The US construction industry is one of the largest industries worldwide, with an annual expenditure of over $1,293 billion. It contributes a vital percentage to the GDP value of the United States, helping it drive up the economy.
This has resulted in an explosion in construction projects all over the country – companies in this space are in for speedy growth.
However, challenges are quickly creeping up to hinder this explosion.
Some of these include:
- High-interest rates, leading to an increase in competition among construction companies.
- Inaccurate stock counts create a discrepancy between demand and supply.
- Lost or missing equipment that slows down projects.
- Incorrect calibration that results in unstable structures and puts many lives at risk.
Most of these challenges are easy to overcome if companies would only look into removing inefficiencies in their internal processes. Let’s see how traditional equipment management is to blame.
Problems with traditional equipment management
Equipment is at the heart of all construction operations. This makes managing it efficiently critical to business success.
Most construction companies usually record equipment movement either with paper files or through the use of spreadsheets. However, manually tracking such high-ticket assets leads to multiple problems for construction companies.
Even logging information in spreadsheets takes time and is susceptible to costly typing errors. Moreover, there is only so much you can accomplish with a static spreadsheet – especially when data is invariably changing during projects.
Here are all the challenges that construction companies encounter with traditional equipment management.
1. Inaccurate data
Very often, construction companies end up with errors in their equipment data logs. There tends to be a mismatch between what the system says it has and what is there in reality.
For example, your system may tell you that a particular tool is available. However, when you physically go looking for the tool, you may not find it. This indicates an error in your records. Now, your employees have to waste their precious time looking for lost tools, ultimately delaying the project.
Moreover, losing tools and construction equipment also leads to a decrease in productivity because of the unavailability of resources. Additionally, you will also incur further costs to replace what’s lost.
So, who is to blame? Unfortunately, if you track all check-ins and checkouts manually, chances are you won’t know who updated the last log.
One crack only signals that there are probably many more. Once you’ve discovered a single missing tool, you’ll want to flag all the others that aren’t traceable. This presents a problem as well because manual tracking does not provide audit trails for equipment.
2. Failure to comply with calibration standards
The construction industry requires precise measurements at various stages of a project. A small miscalculation will lead you from order to chaos.
If companies don’t schedule adequate calibration services, not only is there the threat of project failures but there’s also a violation of regulatory policies. In the United States, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has specified standards to trace the calibration of tools.
This requires construction companies to regularly schedule calibration services and comply with NIST standards.
Calibration services help keep construction disasters at bay. They ensure that your measurement tools measure correctly and there are no errors in the projects. This also helps maintain your product and process quality, so you can consistently produce good results.
However, manually tracking the calibration needs of each and every tool can be tough. Most companies usually assign an individual who is then required to study each tool to decide whether it requires calibration.
The human aspect leads to several mistakes. There may even be tools that will never be sent for calibration as a result of faulty recording.
3. Time-consuming manual processes
With the current system in place, employees have to manually check out each tool separately as they need. This wastes time that could better be spent elsewhere.
Let’s discuss a scenario where a particular task requires you to check out an assortment of up to 10 tools. Imagine the amount of time you will squander searching for and checking out each tool individually.
The entire process could be much quicker if you simply had the ability to check out all the items or reserve them together in one go.
4. Lack of on-site assistance
Construction projects require access to extensive data on-site to help technicians and project supervisors make informed decisions.
A technician might need to transfer tool custody at the end of their shift. This becomes a struggle if technicians need to exchange paper logs and then carry them around throughout the shift.
In another instance, the site supervisor might find a piece of unattended equipment lying around at the end of the shift. In order to know who the equipment was assigned to or who checked it out, you will again need relevant information on-site.
With conventional tracking, construction companies either jot down information manually on paper or on spreadsheets.
Both options are infeasible if you need access to information on site. Carrying paper stacks is problematic and requires you to sift through several pages before you find what you’re looking for. While spreadsheets might be more efficient in comparison, you can’t view real-time updates on an equipment’s activity at a construction site.
Overcome equipment management hurdles with EZOfficeInventory
Now that we have a clear understanding of what equipment management challenges the construction industry faces, we can look at how automation helps resolve them.
Dedicated equipment management software helps companies maintain an accurate log of all their valuable equipment and enables them to schedule recurring calibration services. This enables companies to pull down instances of lost equipment and wasted work hours.
Leading construction equipment management system – EZOfficeInventory offers all of the above benefits and more. It seamlessly integrates with your company workflows instead of the other way around and provides you end-to-end equipment tracking.
Here are some helpful EZOfficeInventory features that solve the common equipment management challenges prevalent in the construction industry.
1. Auditing construction equipment
Losing tools leads to greater costs and lower productivity. The ideal way to tackle this issue is to know the last custodian of the missing tool. EZOfficeInventory offers the ideal feature for this – equipment auditing.
With the auditing feature, you can verify the authenticity of equipment records. This way, there won’t be any discrepancy between the number of tools actually available and the number your system displays.
