B2W Software product manager John Kane comments in this article on the role of specialized software in helping construction companies track assets, manage maintenance processes and drive a proactive, preventive maintenance approach.
Asset Management: What Do You Really Need to Track?
DECEMBER 11, 2017 - Construction sites have a wide range of assets in use by a variety of different trade groups. Keeping a timeline and having the necessary tools and equipment available is important for project job flow, but tracking which tools and equipment are in use can be challenging. What is the best way to do this?
Manual processes such as hand-entered ledgers or spreadsheets are labor-intensive and costly. By incorporating a construction asset-management program from the start, the process of tracking and managing construction site assets can be transformed.
What to Track at the Jobsite
How well a construction company manages the maintenance costs, uptime or availability, and overall cost of ownership for its assets has a big impact on the bottom line.
John Kane, product manager, B2W Software, says proactive, preventive, and measuring are key in defining asset management.
“Utilizing maintenance management software, contractors can take a proactive approach and automate preventive maintenance,” he explains. “Preventing breakdowns before they occur cuts maintenance costs. A higher proportion of planned, preventive maintenance also increases uptime, which pays off in two ways. It reduces the cost of lost productivity that occurs when an asset is out of service unexpectedly and it eliminates costs associated with replacing that asset on a jobsite.”
A lot of companies have been looking at asset management in a narrow way, looking to track materials and inventory only, but there is a lot more that needs to be tracked.
Wayne Newitts, marketing director, Viewpoint, says, “A more holistic approach is better—tracking all materials a company has. It’s useful when bidding a project; you know what you have to work with.”
He suggests contractors make sure they have all the equipment and tools that they need and that it actually spans the lifecycle of construction. “Contractors who look at the whole picture of assets you typically go through have a better picture of how much a job will cost you.”
Asset management includes both the big equipment and small tools. It is all necessary for the project and should be considered when determining what to track.
Drilling a bit deeper, Newitts continues, “The large assets, equipment, are vital to track. Your capital investment is in the large assets. Tracking and managing them helps your bottom line. You can calculate when then equipment is not making you money anymore. Small tools get taken. Theft on jobsites increase year over year. Being able to maintain a real-time inventory is a vital financial issue.”
Tracking assets will help a company’s bottom line, and Kane of B2W Software has the numbers to back it up. He stresses that knowing where something is located makes a significant difference on each and every project.
“Companies in heavy construction sectors typically spend between four percent and 10 percent of their annual revenue on equipment maintenance,” explains Kane. “Some spend more, and some are not even able to track the figure accurately. Improving maintenance processes to close the gap between 10 percent and five percent represents a huge bottom line opportunity. A company with annual revenue of $50 million, for example, could save $2.5 million every year.”
How to Track Your Assets
Technology that supports asset management is critical to improving the bottom line and productivity. Having a clear understanding of what tool should be implemented requires a company to first look at its overall needs. For many construction companies, having one central database and being able to extend that out to the jobsite is essential.
Newitts says, “Having one source, one place of record for that piece of equipment, knowing its lifecycle, and its history is how it should be done. Your software platform should have asset management on it. One that keeps the history together to see the whole system. The platform needs to be connected to the jobsite to get the info on the asset and provide feedback on the asset. The tech that helps the most with this is mobile-friendly cloud computing. You have to have connectivity in the field.”
There are a few technologies available that can provide a construction company with asset management. For example: a computerized maintenance-management system.
Kane says this type of specialized software offers significant advantages over managing maintenance with paper-based processes, spreadsheets and other disconnected tools.
“Telematics technology complements maintenance-management software,” he continues. “The software aggregates telematics data directly from the equipment to automatically generate preventive maintenance programs. GPS technology is also complementary and can increase maintenance efficiency.”
A major benefit with a maintenance software solution involves data. All the current and historical data related to assets and maintenance is easily accessible in one place.
“That gives contractors a powerful tool for managing day-to-day maintenance processes, monitoring KPIs, and making strategic ownership decisions like when it is more cost effective to replace an asset versus continuing to maintain it,” says Kane.
But at the end of the day it comes down to having a business enterprise system that connects all the data together in one centralized location.
Newitts explains, “There is accountability with the team; it keeps everyone honest. Asset management provides a reduced rate of theft and loss. Increased productivity with the right assets in the right place at the right time and the tools and equipment is properly benchmarked (and then) their ROI can be calculated.”
Tracking assets at the jobsite should be a priority for construction companies. Asset management solutions will arm companies with information that will help them create and maintain better jobsites and companies overall.