Q: How has equipment management changed over the years?
A: In recent years, the arrival of ‘big data’ and the Internet of Things have radically transformed equipment management in sectors such as the construction industry, providing managers with previously unheard-of amounts of detailed data on fuel usage, maintenance, location and asset utilisation. Furthermore, it provides a real-time overview of operations via asset tracking, ensuring that managers are better equipped to determine where improvements to efficiency can be made.
Q: Why is efficient equipment management important in the construction industry?
A: Given the size and scope of the projects it has to undertake, the construction industry is particularly prone to delays and budget overruns. Construction projects can sometimes go wildly over budget and profit margins are often thin as a result. According to research from McKinsey, large construction projects can take 20 per cent longer to complete than expected and go up to 80 per cent over budget. The study also notes that productivity in the construction industry has tended to lag behind general rates of productivity growth. This makes it all the more imperative for construction firms to ensure they have a robust equipment management system in place, so that they can make efficient use of their equipment and maximise productivity.
Q: How and why can equipment management help construction firms enhance productivity and efficiency?
A: The construction industry has tended to be somewhat slow to digitise the way it operates and integrate new technologies. However, there are signs that this is changing and in the years ahead, we can expect it to gather pace even further. As construction firms continue to adopt and integrate telematics technologies into the way they work, they will be provided with new and detailed insights into their own operations. This will allow them to highlight shortcomings in relation to efficiency or productivity, and to develop new approaches that can deliver real improvements in these areas.
For example, firms will have a clearer idea of how much of their equipment is being utilised at any given time. This could then allow them to eliminate unnecessary rental expenses and maximise productivity, providing a more accurate and detailed insight into overall equipment costs. Efficient equipment management can also facilitate significant improvements in the area of fuel management, a major concern for construction firms. Data on engine run time and idling time can help construction companies identify areas where efficiencies can be delivered.
Q: How can equipment management software help the construction industry ensure efficient maintenance – and why does this matter?
A: Equipment that is inadequately maintained is far more likely to be susceptible to breakdowns and failures. This means unexpected downtime – which can contribute to project delays and cost overruns. Equipment maintenance software makes it easier for construction firms to schedule maintenance and ensure that said schedule is adhered to. This helps to reduce the risk of unscheduled downtime and identify any possible faults with equipment before they develop into a serious problem, so that these issues can then be resolved.
Q: How does equipment management impact on safety in the construction sector?
A: Good equipment management is vital to ensuring safety on construction projects. Effective maintenance, in particular, is crucial to ensuring that employees on site can go about doing their jobs as safely as possible. Having processes (i.e. regular maintenance and inspection reports) in place that identify equipment faults can help to prevent accidents on site. This means that good equipment management can not only boost productivity and efficiency – cutting back unnecessary costs and preventing waste – but it can also, and at the same time, provide real improvements to safety on the job.