Project timelines are the roadmap to a successful projects in construction, but what should you do when you get off track?
Construction fleet management can be a complex operation that takes a lot of planning, skill, and resources to be successful. Something that quickly derails construction projects is equipment downtime – if an integral piece of equipment goes down in the middle of a project, it can result in costly delays, lost revenue and dissatisfied customers.
The good news is that there are some easy steps construction fleets can take to mitigate the impact of equipment downtime on their projects, as well as measures they can implement to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Mitigating the impact of equipment downtime
When a critical piece of equipment goes down mid-project, those fleet issues can cause a ripple effect of delays throughout the entire project, and can even extend into other projects, depending on whether or not you need to pull resources from another workstream. The best way to avoid those costly problems is to be proactive, which helps you minimize the impact of the downtime over time.
Here are some strategies that fleets can use to mitigate the impact of equipment downtime on their projects and reduce construction costs:
Have a contingency plan: A contingency plan is an important part of any construction project. You’ll need to make sure you have backup equipment ready to go and an immediate plan of action upon equipment failure at the site. If you respond to situations with a well-outline contingency plan, you can reduce downtime by quickly replacing the equipment and keeping the project on track.
Rent equipment: When you don’t have the assets on hand to simply replace a piece of equipment with another in your fleet, having an arrangement with an equipment rental company while you conduct fleet repairs can be a lifesaver. By renting equipment, construction fleets can avoid project delays and keep the project on schedule.
Use preventive maintenance: Staying up-to-date on OEM recommendations for your equipment and making sure to conduct routine inspections during maintenance can spare you a lot of surprises in the field. Make sure you have an airtight inspection process and PM checklist for each of your assets.
Offer training to operators: One of the leading causes of equipment downtime is operator error. Construction fleets can mitigate this risk by offering training to operators to ensure they know how to operate the equipment safely and efficiently. Proper training can reduce the risk of equipment damage due to operator error.
Use predictive maintenance: Predictive maintenance is the practice of using certain maintenance KPIs , data analytics and machine learning in fleet management software to monitor the condition of equipment and predict when maintenance or repairs will be required. By using predictive maintenance, construction fleets can identify potential problems before they occur and take proactive measures to prevent downtime.
Preventing equipment downtime
While mitigating the impact of equipment downtime is essential, preventing it from happening in the first place is even better. Here are some steps that construction fleets can take to prevent equipment downtime:
Conduct regular inspections: Good inspections can identify potential problems before they become major issues. Inspections should be conducted before and after each use to identify any signs of wear or damage, and those inspections should be maintained both for historical record and compliance purposes.
Invest in high-quality equipment: It goes without saying that cheap equipment will cost you down the line, so investing in high-quality equipment is essential for preventing downtime. Good, high-quality assets are less likely to break down after proper use and maintenance, which means less costly repairs and replacements. Using the correct parts in repairs is also vital, so avoid the temptation to skimp on that front as well.
Use telematics: Telematics can allow construction fleets to monitor their equipment in real-time and see real-time data about equipment performance, fuel consumption, and maintenance needs. Telematics can be a canary in the coal mine for construction fleets in helping identify potential problems before they occur in an automated way.
Have a backup plan: As mentioned previously, having a contingency plan is essential for mitigating the impact of downtime. Construction fleets should also have a backup plan in case of equipment failure. This may involve having backup equipment on hand, renting equipment, or outsourcing work to other contractors.
Using fleet management software to manage and prevent downtime
Fleet management software like Fleetio can be a game changer for construction fleets, allowing them to track maintenance, monitor equipment usage, and optimize workflows all from a single dashboard. By using a software-based solution, construction fleets can better manage their equipment and prevent downtime by keeping track of maintenance schedules, identifying potential issues before they occur, and ensuring that operators are properly trained, all without having to manage paper trails and physical logs.