. This article is one of several. Please email comments to chet[email protected]mail.com.
TRACK YOUR NUMBERS: Almost all blown tyres happen because they were under inflated, says Chet.
KEEPING COSTS LOW: Ploger driver Joel Morrow is getting phenomenal returns through experimentation. INSET: This truck costs $1200 a day to run.