Equipment Type

All You Have is People

The equipment manager who understands what needs to be done must have the people to accomplish it.
January 27, 2014

Rod Sutton is editorial director of Construction Equipment magazine. He is in charge of editorial strategy and writes a monthly column for the magazine, The Sutton Report. He has more than 30 years in construction journalism, and has been with Construction Equipment since 2001.

I asked a recently appointed equipment executive what his first goal was as he looked out at the fleet. His answer surprised me.

Telematics, emissions, government regulations. Those issues came to my mind, but not his. “People,” he said, “because that’s all we have.”

Senior managers within construction organizations look at fleet and see machines, machines that must be ready to build the projects that bring in the revenue for those organizations. This manager rightly saw his department’s position. “We don’t make anything,” he said. Fleet operations doesn’t build the projects; it is responsible for providing the machines that build the projects.

This is a subtle distinction, but one equipment managers must understand. The primary goal of the fleet department is to field the machines, and this executive recognizes how dependent that goal is upon people.

Construction Equipment has tackled the changing role of the equipment manager in recent years with our Management Challenge series. Underlying all of that, however, is the quality of the professionals responsible for fleet. The manager who understands what needs to be done must have the people to accomplish it.

Let me pass along three tactics from my conversation:

1) Ensure people in the fleet department are in the roles that best utilize their talents. Give them the opportunity to advance.

2) Fleet is a service organization; build that culture.

3) Recruit young people with technological savvy.

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