“The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.” This priceless quotation comes from an American entrepreneur and founder of a great automotive empire who revolutionized the face of modern manufacturing industries with his adoption of the assembly line – Henry Ford.
In heavy construction industries, the capacity of an organization to extract maximum genuine value at the least reasonable cost is considered a highly valuable skill to keep the business at a competitive level without sacrificing quality service and performance. Thus, the ability to purchase the best used equipment – excavation equipment, particularly – requires management to have someone who has the so-called “skill and constructive imagination” (a highly-specialized master mechanic or an experienced excavator equipment expert would be a good start) to inspect the used excavation equipment and deem it a worthy procurement for the company.
With such master mechanic or excavator expert in tow, your company will now be ready to begin searching for the best used excavators offered in the market. There are, however, four important factors which one will be well-advised to consider while going through the procurement process: the general total cost, the quality, the service tenure and the access to parts and replacements.
The General Total Cost
Equipment used for excavation is considered large in size, in terms of their physical dimensions as well as in the amount of work they contribute; and they are likewise built for durability. The basic rules of depreciation, therefore, do not generally apply to them (for example, to bulldozers and backhoes), since there is a perceived difference between the original purchase price and the general total cost of purchase.
The latter includes items such as the purchase cost; transportation/logistics expenses (exactly, bulldozers and backhoes are not allowed to be driven across towns and cities on their own); and, lastly, the necessary repairs as well as the parts, tools and labor that go along with them. So, right off the bat, your company must shift to neutral gear first and methodically choose the road that it will take; initially, you must compare between the two abovementioned costs at their face value.
The second factor is more technical. And this is exactly the time when you shall call in your master mechanic or equipment expert to go do his job. More or less, quality assessment is still a question of evaluating over-all performance. Does this large end loader (sometimes called wheel loader) still have a reliable articulated steering system which can make its regular sharp turn while loading a dump truck?
And how about that good, old scraper over there in the middle of the excavation site? Are all its moving parts still in good condition or are it already in the brink of retirement and is just going through the gnawing motions of its existence? Or, maybe still, it just needs a little oiling of its gears and some change of cylinders to keep its machination throttling as it was before? Such questions are relevant in the purchasing decision of these used excavation equipment.
The Service Tenure
As mentioned before, these “stone crushers and master diggers” are more durable than any other construction machines on wheels; they are built to last, so to speak. Their usefulness may range from twenty-five to fifty years, and, as such, the third factor of service tenure comes into the picture as an important point in finding and choosing the best excavation equipment your organization will need to buy.
Here, one may think first of seriously considering the plans (long-term, medium-term and short-term) as well as the mission-vision of the company as a guide in a flexible but effective way of arriving at a decision, especially in procurement. After all, if your team of construction experts and analysts recommend downsizing the number of dump trucks which regularly take their heavy load or the compactors which are tasked to lessen the density of waste materials through compaction; then, your company will be on the right track by following such recommendations and coming up with alternative modes of purchase (leasing, renting, etc.) which will be suitable to your organization’s needs.
The Access to Parts and Replacements
The fourth factor is all about practicality: the ease of getting parts. With parts no longer being manufactured or sold on a regular basis, or even in the case of parts which have to be transported overseas, the end-goal of maximizing the potential of using a backhoe, for example, to dig trenches in accordance with the project’s deadline, is left buried in a pile of rubble.
Availability of parts also implies the cost of replacement and repair vis-à-vis the warranty period of both the used excavation equipment and the parts which are being contemplated by your company to buy for restoration and maintenance. Fortunately, replacement parts of most construction equipment (excavation equipment, included) are typically accessible at convenient rates and in their general market of circulation (again, we have to thank Henry Ford for starting the assembly line system for this).
This is where the “constructive imagination” of your organization comes into the picture and try to use the all too familiar tracked machine – the mighty bulldozer – to push dirt and debris out of your way; in order for you to scavenge for replacement parts of these used excavation equipment from refurbishment sites, from the primary source themselves (for example, manufacturers and, in a way, dealers/wholesalers) and even from some secondary sources, such as junkyards and sites of pickers/collectors. Who knows, such creativity on the part of your company’s purchasing decision may well compensate for the lack of supply of a good set of spiked steel wheels for excavator equipment.
In the end, using your organization’s over-all “skill and constructive imagination” in order to find the best used excavation equipment out there and transforming them as your company’s most important assets can, indeed, be worth your company time. The transformation, however, must be accomplished with the proficiency and creativity of a well-managed organization; and paired with the basic criteria of looking over the list of things one must prioritize to arrive at a well-rounded decision, such as: the general total cost of purchase. The quality, the service tenure, and the access to parts. And, of course, one must always remember why your organization is doing this in the first place: for increase in savings without sacrificing quality service and performance.
Simply because in order to be successful in trying to find the best used excavation equipment, one must follow this simple instruction, “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” And if you or your company will be trying to dig up the name of the person who uttered those words, you wouldn’t need to go digging up holes all over the excavation site; because it’s still him, the one and only – Henry Ford!
But, at this point, let’s not be too particular about anyone, or anything. After all, the “hole” will always be greater than the sum of its parts!