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Seasonality challenges

“A while ago I was sitting with a farmer in the Western Cape, and he was bemoaning the fact that although most Forklift Rentals were very similar, not much attention was paid to the additional costs he incurred like fuel and the driver,” says John Valentine, Director at Real Telematics. “He said that that the brands themselves had some variances, but he was basing his rental choice firstly on service from the Dealer, but also on whether the machines were already fitted with Real FMX.” Naturally his ears pricked up at this.

The farmer said, “I have about 20 machines of my own already all fitted with Real FMX. But I can take additionally between 30 and 50 short-term rental (STR) machines during my picking times. So although this is the time I make the most money, it’s also the time I incur the most operational costs. So anything that can save me on some of those costs is worth me looking into, like the Excess Idle Cut Out feature that comes with Real FMX.” 

The farmer says that normally the machines just run permanently whether they are carrying loads or not. This means that a substantial amount of fuel is lost unnecessarily and his monthly bill per machine can easily range between R3,500 and R7,000 per machine and sometimes more. But with the Cut Out that automatically shuts the machine down after two to three minutes in idle, he can experience savings of R1,000 to R3,000 per month per machine, depending on run hours and application. In anybody’s terms that is significant. 

“It’s just a pity you cannot do the same with the drivers,” he said.

Valentine reminded him that Real FMX do in fact have a number of interventions that would reduce driver costs and abuses, such as the access control feature that ensures only authorized or qualified individuals can use the machines. This is especially important when there are so many temporary drivers onsite in addition to his normal staff complement. 

“So it is important for him to know that if he hires a driver for the day, he is in fact busy for that whole time, which Real FMX would display and could link to billing for wages purposes.” 

The engine protection (oil/water) feature ensures he does not lose an engine and have to pay replacement costs of about R40,000, while transmission protection ensures that gears are used correctly, thereby reducing the chances of a transmission being lost, another R40,000 repair. 

Starter motor protection prevent starter motors from burning out when there is no fuel or gas in the tank, because the battery is faulty or the ignition is left on – another R1,500 to R2,000 saving. 

The speed limiting feature reduces the chance of health and safety incidents and product, machine, racking and environment damages and every incident is recorded against specific machines and specific drivers for follow up, where relevant. Then of course, there is also a strong possibility of insurance premium reduction. 

“The farmer carries his own insurance on the machines while they are in use, but with Real FMX mitigating much of the normal risk there is no reason why insurers would not be open to at least talking about where premiums could be adjusted,” says Valentine.

“We even now have an increasing demand to fit Real FMX to tractors as well, so that the farmer can see his forklifts and tractors in a single view and ensure that both have optimum protection where relevant. In fact, I cannot think of any reason why any fleet operator would not want to use Real FMX to reduce their costs and subsequently boost profit margins – especially as the Real FMX costs could also be adjusted to cater for seasonal changes,” says Valentine. 

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