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Better Estimate Construction Equipment Costs Using Usage Data Brian Dziuk | Feb 16, 2018 10:09:02 AM

Running a company that uses or rents out heavy construction equipment is no easy or inexpensive feat. Trying to figure out the operational and lifecycle costs associated with owning and running these large assets also can present a variety of challenges. And, when companies underestimate the various costs associated with owning, operating, and/or renting construction equipment out to third parties, it can lead to unnecessary overspending on budgets.

An effective fleet tracking solution can help fleet managers more effectively calculate construction equipment costs

For fleet managers that want to be more accurate in estimating construction equipment costs, how can you effectively do so? The answer can be found through the use of fleet management telematics, remote diagnostics, and global positioning system (GPS) tracking technology.

More and more construction companies are turning to fleet tracking solutions for their heavy equipment because of the numerous benefits they provide, including:

  • Reducing fuel waste;
  • Easy enforcement of contractual operating hours;
  • Prevention or deterrence of theft; and
  • Improving project planning/budgeting.

Regardless of whether you’re a fleet manager for an equipment rental company, a construction company, or a municipality, it is more than likely that there’s a GPS tracking solution that’s just right for your organization or business.

Moreover, there’s a fleet management solution that can help you better estimate construction equipment costs.

Use Equipment Remote Diagnostic Reports

When your team or rental clients are operating your heavy construction equipment, you want to make sure that the equipment is not only operational, but that it is performing well at all times. If not, then you need to be able to identify any issues quickly and communicate them with your team or renters to prevent any small problems from turning into major concerns.

Using modern GPS tracking devices that are connected to your asset’s own diagnostic system, you can remotely monitor your equipment in real time. Not only can this help you to stay informed about the condition of your assets, but it also can enable you to increase the efficiency of your equipment and provide a higher level of customer service to your renters by quickly sending out a repair team.

Some of the things that an effective fleet management system can monitor include:

  • Engine performance and idling;
  • Whether a piece of equipment is turned on or off;
  • Fuel consumption;
  • Power levels; and
  • Vehicle location (to know whether equipment is moved off-site).

You can increase the accuracy of your construction equipment cost estimates for any given project by reviewing historical usage data for each of your vehicles. If you know that an earthmover uses 40 gallons of fuel per day of operation, and can move a certain number of tons of earth in a set amount of time, then you can establish how long it will take to move the amount of earth needed for a given job, and how much fuel and labor to budget for as well.

By monitoring these attributes remotely, you can use your fleet tracking software to provide detailed maintenance reports that can help you stay informed about your equipment’s usage to make actionable decisions. Furthermore, you can increase your equipment uptime, thereby increasing your potential revenue.

Calculate Preventative Maintenance into Your Construction Equipment Costs

Preventative maintenance for heavy equipment is one of those things that can easily fall by the wayside if you’re not careful. Poorly maintained equipment will age and depreciate more quickly than those that are regularly maintained. Also, machines that are not regularly maintained can end up costing your business a lot more in the long run.

But it doesn't have to be this way. You can use preventative maintenance to your advantage.

Let’s take two examples side by side — which do you think will be more cost-effective?

Scenario A is that you notice the engine on one of your construction equipment assets is not performing optimally and send a team out to fix the minor fault.

In scenario B, you simply ignore the issue until, suddenly, your equipment no longer will start and experiences engine failure. This means that not only do you now need to transport the equipment to make the costly repair (think: parts, labor, transportation, extra fuel costs, etc.), but now you also need to transport replacement equipment out to the job site as well.

Most people would agree that scenario A would be the most cost-effective option for your business. Why? Because preventative maintenance — even something as simple as making sure that water isn’t in your oil (or vice versa) for diesel equipment — can save you a lot of downtime, lost revenue, and headaches in the long run.

An important feature of construction equipment GPS tracking systems is their ability to actively monitor preset preventative maintenance and provide reminders to ensure routine maintenance is performed.

As you can see, using your fleet management equipment usage reports and data to make informed decisions can only serve to benefit your company or organization -- particularly when it comes to budgeting.
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