Wise winter approach maximises resource whilst minimising costs
igh achievers for highway maintenance efficiency replace another dedicated snow blower with the adaptable Multihog, achieving all year utilisation whilst saving approx. £130,000+
Durham County Council are set for their second Multihog following last year’s purchase of a MH machine with Patch Planer and Snow Blower attachments.
As part of their capital replacement programme the highway team initially purchased their first machine to replace a dedicated snow blower to operate in the High Pennines domain of the County. Given the Hog’s compact size, powerful hydraulics and 4-wheel drive capabilities, there were no doubts on performance with the attachment capable of shifting 500 tonnes of snow per hour.
The Council had two key considerations prior to making their decision on snow blower replacement:
The high procurement costs associated with dedicated snow blowers
The under-utilisation of a single purpose asset whose usage is weather dependent
Maximising resource, minimising costs
Durham recently won plaudits from government ministers for their highway service delivery after they were awarded top marks in the UK for service efficiency, achieving a maximum ‘band three’ rating in an assessment organised by the Department for Transport.
Although winters in the North remain challenging they haven’t been as severe as in previous years, and with this in mind Durham were adamant they wouldn’t invest in further under-utilised pieces of plant, particularly in-line with declining budget cuts. Likewise, procurement of a multi-functional piece of plan would be sure to lower fleet maintenance, training and running costs.
Mark Readman, Highway Services Manager, was keen to maximise the Multihog’s all season capabilities, with the patch planer attachment enabling the machine to be actively engaged in resurfacing and patching works for the majority of the year.
Mark was complimentary on the machine’s quick interchangeability of attachments which allows for a rapid response when required, “attachments are easily transferred therefore offering real flexibility. This machine without doubt has provided a cost effective solution to Durham’s aim to provide an efficient and effective service”.
The capital investment for the purchase was funded via the Council’s winter maintenance budget, allowing the highways team to benefit from reduced costs on both surfacing and patching contracts as the Multihog is able to be utilised with small operating and maintenance costs.
Following the decision to opt for a Multihog, Durham have reported savings of £80,000 in their capital replacement budget and have also been able to offset hire costs of a half metre which incurred approximate costs of £50,000 per annum, achieving total savings for £130,000 in their first year of purchase. Savings are anticipated to grow year on year with the Council now eliminating the need to hire in additional plant, whilst repair/maintenance costs on the initial snow blower, which are notorious for high maintenance, are not accounted for in the savings above. Similarly, any efficiencies/benefits from a back office perspective haven’t been included, with administration work involved with hiring of equipment and procurement process reduced with the one machine procurement.
Delivering a “lean” service
Given the success of the first machine Durham have now opted for a second Multihog with Snow Blower attachment and have maximised the machines versatility by opting for fork lift mast and sweeper brush attachments to carry out depot duty work, further offsetting procurement and ownership costs of additional pieces of plant.
“We have been hugely impressed with the first machine and its dual use capacity so much so we have just placed order for another. We are set to replace a second dedicated snowblower which is at the end of its operating life, however this time we have chosen to procure both forklift and brush attachments. This will allow our service to remove a hired forklift from our operational stores provision and also reduce hired sweeper costs for depot maintenance purposes. Once again a dual use asset with maximum utilisation through the year” Mark Readman.