Mobicon straddle carriers the cost-friendly container handling solution

Mobicon straddle carriers the cost-friendly container handling solution

Cheap options don’t stack up  – Trailer Magazine APRIL 17 
It’s hard to ignore the cost of a product, especially if the item is cheaper than competing brands. In Australia’s container transport industry, going for the bargain option may be appealing in the short term, but can be costlier over the long haul, says light-weight straddle carrier specialist, Mobicon Systems.


“There’s no justification for settling for the cheapest option without considering the true cost of ownership over the longer term,” says Mobicon Managing Director and founder, Tom Schults. “We want our customers to have a complete understanding of what our straddle carriers will cost their operation before making the final decision. Not conducting background analysis of the straddle carrier and its environment and settling for a cheaper unit can lead to major headaches down the line.”


An engineer by trade and a former fleet and service manager, Tom has been on both sides of the equation, especially when it comes to weighing up costs versus usage rate versus long-term impact. “There have been several occasions where clients will see the look of the straddle carriers and the price tag, and will be sold,” he says.


“While those factors are important, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will result in a great outcome for the client. That’s why we make it a point to get a proper overview of their operation first. There’s no point purchasing a straddle carrier with three wheels if it doesn’t fit the profile of the working environment.”


To avoid those long-term costs, Mobicon conducts a thorough analysis of the client’s site, often asking questions that pertain to the quality of the concrete or bitumen, depot measurements, equipment weights and rate of vehicle movements – all factors that Tom says are overlooked when clients are more focused on the cost.


“The quality of the concrete or bitumen is important, since that is punished the most on a daily basis. Is the site designed to accommodate the weight of, say, a three-wheel straddle carrier? Civil engineers have confirmed that only a four-axle Mobicon can work on a yard that is designed for B-doubles and five-tonne forklift trucks. A three-wheeler might be the cheaper option, but it could also lead to a costlier outcome,” he explains.


“Within a span of months, sometimes even weeks, that business could be looking at a substantial bill to fix the yard’s foundations, including damaged concrete and bitumen. This is due in large part to the weight of the three-wheeler design or the structural integrity of the yard itself. Even though that straddle carrier is the cheaper choice to start, it ends up costing the most.”


Tom continues, “We have some clients that are experienced in handling goods, but their understanding of axle weights and the detrimental impact of high axle weights on their yard surface is limited. After we explain that a Mobicon mini straddle carrier has axle weights of one quarter of that of a traditional three-wheeler, clients take note and realise that placing a 30-tonne container on a three-wheeled container handler may not work for them.”


Not conducting background analysis of the straddle carrier and its environment, and settling for a cheaper unit can lead to major headaches down the line.


Mobicon recommends that to avoid settling for cheaper option, users should conduct thorough background research first, even if the process takes time. “From our experience, customers are willing to pay for quality at a higher cost if properly educated,” Tom says. “We know we’re not the cheapest option in the market, but Mobicon makes up for that over the long term by providing our clients with the best advice so that the business makes an informed decision on the unit that best fits their operation.”


Other factors that can have detrimental impact include the costs of training and staffing. “For example, side-loaders, forklifts and reach stackers all have the added cost of training staff to use them,” Tom adds. “Mini straddle carriers such as the Mobicon Top Frame and 2T don’t require a special operating licence and due to their stability are a safer solution. By looking at the machine and its design benefits as a complete package over its service time, and not just its purchase price, operators can save thousands in unexpected repair costs, labour bills and lost income due to unexpected downtime. It all adds up over time.”


If the customer is paying top dollar for equipment that helps it gain long-term value, Mobicon is happy to ‘over deliver’ in the service department to help prevent customers from settling for the cheaper option. “Equipment investments should not just be viewed in the price category,” Tom says.


“Adding up the complete life costs of the straddle carrier, including maintenance bills, downtime and other critical factors such as yard damage, is the only way to determine if you are getting the best deal.”


Mobicon Systems Ph: 1300 661 976

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