Enterprises with multi-site construction projects often find themselves struggling to efficiently manage their dispersed equipment across multiple properties and regions. With programs ranging from small rebuilds to complete remodeling or construction from the ground up, overseeing the deployment, installation, utilization, performance, and maintenance of large assets and equipment doesn’t come easy – especially without the right tools and technologies.
Top equipment management challenges
Large construction projects require managers to carry out several activities related to the deployment, retrieval, maintenance, and upkeep of construction equipment. But the fragmented and geographically diverse nature of such projects, present their own set of unique challenges.
Here’s looking at the top 5 equipment management challenges of large or multi-site construction projects:
- Tracking machines and equipment: In most large, multi-site construction projects, the number of machines and equipment that need to be constantly monitored for performance, theft, misplacement, issues, and bottlenecks is huge. Yet, manually monitoring each piece of equipment through spreadsheets or paper-pen records – especially when they are geographically dispersed – is often impossible. Due to the lack of time, inspections are done very rarely, which is often the reason for poor maintenance or upkeep. In addition, manual work management increases the chances of errors, while making the process of inventory management a long and arduous one. This is one reason for the growth of equipment tagging on the site with about 37% of contractors expecting to go this route by next year.
- Enabling remote management: For enterprises that rely on traditional equipment management approaches, enabling remote management becomes a Herculean task. Equipment and assets keep moving from place to place. Without the proper integration of all relevant and updated asset status and condition information into a centralized location it becomes hard to accurately pin down the precise operational health of each asset. The poor evaluation of the mechanical and security aspects of these machines can have serious consequences, including on the workers’ health, safety, comfort, and overall well-being. Poor integration also makes it impossible to take immediate action when systems are not working properly – resulting not just in poor operational efficiency, but also poor safety and compliance.
- Pinning down utilization: Large, multi-site construction projects also pose a big challenge for companies to evaluate and optimize utilization. Because each site uses a siloed, unique set of machinery, it becomes very difficult for equipment managers to pin down utilization or even understand how much equipment in each site is being utilized. With hundreds of different kinds of equipment being used, managers often find themselves struggling to seek ways to calculate or optimize utilization – as data gathered via traditional methods isn’t always accurate, up-to-date, or reliable. This leads to problems of over or under-provisioning. The first is a cash drain and the second is disastrous for schedule compliance.
- Allocating and charging costs: Allocating and charging costs for large and multi-site construction projects equipment is also not easy. Costs include both initial capital cost (ownership), rental costs, and subsequent operation and maintenance costs. Each of these major cost categories consists of a number of cost sub-components that need to be accurately tracked, calculated, and managed. And since the magnitude of each of these cost components depends on the nature, size, and spread of the project, ensuring optimum cost management that is consistent with investment objectives becomes challenging without accurate knowledge of the available assets and their status.
- Closing books at the end of the project: When equipment deployment, utilization, and performance metrics are not tracked properly, they hold book closing at the end of the project. The problem is magnified in public and listed companies where this activity becomes a quarterly task. Because construction equipment is often denoted as accumulated depreciation, managers need to carefully calculate net costs and mention them accurately during the book closing process. And since the value of equipment varies from project to project, so does its performance and maintenance schedules, repair and replacement costs also need to be recognized and recorded accurately to paint a true picture of year-end financial statements.
The power of digital
Whether it is a multi-site construction site or a complex industrial project, most construction projects can benefit greatly from automation and digitization technologies. These technologies can make managing and maintaining large projects much easier while allowing you to meet industry-specific regulations. Great asset management can help you keep your machinery and other assets working efficiently, prevent downtime, and extend equipment life by tracking and managing usage and performance data while also allowing you to optimize costs on maintenance and repairs.
At the same time, using the power of modern technology like IoT, data analytics, AI, and cloud-related capabilities, you can be in a better position to detect and fix faults and failures in time, schedule projects based on equipment availability, as well as track utilization and costs across different sites. By centralizing and integrating project data in a centralized location, you can allow all stakeholders to quickly view site reports and project insights, run the required approval processes, and ensure high levels of quality assurance.