The Cost of Dirt

The Cost of Dirt

In times like these when the economy and budgets are tight, of one of the first steps often taken toward cutting costs is reducing or eliminating equipment-wash programs. There are important factors to contemplate before taking these measures.

For example, soil and debris buildup on mechanical components insulates heat-sensitive components and shortens their life; promotes electrical shorts and vehicle fires; creates acids that erode finishes, base materials and electric components; accelerates wear and abrasion and shortens lubrication life.

Effects on your equipments’ paint and metal finish many include a breakdown in the chemical structure of paint surfaces, reducing paint life; promotes scratches and scuffing due to the abrasive effect; and require more frequent refinishing- potentially doubling the cost.

Cutting back or reducing equipment washing also encourages more frequent Department of Transportation inspections- which can impede timely deliveries or service, reduces your employees’ pride in their work, increases time required for tasks, promotes dirt and dust contamination of equipment, and reduces the ability to effectively diagnose mechanical issues. Additionally, it also creates higher maintenance costs, discourages third-party repair facilities from working on your fleet, impedes your ability to collect warranty, affects the quality of preventative maintenance inspections, and affects your ability to hire competent drivers and technicians. And that is just within your shop.

The perception of your organization can also decrease since your fleet is your billboard and primary form of advertising.  It can even have a negative impact on your negotiating ability, meaning a poor overall perception of your fleet in the community which equates to a negative impact on pricing.

Dirty equipment can affect your ability to recruit good drivers, imparting an ‘I don’t care” attitude throughout the driver ranks. It can foster an unsafe working environment, reduce the quality of communication between operations and maintenance and create additional employee turnover.

All this reduce’s the value of your assets – decreasing return on capital – causing negative vehicle residual value- affecting confidence and contributing to higher fixed and variable cost structure.

Finally, dirty equipment has an effect on safety. Why?

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