How to Manage your Fleet of Machines the Right Way


How to Manage your Fleet of Machines the Right Way

Any business that requires heavy machinery on a regular basis will understand the importance of smart fleet management.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t one right way to efficiently manage a fleet. Everyone’s needs, budgets and experiences are different, which means what may work for one manager may not work for another”

In this article, we take a look at the most important considerations to keep in mind when deciding whether to buy or rent a fleet of machines, the benefits/downsides of each choice, and how telematics systems can help to improve the way your equipment is managed, regardless of whether you own it or not.

Deciding whether to buy or rent equipment:

The best way to go about managing your machinery requirements really depends on the scope of your work, nature of your business, and how often you need to use each piece of equipment.

Ask yourself the following questions to get a better idea of what is required on an ongoing basis:

  • Does your work call for the same machine specifications every time, or do you provide a range of services that require for different equipment each time?
  • Is your work confined to a single job site at any given time, or do you need to move machinery between sites? Rental companies can move machinery on your behalf if you don’t have access to trucks.
  • How often are you using access and earth moving equipment? If you have extended periods of low machine utilization, or even machinery sitting idle, this can cost lots of money in maintenance expenses and capital being tied up that could be better used elsewhere. Alternatively, if you are using the same equipment all the time, it is worth considering purchasing the machines you use most regularly, and leasing the rest as required.
  • How long do you need the equipment for? Will you need the same machinery in 3 years?

If you already own access and civil equipment but aren’t using them to their full potential, we may be able to help - EquipmentShare takes the crowdsourcing business model and applies it to equipment hire - providing the best machines at a fair price and providing owners with a passive return on idle assets.

Purchasing a fleet of equipment to meet your needs:

For companies that use the same equipment very regularly, owning machinery can be an effective way to grow the business and reduce variable costs by converting them into fixed capital investments.

One of the benefits of purchasing over hiring is that your staff will become more familiar with the machines, which results in less operational hazards from inexperienced operators using unfamiliar equipment. Staff will also tend to look after equipment better if they know that their boss owns it.

There are lots of hidden costs associated with owning machinery that people often forget about - servicing by qualified mechanics, replacing parts, storage, transport and cleaning just to name a few. If you decide to own your equipment, it’s important to keep parts on hand for common breakdowns. You want to maximize machinery up-time, but on the other hand, you don’t want to be overstocked with parts. A good way to deal with this issue is to “determine valid reorder points to manage quantities on hand and reduce costs”.

If you are purchasing used equipment, budget for more repairs and downtime. If you decide to buy new equipment, make sure to ask if it needs to be serviced by accredited mechanics, and if so, where they are located in relation to your business.

Partnering with a rental service such as EquipmentShare to manage your machinery requirements:

Many companies mistake the need to access equipment for the need to own equipment. On the financials, heavy machinery is classified as an asset. In reality, they are more of a liability - with constant repairs, servicing, and maintenance required to keep them in good condition, the costs can really add up.

Hiring equipment on an ongoing basis can be viewed as a ‘strategic partnership’ in many ways. Rental companies have a strong incentive to do a good job and provide great service so that you can get on with what you do best. Knowing that the right equipment will be delivered to the work site, and collected once you’ve finished removes a significant burden from daily operations.

Serviced + maintained + inspected = highest quality rental equipment

Renting allows you to only pay for the machinery that you use without needing to worry about all the ancillary costs that come with ownership. It allows you to have more operational flexibility, increases productivity, reduces risk, minimizes downtime and makes it easier to price jobs accurately.

Telematics and fleet management systems help you to get the most out of your equipment:

Equipment manufacturers are building functionality into their machinery that allows software to track more information than ever before. Regardless of whether you decide to buy or rent equipment, we highly recommend using telematics software to get the most out of your gear.

Systems like ES Track keep a comprehensive record of machine usage and allow remote monitoring and machine management on an unprecedented scale:

  • Control access to your equipment so that people cannot operate the machine without your approval.
  • Generate driver scorecards to eliminate risky behaviours such as sharp turns and speeding.
  • Simplify record keeping by maintaining comprehensive records of service history, operational hours, mileage, consumables used, event reports and much more.
  • Utilize geofencing to help prevent theft.
  • Track asset location in real time using GPS coordinates.
  • Track the condition of parts to carry out predictive maintenance in order to avoid downtime and extend machine lives.
  • If something goes wrong, telematics allows for remote vehicle diagnostics to get to the bottom of the problem fast.

If you would like to talk more about how ES Track can improve your business operations, feel free to get in touch.

When it comes to operating and managing physical machinery, good communication is vital to ensure that things are done right. By encouraging staff to think of new ideas and ways to refine existing processes, it is possible to continually improve performance whilst building a strong and transparent team.

Maintain a healthy dialogue between management and staff to determine what practices are working and what are not, as well as ways to improve organization.