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How to Synergize Your Construction Fleet Management Efforts

Within the context of process improvement, “synergy” is defined as the interaction of two or more processes to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. I can think of no greater example of this than B2W Software’s ONE Platform.

I have written previously about the value and high ROI that individual B2W Schedule, Track and Maintain elements bring to heavy construction contractors. However, the interaction of all three within the unique ONE database platform creates tremendous synergy and multiplies the value for construction fleet management.

Just to review, B2W Schedule enables real-time, collaborative scheduling and dispatch of employees, equipment, materials, and trucking, with visibility across the enterprise. With mobile access by tablet or laptop/desktop computer, the entire organization stays connected. This is critical to achieving the key fleet objective of getting people and equipment where they need to be when they need to be there.

Once the equipment is at the face of the work, it is critical that it actually be able to mechanically operate. The key to this is solid preventative maintenance. In a fleet of any size, technology must be used to manage preventative maintenance proactively in order to minimize unscheduled downtime. B2W Maintain provides the tools to do this, with automated, user-defined preventative maintenance programs, standardized work orders, mobile access for mechanics and enterprise-wide visibility for management.

Properly deploying and operating equipment leads to the requirement for the hours of usage to be reported. In addition to this requirement, field supervision also needs to create daily reports that record labor, work performed, productivity, job site conditions, weather, and many other important items. B2W Track greatly simplifies field reporting with defined, standardized field logs that are prepared electronically via mobile reporting. This assures real-time information is available and eliminates the errors of manual system data transfer.

Tremendous Synergy

This brings us to the ONE Platform. Each of these B2W elements brings great value. I have many real-life examples of strong ROI from the individual elements. The fact that they run on one database platform, which no other software company in the industry provides, creates tremendous synergy.

First, one common database simplifies the entry of people and equipment and eliminates errors, ambiguity and inefficiency.  With one list of equipment, you’re not calling the same machine “CAT-1234” in the maintenance system, “Large Dozer” on field logs, and “Smitty’s Dozer” on a whiteboard used for dispatching.

B2W Track users can pull data from B2W Schedule, including equipment resources, to build daily field logs. They can also see the schedule and participate in the conversation about what equipment might be available to fill needs. This real-time, collaborative communication between the field, scheduling, and dispatching in the office, and the shop drives more efficient fleet deployment and utilization.

As an example, even though B2W Maintain will drive down emergency repairs, they will still occur occasionally. Say a job superintendent has a dozer that blows a hydraulic pump. He or she can go into B2W Track and report the need for a repair. This will interface with B2W Maintain and alert the shop manager to assign a mechanic.

It will also alert the dispatcher using B2W Schedule that this piece of equipment is out of service, thus giving them the opportunity to respond with a replacement piece if necessary. With this visibility into B2W Track and Maintain, dispatchers can not only respond to unexpected repair requests, but also schedule and dispatch more efficiently over the coming weeks based around preventive maintenance schedules.

Mechanics that can look at both B2W Schedule and Maintain can see where equipment actually is, what its maintenance status is, and when it is being used. They can, therefore, schedule preventive maintenance at the most opportune time to limit downtime and maximize their efficiency. They could, for example, schedule work on a day when the machine is idle or do preventive work in advance on another machine at the same site rather than making a separate trip a few days later.

The only way this series of events and level of efficiency can occur in real-time is with one, unified construction management software platform.

I visited a large heavy highway company recently to review their construction fleet management technology. They had an antiquated standalone maintenance system. The dispatch function consisted of a whiteboard in the main office, and field reporting was manual.

I asked the shop manager what happens when a piece of equipment breaks down on a jobsite. He stated that the superintendent calls his phone. When asked how he responds, he said most of the calls go into voicemail, which he responds to as best he can, but frequently he does not get back to everybody the same day. He then has to manually schedule a mechanic to respond. In the meantime, the whiteboard in the dispatch department continues to show the piece of equipment in service, and dispatch does not know that a replacement may be needed.

I would not even know where to begin to calculate the cost of this inefficiency, but it is certainly very high and happening every day at that company. What about your company? Are you utilizing B2W Schedule, Maintain and Track to maximize the profitability of your equipment fleet? Each element can deliver tremendous value, but you can turbocharge the return by utilizing all three on the unique ONE Platform.

Learn more about how B2W Software’s ONE Platform can improve the efficiency of your construction fleet management efforts.

Herb Brownett