Fluid Management – An Easy Return on Investment

By Joshua Holmstadt, Product Manager with Graco’s Lubrication Equipment Division

Bulk storage of lubrication fluids makes sense for fleets today to reduce downtime, increase efficiency, and improve operating profitability. The savings are obvious, but with the right system and processes additional savings are possible. Hidden costs with bulk fluid include but are not limited to:

  • Incorrect billing
  • Incorrect fluid dispenses
  • Theft
  • Monthly reconciliation of fluids
  • Billing entry 
  • Manual paperwork
  • Downtime or running out of fluid
  • Space for waste fluids
  • Line break or spill

Fluid management is about solving the five ‘W's’: who performed the dispense, what quantity of specific fluid was dispensed, where in the facility this dispense took place, when it occurred, and why (i.e., which work order and customer record the dispense was tied to). 

How do the five ‘Ws’ address the hidden costs associated with bulk fluid in fleet applications?

Incorrect fluid dispenses and billing mistakes are eliminated when technicians are only allowed to dispense against a valid work order. Conversely, when technician mistakes do occur, such as accidently putting the wrong fluid in a vehicle or missing the oil plug, all dispenses are recorded. Fluid management only allows authorized dispenses - so fear of misuse is eliminated.

With labour being one of the biggest cost concerns of fleet management, fluid management systems can reduce or eliminate time spent on inventory reconciliation, billing and manual paperwork.

Fluid management is also more than just monitoring fluid dispenses. These systems also monitor bulk fluid tank levels – this eliminates downtime due to running out of fluid and provides a more efficient and safer way to handle full waste oil tanks.  

Finally, in case of a line-break some fluid management systems, such as Graco’s Matrix, provide an added level of security and prevent pumps from continuing to empty the tanks by allowing the pump to operate only when a dispense is requested at the metre.

How to Calculate?

With all the above concerns a fleet might be confronted with, Graco has developed an easy-to-use comprehensive ROI calculator that walks you through key considerations and calculations to take into consideration:  

  1. Inventory Loss Factor - the percentage of oil that may go unaccounted for due to duplicate oil changes, human error, spills, etc. 
  2. Inventory Savings – based on the oil prices in your market and estimated reduction in lost oil, this is the amount you could save optimizing your fluid inventory.
  3. Labour savings per oil change – estimate of time Matrix oil management systems could save you throughout your operation, technician time, accounts payable, service writer etc.
  4. Labor Rate – blended rate to account for all the different functions associated with service, management, accounting, technicians, service writers, etc.

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