5 Ways to Save Fuel and Increase Your Bottom Line
Sky-high oil prices are making the cost of fuel an increasingly significant part of every logger's budget. Whether your operation includes just a few machines or a fleet of a few dozen, fuel saving practices can have a big impact on your bottom line.
Fuel awareness should be a daily concern for every maintenance manager, supervisor, and operator on the team. Fortunately, a fuel-savings program can be implemented into your day-to-day operations without compromising productivity. Here are five common areas where you can reduce fuel consumption:
- Work Planning - When transporting and harvesting, well-thought-out equipment routes can help ensure maximum fuel utilization for each cutter, skidder, loader, and transporter in your fleet. Make routes as direct as possible to achieve optimum efficiency. Pay attention to maintaining the routes too: Look for logging roads that are as flat and clean as possible.
- Operation - Proper equipment operation can have a substantial impact on fuel efficiency. This starts with training the operator in fuel-saving practices, such as idle-time reduction and running each machine at the proper rpm for the application. Operators who train on simulators or equipment off the jobsite can develop work habits and motor skills they need faster and more efficiently than operators who learn these valuable skills on the job – formal training quickly pays for itself.
- Maintenance - Regular machine maintenance is critical when optimizing fuel efficiency. Internal engine wear, lack of lubrication, worn joints, and plugged filters can all cause inefficiencies that increase fuel consumption. A well-maintained machine is also more likely to provide better fuel efficiency over a longer period of time.
- Maintain Wear Parts - Telematics services – the high-tech combination of telecommunications and computer science – can promote fuel savings in a variety of ways. For example, JDLink™ from John Deere delivers an incredible amount of machine data to make fuel savings easier, including:
- Idle monitoring: Track how much time each machine idles. For instance, if one unit shows a lot of idle time, a supervisor can help the operator reduce time spent at idle.
- Air filter restriction: JDLink has the ability to communicate when an air filter is plugging and can send a notification to let you know it's time for filter maintenance.
- Exact fuel usage: JDLink displays the actual fuel consumed by each machine; average fuel consumption; fuel consumed in work versus idle states; and fuel consumed in various engine states; such as low, medium, and high load.
- Machine service codes: When a unit shows a service code that affects engine or machine performance, JDLink can send that information to the fleet manager so immediate action can be taken to fix the problem.
Fuel prices can rise and fall, but they're always going to be substantial. Why spend more than you have to?