Audits provide you with conclusive evidence that the tools are physically present where they should be. They allow you to request employees to acknowledge custody of the tool they checked out by scanning the item(s). This way, you will know which tools are missing, leading to more accurate information within the system.
Another benefit of the audits is that they help your company save money. How? They decrease the amount you would normally spend to replace tools that you couldn’t keep track of.
2. Recurring calibration services
It’s clear how important calibration services are, especially in construction where companies have to comply with regulatory standards. Lack of calibration comes with far-reaching consequences, such as product recalls and rework, in addition to an increase in costs and lawsuit risks.
With EZOfficeInventory, automate tool calibration tracking and always be compliant.
Doing so drastically helps lower overheads since fewer tools break down and don’t require replacement. Even better, it also helps decrease accidental machine downtime. Moreover, well-calibrated tools also help ensure project quality.
You can easily schedule tools to be sent out for periodic calibration services as you desire. This helps ensure that your equipment is always in top shape, instead of having to cater to it after it breaks down.
To never miss an upcoming calibration service, you can also set up alerts. This way, no tool will miss out on these vital service sessions.
3. Carts and Bundles
Checking out numerous pieces of equipment individually can be a painstakingly slow process. To save time and make the entire process more efficient, EZOfficeInventory offers Carts!
Usually, in the construction industry, you need a myriad of tools and pieces of equipment on site. So it makes sense if you want to check all of them out together at once, instead of doing so individually. Carts help check out items together by ‘sites’ and ‘projects’.
You can simply put all the items you need for a particular project into a Cart, just as you would on any online shopping site for instance. Then you can check the entire Cart out. Within the system, the Cart gets assigned to the person who checks it out and the location where it is needed.
Another staple of construction is tool kits, which are basically small tools that are always used together. However, it doesn’t make sense to check them all out one by one.
To get things done with ease and speed, you can make Bundles in EZOfficeInventory to always check out related items together.
Pro tip: With Bundles enabled, you don’t have to keep making Carts for the same assortment time and time again!
4. Maintenance Management
Imagine, your construction work is going in full swing and suddenly the forklift breaks down and stops working. The result of this unexpected malfunctioning can cause delays and operational hindrances for the business. Studies show that unplanned downtime is costing industrial manufacturers around $50 billion every year.
When construction equipment is in good condition, it will perform better and increase overall productivity. With the help of construction equipment management software, you can automatically put items into maintenance when due. You can easily plan and schedule for maintenance right after the equipment is checked-in with a service triage feature. This streamlines your process and helps to keep it hassle-free while ensuring that your equipment will always be available in ideal condition.
Another crucial aspect of well-maintained construction equipment is preventive maintenance. This will help you to plan and take measures proactively where equipment is serviced at its required time and doesn’t cause unexpected downtime. The asset tracking software allows you to set service cycles to avoid missing out on regular maintenance.
5. Mobile application for on-site assistance
Currently, only 18% of construction companies consistently use mobile apps to access information. This explains why most employees in the construction industry complain about their inability to access important information on-site. Many a time, they need data at hand to make appropriate decisions.
To overcome this challenge, EZOfficeInventory also offers a mobile application. All relevant employees can simply download the app to use on-site and on-the-go.
This is extremely useful since service technicians can’t possibly walk around with paper stacks or a laptop on-site. With the app, they can simply update critical logs from their smartphone!
On-site, technicians may require equipment details prior to operating them.
This information may pertain to the item’s ID number, category, custody, return date, and anything else necessary. To retrieve all this, simply scan the label (QR code or barcode) on the item with the help of the mobile app.
Acknowledging custody of an item for audits also becomes easier when employees can simply do it with the mobile app.
6. Generate custom reports
Construction projects require extensive data to access for the completion of tasks. They need to keep track of how long equipment is assigned to which labors on the site. Furthermore, productivity levels per day are measured in terms of equipment usage, labor hours, and overall completion task time.
Keeping track of all relevant construction data in the software automatically helps you to generate reports. You can easily schedule custom productivity reports, ready to be generated at a particular time for you to analyze and plan your construction work accordingly.
Time to face these challenges head-on
With so many challenges facing the construction industry, it’s near impossible to overcome them all on your own. Especially when your current system revolves around manual tracking and the use of spreadsheets.
With automated equipment management, you will find your expenses going down and your efficiency going up. Moreover, you won’t have to worry about compliance issues anymore. Automating recurring calibration services ensures less equipment downtime and better compliance.
With EZOfficeInventory’s mobile app, easily track the movement of all your assets and take important data with you, wherever you go.
Have any questions?
EZOfficeInventory is the leading construction equipment management software. It enables you to track, maintain and report on equipment from anywhere, at any time. We offer a free 15-day trial – no credit card required!
If you’d like to share any queries or confusions about EZOfficeInventory, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our support team will get back to you.