Arūnas Eitutis | 15 August 2021

How to Improve Your Construction Equipment Productivity

To begin with – the market for Construction Equipment & Heavy Equipment is estimated to grow at 4.02% CAGR from 2018 to 2026 and to reach USD 196.4 billion by 2026.

Due to rising construction activities and increased government investment, the infrastructure sector demonstrates a growing demand for construction and heavy equipment. In addition, some of the driving factors in the market are rising demand in the residential segment and urbanization and economic growth in developing countries.

While the industry and needs are growing, it is important to squeeze as much as possible from your construction equipment. Today, we’ll look at ways to improve equipment productivity – whether it’s cutting on equipment costs, using alternative construction methods, or hiring skilled operators, and there is a lot you can do to affect productivity. So let’s dive right in. 

1. Buy or Rent Certified Equipment

It all starts with the raw materials – there’s no point in giving any tips about equipment productivity if the equipment itself is subpar. Buying brand new equipment is undoubtedly the best investment you can make for your business, but it is not always as easy as it sounds if you factor in the costs associated with grade-a equipment. Renting equipment can be as effective if it’s done the right way. 

When renting equipment, you must ensure that your supplier is an authorized re-seller of the brand and goes through the right maintenance procedures and protocols. Not everyone can service and repair intricate and complex machines, and renting equipment that can break down or malfunction can have serious repercussions. In addition, downtime and poor quality in large-scale construction projects can result in surging operating costs that can sink the entire project. 

2. Choose the Right Equipment

This might sound like an obvious one, but we’re determined to leave no stone unturned. Choosing the right equipment from the jump can be one of the major factors for higher productivity.  For example, if you end up renting or buying smaller equipment than what you need for the job, the production rate will immediately drop, and so will the entire construction process. 

Oftentimes, suppliers will not have the necessary model need in-store, and project managers will opt for buying or renting equipment that’s smaller but can still get the job done. The reasoning behind such a move is that they don’t want to waste any time waiting to order the right equipment. Additionally, smaller equipment is significantly cheaper than a bigger one. 

What’s wrong with this reasoning? It’s short-sighted and inaccurate. While you can get the in-store equipment and march to the job site immediately, you won’t really be helping the project cycle time. Smaller equipment will take longer to complete the task and hamper operating speed. Improving productivity is not always a short-term fix but a long-term plan. Getting the right equipment, the proper equipment is critical for nailing the project time. 

Many projects fail to hit deadlines because a piece of equipment is not the optimum size, and productivity is reflected in the result.  The same logic applies even if you own the equipment. Choosing the right equipment for the job will ensure you produce higher-quality work and increase your productivity rate.

3. Scheduling Efficiency: Construction Productivity Paradise

Construction equipment productivity goes hand in hand with scheduling efficiency. Much like workers, construction equipment is an asset, a resource that you need to manage with care. When putting together schedules, construction managers need to account for things like service, inspection, maintenance, and transfer. These factors can slow down a project and increase the hourly cost. 

To achieve maximum productivity, you need your scheduling to be on point. Even the slightest mistake can affect the construction cost. Can you imagine what project managers have to go through when they are in charge of multiple projects?  It is humanly impossible to keep track of tasks, workers, and heavy equipment. Thankfully, they have the help of advanced technology that can simplify and automate construction management. 

With the proper software, project managers have detailed information about times, workers, tasks, construction equipment, and other resources. Everything is synced, transparent, and updated in real-time. 

4. Construction Project Essentials: Preventive Maintenance 

Construction equipment productivity is an equal result of proactive and reactive factors. Preventive maintenance ranks number one on the list of proactive factors list, and the reasoning is simple. Firstly, it extends the lifetime, efficiency, and usability of the equipment. Much like a car, heavy equipment needs its fair share of care and maintenance. What seems like just another addition to your operating costs can prove to be the biggest investment you make for your operation. 

Preventive maintenance means scheduling regular servicing and monitoring your equipment with every use to ensure you’re on top of any issues that might affect productivity. Check the equipment each day before beginning work to ensure it’s functioning properly. 

In the first paragraph, we used the car analogy to make a point – now, we’ll take a step further and use an airplane analogy. Preventive maintenance needs to happen before and after every equipment use. This might sound too meticulous and not cost-effective, but this is the level of detail you need to go through to ensure optimum construction equipment productivity. 

How do you stay on top of all the checks and maintenance requirements? Again, it all goes back to a project management software that’s tailored to the needs of a construction project. Your workers should only be worried about arriving at the project site, completing their tasks, and being productive. A comprehensive field management software can do the rest and ensure equipment operation and maintenance are on point. 

5. Track Hourly Cost of Equipment 

Equipment operating costs are one of the key factors affecting construction equipment productivity. Maximizing production rates is a result of detailed tracking and communicating the results to the right people. 

Contractors need to inform the workforce of a project’s hourly cost to find a way to decrease it collectively. Workers may be aware of the general costs associated with equipment operation, such as rental fees, fuel, and insurance. Still, they may not fully understand the full spectrum of operating heavy equipment on a job site. As a result, there is a bigger chance the hourly cost actually decreases with a more transparent record-keeping and communication process.

Arūnas Eitutis
Founder & CEO

Arūnas is spearheading the Frontu efforts as the company’s CEO but still finds the time to share some of his knowledge, expertise and experience in the FSM sector through our blog.

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