Operate Your Vehicle Scale More Efficiently
What is the cost of owning and operating a vehicle scale? You might be surprised to learn how much the cost can vary. Depending on the weighing technology you buy, you could end up paying many times more for upkeep than your competitors pay.
A vehicle scale is a valuable asset to your business. While owning a scale contributes to your profitability, it also involves ongoing costs and risks. The decisions that you make when you buy a scale will affect your business financially for many years to come.
Total cost of ownership
To understand the total cost of ownership, look at what you will spend over the life of your scale. The life cycle can be divided into four stages:
The initial purchase price includes the costs of acquisition and installation. Because those costs are fixed, budgeting for them is easy. Although the initial purchase price is significant, it is just one factor you should consider when buying a scale.
Of the four stages, operation has the greatest potential impact on your budget. While the other stages cover a few months of the life cycle, the operating life of a vehicle scale can last for 20 years or more.
What you don’t know
Any equipment that is operated for 20 years or more requires periodic maintenance. By signing a service contract, you can set fixed costs for regularly scheduled maintenance and inspections. What you don’t know is how much you will have to pay for unscheduled repairs over the life of a scale. If there is no way to predict those costs, there is no way to budget for them.
Reduce repair costs
One scale owner’s experience will give you an idea of how much money is at risk. A major aggregates supplier operates seven facilities, each with its own truck scale. When the company decided to add a new truck scale, its service provider analyzed the maintenance records for all seven facilities. With three METTLER TOLEDO scales and four from another supplier, the company was in a good position to compare costs for the two brands.
The table shows the stunning results. During the previous 5 years, this company had spent almost $100,000 replacing failed load cells in the competitor’s scales. By comparison, the company had paid nothing to replace METTLER TOLEDO load cells during the first 5 years of operation. In fact, not a single POWERCELL® load cell had failed in the 15 years since the oldest METTLER TOLEDO scale was first installed.
The differences did not end there. As other components failed during the first 5 years, overall repair costs rose to nearly $150,000 for the competitor’s scales. Those costs were on top of the fees that the owner paid for regularly scheduled maintenance and inspections.
|METTLER TOLEDO Scales (3 Scales)
|Competitor’s Scales (4 Scales)
|Number of Load Cells Replaced
|0 (in 5 years)
|34 (in 5 years)
|Load Cell Replacement Cost
|Total Scale Repair and Replacement cost
Comparison of repair and replacement cost during the first 5 years that two brands of truck scales were operated by an aggregates supplier.
Keep in mind that the cost of ownership includes more than just repairs. When a load cell or other component fails, you also face downtime. How much money you lose when your scale is shut down depends on the length of the downtime and your contingency plans. Some companies spend extra time and money transporting material to a remote scale. Others shut down production until their scales have been repaired. Scale maintenance is part of the cost of doing business. The problem is that few scale owners are aware of how much more some scales cost to maintain. Because they have no means of comparison, most scale owners assume that what they are paying is the norm.
Choose the right scale
A vehicle scale should contribute to your profits, not waste them. It pays to understand how different weighing technologies can affect your business. When shopping for a vehicle scale, factor in the total cost of ownership. Look for four things that make a big difference over the life of a scale:
- A track record of reliable operation and minimal downtime
- A strong warranty that eliminates replacement costs
- The ability to maintain high weighing accuracy
- Life-cycle testing that proves a weighbridge’s longevity
Choosing the right scale will reduce operating costs significantly. In addition to saving money, you benefit from the predictable costs that allow you to make better budgeting and planning decisions.