Switching from paper and spreadsheets to specialized software brings proven advantages to the equipment maintenance workflow. The benefits increase when that fleet management software is connected in real time with the construction scheduling software and the field tracking software. Here are two practical examples of how New York heavy highway contractor Lancaster Development uses a unified platform every day to gain efficiency, cut costs and increase equipment uptime.
Maintaining Equipment when it is Idle
Doing maintenance when equipment is not being used seems like an obvious strategy. A recent survey, however, suggests many contractors may not grasp how connecting the maintenance and scheduling workflows is necessary to make this happen.
Asked who would benefit from real-time visibility into the schedule, contractors put project managers (71%), schedulers and dispatchers (71%) and foremen (60%) at the top of the list. Only 12% cited equipment or shop managers.
Dan Corbett sees things differently. “One reason we switched to B2W Maintain software is to have an all-in-one package, where everything is tied together, and we get a streamlined effect,” the equipment manager for Lancaster Development explains. “Prior to B2W Maintain, we were using a generic maintenance software package that did not couple with anything else we were using in the company as far as the jobs go.”
With B2W Maintain unified with B2W Schedule, Corbett’s team can see planned and actual equipment utilization at job sites. They use that insight to service equipment at times that don’t interrupt the job whenever possible. “We look at the schedule and say ‘hey, they’re not using it on a specific day’, and we coordinate so we do the maintenance on that day,” he explains. “This has been very helpful to us and it provides the crews a vast uptick in uptime.”
Getting Better, Faster Repair Requests
Repair requests drive a lot of non-preventive maintenance work. Relying on phone calls or a paper-based process typically delays the flow of that information from the field to the shop by a week or two and often leads to incomplete information and forgotten calls.
An electronic process allows richer, structured data to be submitted instantly. At Lancaster Development, operators and managers create work requests in the field using the same B2W Track field tracking software that they use for performance reporting. The maintenance team sees those requests immediately in B2W Maintain and can respond faster and more efficiently, addressing small problems before they become big ones or before they force unnecessary downtime.
“It’s been a win-win situation for the field and the maintenance department for the crews to have the ability to put in a work request,” says Corbett. “On the fly, as they’re doing things, they can submit a request.” Operators and foremen elaborate in the notes section on concerns or issues. They can even add pictures.
“The nice thing about having the crews being able to put in a work request is, they’re more apt to do it versus a phone call,” says Corbett. “People like to make phone calls about repair requests in a quiet environment at the end of the day but, by then, half those calls are forgotten about. Now, we’re getting those requests rather than a breakdown.
For more information, watch this video featuring equipment manager Dan Corbett discussing fleet maintenance processes and technology at Lancaster Development.