Yoshiko McCrea 3m 507 #forestrytires
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Unforeseen Downtime Can Easily Turn A Project Into The Red
When you have businesses like forestry or earthmoving where the initial investment into heavy equipment is very high, you will need to get a high utility rate out of those machines. I flew the other day with a low cost carrier in Asia and they were able to touch ground with a plane full of passengers, taxi to the gate, get all the passengers off the plane and board us and then be on the runway for take off all within 30min. This means that they can have a very high utilization rate on the plane.
This means that for their 1h flight, they can sell out a full flight every 1,5h and during 24h they can potentially have 16 flights. If they instead use 2h, due to a bit longer turn-around time, that number drops to 12 flights per 24h. As you can easily see the high utilization of the aircraft will generate a much higher yield and profit. What is missing from this example is the scheduled maintenance to be able to deliver these numbers. Maintenance is to ensure a high safety and to avoid unforeseen problems.
Unforeseen breakdowns will leave you stranded and add a lot of costs, even in the airplane example, if there are breakdowns all of a sudden you have scheduled passengers and no functioning plane. The problem would grows every 90-minute. When you are using heavy equipment, which might cover machines like backhoe loaders, dump trucks in earthmoving applications or a harvester and a forwarder in forestry you will have similar problems if the equipment will break down. Often these breakdowns also have effects on the other equipment that has to wait for the other equipment to finish its job causing a lot of equipment standing still and the employees having to wait.
Unforeseen breakdowns tend to be more costly to repair as you can be working remotely and stuck in difficult terrain, so you will need other equipment to move you and to be able to get you back to the service center or to a remote area where the repair can be done. If it is not mechanical problem it tends to be a tire related problem. Forest tires and earthmoving tires are big tires and changing them are much more difficult than changing a car tire. The high pressures in these tires can be dangerous, so they should be handled with care and proper safety procedures should be in place for tire handling.
Tire maintenance is key to prevent unforeseen downtime due to tire failure. You need to check your tires daily and it is recommended that daily at the end of the shift that the tires are cleaned and checked for wear and any cuts or cracks in the rubber. When the tread depth is getting low it is better to change the tires well in advance and not risk running out the tires too much as the costs can be too high if you have some breakdown.