REDUCING TRANSPORT COSTS
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TO everyone associated, directly or indirectly, with the distributive trades, the questions of transport costs and control are of paramount importance. In some cases the expense of running a transport fleet is out of all proportion to the other costs of the business, and becomes the rock upon which the business ship is liable to founder, unless definite methods of costing and control be instituted.
In many concerns the cost of running the fleet is 10 per cent, of the turnover, which means that, in determining the sales price of the commodity made, or the service rendered, 10 per cent, of that price must be reckoned as being lost in transport costs. It is questionable whether 1.2d. is a justifiable charge for the delivery of an article, or a service, costing 10.8d., and, unless it can be proved that the facilities given for the 1.2d. would cost more if thei use of transport was not made, they have no justification.
Justifying Transport Costs.
Transport costs can be justified only if they be commensurate with the service rendered the consumer.
Waste is abhorrent to all properly ordered minds, and waste in the shape of inefficient transport is the most abhorrent of all, for it can so easily be prevented. It is a disservice to the community for whom the producer is working, and B36 inefficient transport should not be allowed to exist.
The most common forms of inefficient transport are the use of unsuitable types of vehicle for the work to be done, the continuance in operation of decrepit and worn-out vehicles, and the employment of machines in a bad state of repair.
Difficulties will probably arise in achieving the ideal fleet, but every organization should determine what its ideal is going to be, then set out to achieve it The work to be done, the goods to be .handled, the service to be rendered should all be reviewed, along with the weights to be carried, the length of the runs and the speed at which the transport has to work. From past experience it will be possible to determine the type, power and carrying capacity best suited for each particular job, but, wherever possible, the fleet should consist of lorries all of the same make, although possibly of different powers and capacities.
If a suitable standard body cannot be secured, a good coachbuilt body is a sound investment, as such a body will outlive two chassis. Being built to meet special requirements, the body gives greater speed in loading and unloading, which is a consideration often overlooked by transport owners.
After ascertaining that the techni
cal features of the vehicle are suitable for the operator's requirements, but before finally deciding upon the make to be standardized, the prospective purchaser should satisfy himself that the manufacturer he favours pursues a policy which will enable engines and other principal units to be interchangeable.
Several commercial-vehicle manufacturers have, in a year, changed the design three, and, in some cases, four times. Accordingly, if an organization had two machines of this make, it would be necessary to carry in stock two sets of spares, where only one should be necessary.
Advantages of Standardization.
A.‘ fleet consisting of motors all of the same make has many advantages. The replacement units are interchangeable, the maintenance staff becomes extremely efficient when handling only one make, and is able to diagnose faults more quickly, whilst drivers can also be changed from one vehicle to another with greater ease. Further, a standard fleet with standard bodies has a much smarter appearance and conveys a better impression to one's customers than does a heterogeneous collection of odd makes and sizes.
There should be a record card for every vehicle, giving the fleet number of the unit, the registered number, engine number, chassis number, horse power, year of make, rate of insurance, and with which company it is insured, size of tyres and recommended pressures, date when purchased, its value and rate of depreciation, and a blank for the date when sold or discarded.
On this card should be entered the name of the driver and the date when he took over the lorry, particulars of cost, and the date of all major overhauls or painting, the dates and readings of the mileage running the fleet. The essential cost is that per 1 or per ton of goods carried, A van might be running empty half the day and yet its cost per mile be well below the average. Another, the cost of which per mile was above the average, might be running fully loaded the whole day. Accordingly, its cost, in relation to the value of the goods carried, would be low in comparison with the other, hence it is essential, for proper control, to calculate running costs as a percentage of the The best method of ascertaining whether or not a van's time is fully occupied when out on the road is to
fit a time recorder. The writer often thinks that it is most inconsistent to make a driver cheek-in on his arrival in the garage in the morning, and then not tolobtain a time record of his work during the
day. The psychological effect of the time recorder on the driver should be to speed up deliveries and minimize unnecessary halts.
The system necessary to collect all the infoltaation given onthe recorder, when new tyres are fitted and old ones scrapped, and the fourweekly consumption of petrol and oil.
To this card should-be attached a sheet giving the particulars of all accidents in which the machine has been involved. In this way a complete history of the vehicle from the date of purchase until the day it is disposed of is available at a glance,.
With regard to the recording of petrol and oil consumption on a four-weekly basis, the writer has found this to be the best method of keeping checks.
The necessary adjunct to the record card is a four-weekly analysis of the fleet's running and cost. This analysis should consist of the cost per vehicle for insurance, licence, garaging, depreciation, repairs, petrol, oils, tyres and wages, the number of miles run during the period, and the value or the weight of the goods carried. These figures analysed on the sheet give the cost per mile, and the • cost per or per ton of the goods carried for . every unit, and the average for the fleet.
From this analysis the cost of every unit is determined, and whether it is above or below the average, but it should be pointed out that it is not sufficient to know what is the cost per mile, as that is no indication of the. expense of work done. By this analysis it will be discovered which units of the fleet are not pulling their weight and, by a redistribution of the work, or by the reorganization of the journeys, savings could be effected.
analysis sheet is neither elaborate nor cumbersome, and can be amended or extended to suit any size of fleet. The system will be outlined in next week's issue of The Commercial Motor.