idverde’s Head of Assets and Fleet, Angus Lindsay, considers how times will change with Covid-19 and Brexit our new realities, and encourages us to make the most of the vehicles we have.
The phrase “necessity is the mother of invention” – meaning that when the need for something becomes essential, you are forced to find ways of achieving it – has pretty much been the foundation for all good inventions, and remains as relevant today as it was back when Plato first came up with it.
With the changes and challenges ahead of us, we all need to think a bit smarter to become that little bit more efficient and effective in what we do. Living with COVID-19 and Brexit are our new realities, but reducing our impact on the environment remains a constant challenge in which we all must play our part. Come 1 January, it remains unclear where we will be if a deal can’t be struck with Europe; we could face tariffs on products we use on a daily basis from chainsaws to excavators (I am already aware of one manufacturer who is putting £4k per vehicle on new ones arriving in the UK after 1 January).
So, we need to think smarter and make better use of the assets and vehicles we employ in our day to day operations, but how do we do this? Specifying equipment in the first instance is a good start. Considering their use, not just for the main job, but throughout the year. A good example is the beavertail truck. We all need to move machinery and equipment around and this configuration of vehicle negates the need for a trailer, making it easier for a two-person team to access sites without having to worry about reversing a trailer. The beavertail’s biggest limitation is it can only carry equipment which can be moved under its own power and transporting loose material is a bit more difficult. Why not, therefore, work with the manufacturer and design something that better suits your needs and gives year-round flexibility?
Taking ideas from other industries and adapting them to suit your needs should be part of your everyday thinking as you might just see something which, with a little tweaking, may save you time and money. One thing is for sure, equipment costs are on the rise as we move towards cleaner fuel sources, and so getting the best out of it needs to be a priority, as does stretching its operational life through better maintenance regimes and using the right equipment for the job required.
As we are all too aware there is a need to reduce our reliance on chemicals for weed and pest control and the agricultural sector is at the forefront of developing new technology to address this issue. This sector has been using spot application systems for field-scale weed control for many years; these systems can easily be adapted for hard surface spraying targeting only the weed and nothing else – saving vast amounts of chemical. Is it too much of a leap to fit them to road sweepers which are driving up and down the road anyway?
I would encourage everyone to review the vehicles and equipment they utilise and consider where they can streamline their operations by getting more out of the expensive prime movers and those who operate them. It doesn’t hurt to think outside the box, but you just need to be prepared to return to reality when your hydrogen-powered remote-control multi-functional power unit doesn’t materialise.
Angus’s article is also published in the November 2020 issue of Pro Landscaper magazine.