Construction site machinery is a highly valuable asset. Good management of your equipment will increase your profit, speed up project completion, and ensure your clients are satisfied. Managing these tools effectively takes skill, however. As well as multitasking ability, the manager also must be able to see both the big picture and little details… often at the same time.
Excavators, dozers, and demolition tools are intricate machines that need to be kept busy for maximum ROI. Ensuring this happens takes great organizational skills, concentration, and practice. There are a few key principles that will help you manage your earth moving equipment most effectively.
Rental or Purchase?
Whether to rent earth moving equipment or buy varies depending on your situation, budget, and construction project. Whether you’re allotting equipment resources that you have — or working with your subcontractors to get the right resources where they need to be on time — will have a huge impact on what you do as a manager.
The rental or purchasing decision will be largely driven by the number of projects that your firm completes each year, your firm’s cash reserves and profit margin, and whether you have access to storage facilities or transport vehicles.
How Transport Impacts Management
Transporting equipment may play a significant role in the decision making process. You have to allot available resources depending on different projects’ time lines, budgets, and schedules. It may be possible to time multiple projects so that you can transport a single key piece of equipment from site to site. This prevents delays and minimizes the need to spend more on rentals than necessary. It does take careful attention to organization in order to pull this off, and it tends to be easier if your firm owns the equipment that you’re using.
Using rental equipment efficiently has a larger impact on the budget than with owned equipment, so timing arrival and completion here is even more important. However, relying on rental equipment may also mean waiting for subcontractors who don’t share your need for urgency or efficiency.
Keep an organizational chart to track equipment, projects, and equipment movements, so you have oversight over every part of the job. This might be as simple as a dedicated office white board, or it could be a sophisticated computer program.
Dealing with Subcontractors
As you’re looking at subcontractors, go beyond the fees. Compare the services they offer and the qualifications of their personnel. Effective equipment managers will ensure that equipment operators are certified or licensed. In some cases you may want to look for operators that have commercial driving licenses so they can haul heavy earth moving equipment. Ask subcontractors to provide copies of certifications and license for machine operators.
It may help to develop your own in-house rubric to assess the effectiveness of different subcontractors. This might look at factors like cost, certification, timely project completion, short notice availability, employee injury rate, and any other items you might notice.
Know Your Tools
You need to be familiar with the needs of the earth moving equipment that you manage. You should know both the operational needs (like fuel) and repair needs that come attendant to different equipment manufacturers and models. Plan to have the necessary fuel (usually diesel) and basic repair tools available if necessary.
Expect the Unexpected
Planning for contingencies is a basic part of all management. Keep an eye on weather forecast websites so you can adjust resource allocation in the face of inclement weather. During seasonal illness peak times, keep your employees healthy and working with hand sanitizer, hot beverages, and free flu shots.
Gerard is a passionate blogger and loves writing about construction and industry related topics.