Friday, 30 August 2013

Exhibitions - an excellent place to discuss axle weighing

We'll be attending the Recycling & Waste Management Show in a couple of weeks. Running from 10 to 12 September at the NEC it's now the premier show to discuss all things waste.

In this age of email, mobile phones, Twitter etc, trade shows like this may seem old fashioned and maybe even unnecessary. That couldn't be farther from the truth.

Our experience has shown that if you are selling a highly technical and/or specialised product, electronic media only plays a very small role in the sales process. Some products, like our axle weighing systems, really need face to face meetings, site visits and frequently input from many people with each putting in their ideas and bouncing them off each other.

With 35 years experience in axle weighing, when I visit a client these days I can learn a lot about their operation, the vehicles they run and even possible installation locations simply when walking from the car to meet the client. I can't do that via an email!

If you're selling a mass market product direct to consumers then on line selling, Facebook etc are essential and could well be your main access to your market these days.

But when you're looking for something more technical, it can prove a costly mistake just to Google it and then buy the cheapest you find on line.

The vast majority of our customers approach us with a good idea of what their problem is but not what the solution might be. And as axle weighers come in many formats all designed to perform different tasks, without expert input it would be easy to make an incorrect and expensive choice.

The RWM is an excellent opportunity to meet face to face people who have a problem to solve, to discuss what can and cannot be achieved and how to cost effectively solve their problem.

Here's a typical example.

Two years ago at the Show we were approached by a client who was about to purchase a traditional plate weighbridge. He was about to buy a 'cheap' system he'd found on the internet and had only approached us with a mild interest in our prices. During the conversation we established what vehicles he was operating, how much room he had and what information he needed.

It became clear to him during the discussion that what he was about to buy wouldn't actually do the job he wanted. A site visit was set up and we specified a dynamic axle weighbridge which would weigh the largest vehicle in his fleet, take up far less room and be far easier to maintain and keep clean.
A dynamic axle weighbridge in a waste application
Axtec Dynamic Axle Weighbridge - the right system for this job

None of these issues would have been discovered simply by browsing the web for the cheapest deal.

So long live exhibitions and face to face meetings.

Come and see us at the NEC on Stand 20A21 at the RWM Show and we'll be happy to discuss your needs and see if we can help.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Axle weighing - buying the right product.

Despite the growth in electronic media, there are some products that really do still need face to face contact.

Most enquiries we receive for axle weighing need a detailed discussion about the customers' operation, the type of vehicles they want to weigh, the location, the information they need from the system etc. And rarely is it possible to get all the information  and make a professional judgement on the right system for the job just by swapping a few emails or a (probably interrupted) conversation on a mobile phone.

Perhaps unsurprisingly many people do not realise what a technical subject axle weighing is and will try to order something from the internet. An axle weighing system though is not the same as buying a TV or DVD player. If you've plumped for a specific make of TV or DVD player, the internet is a great place to hunt down the cheapest supplier and grab a bargain. The same doesn't apply to an axle weigher.

Just about everybody has a TV and it's a widely understood product. People know what they want from it, what it looks like and what it will do for them. Axle weighing on the other hand, despite being around since the late 60's, is not something every transport operation needs and is a largely misunderstood concept. And when they do need it, they really need expert advice on what will be best for their needs.

A lot of expensive mistakes have been made by people having only the vaguest idea of what they want then buying the cheapest product that apparently fits the bill. We know this from our vast experience of helping customers understand why that the cheap system they bought off the web doesn't actually do the job they want.
Portable Axle Scale
Portable weighpads - simple but are they right for your job?

It's the reason we developed such a wide range of systems; because no one system will suit every application.

Because we offer such a wide range of different systems, we can offer free advice on the right one for the job. We never ever sell the wrong product for the job and will always advise the customer correctly even if it's not what they want to hear. It does nobody any favours for us to supply the wrong system for the application. Our reputation suffers and the customer still hasn't solved his axle weighing problem.

We even have customers who have bought more than one type of system to suit different types of their operation. Static axle weighbridges for the main depots, portable weighpads for compliance officers to use out on the road and onboard indicators for those vehicles which operate from the drivers home.

A phone call to discuss your needs won't cost the earth but could save you a fortune.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Extra profit to be made from an axle weighbridge

If you open any of the trucking trade magazines, you will inevitably find an article, statistics or both about fuel economy. Vital as that is, there is more than one way to add to the bottom line.

We recently installed eight axle weighbridges for Hanson who, just like any other haulier, need to squeeze the maximum profit from their operation. All operators need to run legally though and one way to avoid overloading is to run vehicles at less than full capacity. This though is costly; you have carrying capacity which you're not using.

To avoid this, Hanson priced up axle weighing systems and found that by maximising their loads they would get their investment back in 2-3 months. Yes that's right 2-3 months. After that, they are making extra profit on every trip.

Dynamic Axle Weighbridge installed at Hanson
One of the Hanson axle weighbridges
The system is completely driver operated so no extra staff are needed. As a vehicle approaches the axle weighing platform, the driver enters in a vehicle ID and a trailer ID. The system also asks if there are any axles lifted, it's not unusual for a 6-axle outfit to run at 5-axles if not fully loaded, so that the system weighs the right number of axles.

Each weighing is stored in memory so that management can get a print showing who used it, when, were they overloaded, did they weigh again after correcting an overload and most importantly what the percentage utilization of the vehicle is.

And the result of all this is that Hanson now load their vehicles to maximum, squeeze every last ounce of payload out of them and will increase their profits.

Adding to the bottom line isn't just about fuel economy and using an axle weigher to improve efficiency is a good alternative.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Sometimes the customer doesn't always know best.

Sometimes the customer doesn't always know best.

Last year I went to see a customer in the midlands who is running a mixed fleet of vehicles but whose prime concern was the front axle overloads on 3-axle rigids on multi-drop work.

I've come across this type of application before and the most cost effective solution is an OnBoard Load Indicator like the one pictured. It's fitted to the vehicle and shows axle and gross weights all the time the driver is out on the road.

Despite me explaining that this was the correct solution for the job, the customer insisted that he wanted an axle weighbridge 'like the ones VOSA use'. Well, we supply those systems to VOSA but they aren't always the right machine for the job.

We spent a long time finding a suitable location to install a system in the customers yard including three visits by two men to do levels surveys. But it wasn't an easy installation for an axle weighbridge and the cost rose.

Until the customer himself asked, 'I don't suppose you make anything that fits to the vehicle do you?' I had to concentrate very hard not to point out that I'd recommended that option a year ago!

Anyway, quotation done on Friday and an order received today for 13 vehicles. A much cheaper and better solution than the axle weighbridge.

Everything you wanted to know about axle weighing.

This is an occasional blog about vehicle weighing and specifically axle weighing.

No idea what to start with so perhaps introduce the company. Briefly Axtec are the only UK specialists in this field and we've all been doing it a very long time, about 35 years in my case.

Whilst what we do will hold no interest to the general public, it might be something that those involved in commercial transport might find useful and we may touch on other transport related subjects as well.

You'll find us at where you have all our contact information.

It should be noted that the comments and opinions contained in these ramblings are mine alone and do not constitute the policy of the Company or ts associates.