When running a construction company, one of the biggest issues on your overhead list will be the management of your equipment. When you’re on a tight budget, a major malfunction of an expensive piece of equipment will put you in a major problem. Your inability to resolve this issue right away may halt the project, which, then creates all sorts of problems, ranging from breaching deadlines (which often results in penalty fees) or just direct loss of profit. With that in mind and without further ado, here’s how to manage construction equipment on a tight budget.
Keep detailed records
The first thing you need to do in order to run an efficient construction site is to keep detailed records of everything. How long does a machine go without needing repair? For how long does each of the components last? How much money does it take to run it effectively? What are its fluid levels? When was the last time that you had an incident related to that particular piece of equipment? When was the last checkup? All of these questions will help you properly prepare for what lies ahead.
Another way to make your equipment maintenance cheaper is to act proactively rather than reactively. First of all, a minor repair is always cheaper than a major one. Second, a single malfunctioning part, if not replaced in time, may wear out the entire machine, which means that instead of replacing a single part, you get to replace a plethora of them. Lastly, you need to understand the fact that a malfunction in a crucial piece of machinery results in downtime. As we’ve already mentioned, downtime is a direct loss of profit.
Take suggestions from your crew
As a supervisor, you have a lot of input into how your equipment is performing. People who are in charge of their inspection have a lot of knowledge about the performance and the structure of the equipment in question. The problem, nonetheless, lies in the fact that all of you have quite limited access to this equipment. Instead, you need to listen to suggestions and feedback of the crew members that are actually operating them on a daily basis. Tell your crew to notify you as soon as they notice anything that even slightly off and you’ll be well on your way to save money on construction equipment management.
Used and well-maintained is better than new and neglected
One more thing you need to understand about the construction equipment is the fact that it comes under a lot of stress, as well as wear and tear. This is why you need to have extra spare parts, regular inspections and make sure that maximum load recommendations are honored to the letter. Buying a new piece of equipment and then neglecting it completely or expecting that it should perform admirably for years just because it’s new, is completely ridiculous and unrealistic. Therefore, it’s much better for you to, for instance, invest in used forklifts, fix them and maintain them properly than to just buy new ones and ignore their maintenance entirely.
Invest in training
One of the reasons for numerous instances of equipment malfunction is the issue of improper use of equipment. In order to avert it, you might want to invest slightly more attention, effort and resources into proper training. Once your staff is fully trained, the likelihood of them misusing the equipment drops drastically and so does the likelihood that you’ll have to overinvest in order to fix the equipment. Moreover, properly trained staff members will have an easier time recognizing a problem before it grows out of proportions (something that we’ve already discussed).
Keep some spare parts
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s the downtime that may cost you the most. The loss of a workday is invaluable in the construction business, especially if you’re on a time-sensitive task and it’s expected to rain in the next couple of days. Moreover, if there are some pieces of equipment that you’re hiring and paying per day and due to the fact that your staff is paid on a daily basis, you’ll find yourself in a situation where being able to make an instant service/repair is game-changing.
Pay for quality machinery
Previously, we spoke about the new vs. used, well, now it’s time to make a new comparison – quality vs. low cost. In general, both of these have a way of saving money but this money-saving mechanic works in different ways. By going for low-cost equipment you have doomed yourself for a plethora of repairs, fixes and replacements in the future. On the other hand, by buying quality (even if used), you’re spending more money up-front but stand to save a small fortune over the course of time. Seeing as to how the topic of this post is saving on management, going with quality sounds like an obvious choice.
The very last thing you need to take into consideration is the fact that saving money isn’t always a top priority. If frugality makes you compromise the safety of your staff, their productivity or the quality of work that you’re performing, it’s never worth it. Fortunately, the above-listed seven methods don’t require you to relinquish any of these things, which is what makes them ideal regardless of the situation that you’ve found yourself in. So, you need to find a way to incorporate them into your business model.