Minimising operational costs and maintaining productivity

Friday 7th July 2017

The following article was written by Chris Bailey, Bowmonk's UK Technical Executive.

  • "How can we keep our operational costs at a minimum?"
  • "How do we maintain the level of productivity necessary to generate the highest possible margins?"
  • "In doing so, can I stay on the right side of the law?"

These are probably 3 of the most frequently asked questions most operators are asking themselves, as in the current climate it seems that anything, within reason, is  worthy of some consideration. 

Ordinarily, I would be talking in general terms but on this occasion I am referring specifically to a vehicle's payload capacity, as all of these questions are still relevant. 

We are all aware that there is a very fine line between maximising a vehicle's payload to ensure the highest revenue whilst staying within the confines of the law by not exceeding the maximum plated weight or Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW).

Run overloaded, intentionally or not, to carry as much as possible and you risk being penalised through heavy fines being imposed upon the operator and the driver and, in some cases, impounding the vehicle. An all-round unnecessary inconvenience, compounded to which could be the cost of a late delivery penalty from the customer.

Run underweight to avoid exceeding the limit, and you are then not as productive because you're not maximising your payload potential, added to which could be an extra journey to ensure the correct payload has been delivered. 

I was recently talking to a haulier in the Midlands who was telling me about a timber processing plant in the UK who occasionally would find some vehicles visiting the plant to be overweight. In this instance, the driver/operator could be penalised by way of a fine according to how far the vehicle is over the legal weight limit and, if repeated on subsequent deliveries, they run the risk of being banned from the plant for a set period of time, anything up to a few weeks.

Also, in Ireland I know of a grain distribution plant where the vehicle is loaded and made ready for the road, then checked on the outgoing weighbridge. If the vehicle is found to be overweight, they are usually fined around 100 euros for every tonne over the limit. In addition to which the driver then has to 'U' turn the vehicle and join the queue to offload a satisfactory amount to ensure the vehicle is not overweight, thus reducing the payload capacity. You wouldn't need a calculator to realise the costs incurred from this in-accuracy over a 12 month period.

For a fraction of this cost, a comprehensive on board weighing system like Bowmonk Tapley's Plastecnic system, as pictured, can be installed to ensure the vehicle maintains its maximum payload weight without exceeding the GVW.  

Easy to self-install, taking not much more than half a day to fit and very reasonably priced, the kit includes a neat in-cab unit which can display the GVW, payload weight and axle group weight. In addition to which it has an audible alarm, alerting the operator that the maximum pre-set weight has been reached. All of this data and the audible alarm can be Bluetooth linked to an Android mobile phone allowing a complete hands-free operation.

This system also allows one unit to connect to one of a number of trailers through a dedicated trailer ID application.

Bowmonk-Tapley can now offer, as an optional extra, the facility to automatically report weight data via the T5 Event Data Recorder - along with lots of other vehicle data.  

To find out more about this application, please contact us.   

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