Areas of Equipment Expertise, Part II

Areas of Equipment Expertise, Part II

August 1, 2012

In our effort to defeat The Waterboy Syndrome, I shared with a group of fleet professionals attending the Construction Equipment Management Program reasons their expertise will be needed in coming years.

In Part I, I addressed the area of emissions. Now, let’s look at ignorance and wisdom in the equipment profession.

This is a bit of a generalization, but I’ve seen it in various sizes of fleets: Senior managers do not understand fleet asset management. Ignorance is probably more evident today because of the economy.

One manager told me about a conflict with upper management over the maintenance budget. They wanted to amortize repairs beyond the useful life; he couldn’t make them understand that he not only needed a bigger maintenance budget to support that ill-advised strategy, but that the strategy itself was short-sighted.

Other companies are “chasing the next dollar,” with little focus on replacement plans, residual values, or owning & operating costs. Their businesses are entrenched, and they are using up their seed corn, as Mike Vorster likes to say. They think they’re being cost-effective by stretching out machine life, but replacement still will come, and they will not be prepared for the capital investment when it comes due.

For other companies, the equipment professional has been managing through the downturn with wisdom gained from experience. But retirement is robbing the industry of much of that wisdom. As a profession, we have not done a good job of mentoring. The wisdom of the current generation of manager has not been properly passed along.

Tomorrow’s asset managers will have broader focus and more reponsibilities to handle. If you’re a young gun, take your boss to lunch and see what you can learn. If you’re one of the wise, find a couple of young prospects and help them along.

The industry will gain from the stories of those of you who have mentoring relationships, either young or seasoned. Add your comment below or email me.