Assets, Not Machines

Rod Sutton | October 14, 2010

We use three terms to describe the subscribers to Construction Equipment magazine, and we use them interchangeably. “Fleet manager” and “equipment manager” are the more traditional titles, but recently we have begun using the term “asset manager.” This has been conscious and intentional, for the role played by our readers has evolved tremendously in the past five years.

The function performed by those who manage fleets of heavy equipment has shifted dramatically from one of simple acquisition and maintenance to include financial and regulatory issues. Today we hear as much about metrics, lifecycle costing and residual value as we do about preventive maintenance, track wear and uptime.

Frankly, it’s about time. According to construction-industry CFOs, equipment accounts for about 80 percent of a company’s capital assets. Any organization that doesn’t put some consideration behind the management of such assets is playing a risky game.

This shift of responsibility, whether acknowledged within the organization or not, has catapulted our subscribers to a new level of performance. No one would argue that recognizing those managers who perform their duties with excellence is important not only to them, but also to their organizations and the industry.

That’s why we partnered with the Association of Equipment Management Professionals several years ago to launch the Fleet Masters Award. The award honors exceptional equipment managers and their organizations who excel in meeting the unique challenges inherent in cost-effective, efficient and effective management of fleets that combine off- and on-road equipment.

This year, Marilyn Rawlings, CEM, and her team at Lee County Fleet Management Division in Fort Meyers, Fla., were awarded the Fleet Masters (see page 28). The key reason: Lee County’s use of benchmarks. There’s one of those terms not bandied around much 10, or even five, years ago.

Rawlings judges her team’s performance based on how they measure up against benchmarks. Her supervisors may or may not judge its fleet’s performance along those sames line, but be assured they do ask tough questions when Rawlings comes looking for money for new machines.Benchmarks allow her to respond intelligently to their queries and calls for justification.

To Marilyn and her team, we offer our congratulations on a fleet operation that exemplifies excellence in management. To other teams, we encourage you to enter the 2011 Fleet Masters Awards program. It doesn’t cost anything to enter, nor must entrants be members of AEMP. For information, or an entry form, contact AEMP at or 970.384.0510.