Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Another interesting weighing exercise.

We spent some time last week, with the assistance of our friends from DVSA, helping out a customer, who needed to weigh a vehicle towing a new trailer to determine the axle weights.

It was the usual story; plenty of full sized plate weighbridges around but nowhere that was suitable for determining accurate axle weights, vital for this haulier's needs.

In fact it was two of the usual stories; the one above plus a customer who is trying to get a quart into a pint pot. Or put another way, far more weight on the trailer than is legally allowed. The hauliers cause isn't helped by the fact that weight limits in some European countries are higher than the UK, Holland for instance, and his customer can't understand why if it's ok to run at 50 tonnes in Amsterdam, why not in Yorkshire?

The rights and wrongs of vehicle weight legislation aside, the operator needs to comply with UK limits and in order to prove to his customer that the vehicle would be overloaded on its axles with a full load on, he needed to find an accurate, calibrated axle weighbridge.

So he approached us and we were pleased to assist by arranging a visit to a local axle weighbridge.

It's another illustration though of the dearth of publicly available axle weighing systems around the UK. And how there is a market out there just waiting to be tapped by enterprising operators installing their own axle weighing systems and charging for their use.

The one in our yard generates between £6-£10,000.00 income a year for a charge of only £6 per vehicle. As the owner of the axle weigher, you could charge what you liked. I recently heard of a £20 weighbridge fee being charged.

There is the initial investment in the equipment and installation, possibly up to £18,000.00, but that is recouped pretty quickly. And with options to spread the cost by hiring or leasing the system, the up front costs need not be as large as it seems.
Could an axle weigher earn you money too?

And once the system costs have been covered, it's free for your own use and generating income which goes straight onto your bottom line.

Whilst many yards are busy or some operators have justifiable concerns about security and don't want unknown vehicles on their sites, many we visit are pretty much empty during the day. The trucks are all out earning their keep and the yard stands idle. What better way to make use of a patch of ground that you're paying rates on than to offer an axle weighing service?

It's not only charging for using the axle weighbridge that could be a money spinner though. How about charging for a forklift to remove excess loads? Or storage? Or maybe even using one of your own vehicles to deliver the overload?

And rather than us have to arrange access to someone else's weighbridge, we'd be quite happy referring those customers who need to weigh axles to your site. Although it would mean that we'd miss out on some interesting chats about foreign weight limits!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

CV Show Success - now the hard work starts!

Well the CV Show has come and gone for another year and now that we've had a bit of time to analyze the event, we've concluded that it was a very successful three days indeed. We'll be back again next year.

There was plenty of interest in axle weighing but also a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and confidence generally. The organisers will say that the attendance was up, they always do, but there were certainly plenty of people around and lots of people to talk to and a good sign of a busy exhibition is how quickly the time went.

From a company who has five 7.5t vehicles delivering sundries to take-aways to a company loading 44t tankers with waste at ports, we had a wide range of applications, vehicles, locations and problems to solve. However the initial chat on the exhibition stand are only the beginning of a long process of understanding the exact requirement, visiting the customer and seeing what he's doing and where.
The CV Show 2014 - Axle Weighbridge Systems Galore!

And that also shows the importance of having a real breadth of products, peripherals and software so that we can offer the right solution for the job. The take-away guy will benefit from OnBoard Indicators as his drivers are on multi-drop work and the load distribution will be changing all the time. The tanker operator though probably needs to look at a dynamic axle weighbridge so that he can maximise his loads before leaving the port.

Unsurprisingly both of those potential customers approached us with an idea of what they wanted to achieve but were unsure of the best solution. They had though both had conversations with people offering the wrong solution. Any company that has a limited number of axle weighing options will not be able to offer impartial advice on the correct system for the job

Impartiality is very important. We will always offer the best solution for the job not just the cheapest to try and make a quick sale. We feel that's a very short term way of doing business. It's certainly not a good way of getting repeat business and does our reputation no good at all

Often we have to tell a customer what he doesn't want to hear - that the solution to his problem is more expensive than he thought. And in many cases over the years we've walked away from an application when we either don't have the correct solution or the customer is not prepared to invest what is needed to do the job properly.

We take axle weighing very seriously and have invested heavily in equipment and manpower to make sure that we do the very best very time we supply a system whether it be a single OnBoard Load Indicator or a complex axle weighbridge system.

And we take the time to thoroughly investigate what the requirement is and explain what the best solution is and how it will benefit the customer in the end.

We understand that, quite rightly, that can be a long process and we have no doubt we'll still be speaking to some of this years new enquiries when next years CV Show rolls round again.