Your fleet is a significant source of overhead, of course, and therefore it has a big impact on your bottom line. Minimizing total cost of ownership of heavy equipment is a crucial part of protecting and maximizing your profits. So, it’s important to understand TCO and how to keep it in check.
When we talk about TCO, it’s about a lot more than just what you spend to buy a machine. It takes into account all the other associated costs too, such as fuel and other fluid consumption, maintenance and repairs, operator labor costs, resale value, and more.
Here are some tips for minimizing total cost of ownership of heavy equipment. They should be a built-in part of your regular operational practices.
Keeping Down Heavy Equipment TCO
- Properly match machines and attachments to each application. This is arguably the most important piece of advice for minimizing total cost of ownership of heavy equipment, as it has considerable effects on productivity and the health of a machine. Always use equipment that’s the right size and has the right specs for the job. Don’t overwork machines that are too small or unable to handle the load, and don’t waste time and fluids using machines that are too big. And make sure the attachment is appropriate for the application, too.
- Be diligent about fluid management. Here are some tips about fluid management. Use them to keep fluid costs in check and to protect the condition of your heavy equipment.
- Train operators in best practices. Nobody has more of an effect on the health and lifespan of a machine than its operators. Make sure they all know the best practices to maximize performance and minimize stress on any equipment they operate.
- Train operators to perform pre- and post-operation machine inspections. Thorough inspections are important for everyone’s safety at the job site, but they also help you catch maintenance needs before they turn into major, more time-consuming, more expensive problems. They also help keep your fleet clean, which promotes more efficient performance. Here’s a general pre- and post-operation inspection checklist that outlines the key things to look for.
- Stay on top of scheduled maintenance. While it may seem like regularly scheduled maintenance is an unnecessary cost that increases TCO, it lowers costs in the long run. Preventive maintenance keeps machines operating at peak performance, reducing associated labor and fuel costs. But—as mentioned in the previous bullet point about inspections—it also allows minor concerns to be discovered and remedied before they turn into something more costly that requires more down time.
- Buy from a dealer with a great planned maintenance contract. Because routine maintenance is a critical part of keeping down TCO, it just makes sense to buy from a heavy equipment dealer with highly trained technicians and a generous planned maintenance contract.
- Be proactive about minimizing fuel costs. Controlling fuel costs is one of the most significant aspects of minimizing total cost of ownership for heavy equipment. Here are some tips for controlling fuel costs that help keep TCO in check.
- Have rules against excessive idling. This is part of controlling fuel costs, but it also protects the health of the engine over time. It’s good for the environment, too.
- Order remanufactured parts. Remanufactured parts from the OEM can cost up to 40% less than new parts, and they come ready to install. This can make part replacement a much more affordable and efficient process, reducing downtime and possibly even avoiding the need to rent machines temporarily while waiting for new parts and installation.
- Be smart when purchasing used heavy equipment. Buying used machines is an effective way to acquire heavy equipment at a lower cost and stay in your budget, but it’s no guarantee of a lower TCO in the long run. Take a look at these pointers for buying used heavy equipment to ensure that you end up with machines that perform well, last long enough, and don’t tack on undue maintenance and repair expenses.