Equipment Type

Is It Safe, Is It Green, Is It Profitable?

November 01, 2011

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.

The more I talk with fleet managers at AEMP, the more impressed I am with their knowledge of and passion for machinery. There are some organizations out there that are fortunate to have such professionals in charge of their equipment assets.

But I'm beginning to wonder if upper management appreciates it. And I'm more convinced that the vast majority of fleet owners have no clue what a professional equipment manager brings to the table.

In Nashville this week, AEMP's Asset Management Symposium targets three key reasons a professional needs to be in charge of the iron: Safety, Green, Profitability. Let's look at each and see why ignorance or short-sightedness on the part of management leads to wasted time and money.

Equipment safety

We're not talking tool-box pep talks. Equipment safety is so much more than that, although frequent reminders are part of a program. Safety programs incorporating the professional input of equipment managers prevent injury and keep machines working.

Obvious examples are crane safety in light of recent OSHA regulations. But what about proper safety training of technicians? We're currently working on a piece on injection injuries, and fleet professionals know how to prevent that. I wonder how many upper managers share my ignorance on this life-threatening injury? If they don't have a professional managing maintenance, each technician in the shop is at risk.

Equipment safety is an investment, but its return is profitability.

Environmental/green compliance

Any upper manager or owner who hasn't heard of CARB or Tier 4 had better find an equipment professional and hire him today. Those who know about it had better have a plan in But I'd wager that most do not.

An equipment professional not only stays abreast of the current regulations, but he also stays in touch with  OEMs and dealers to determine what maintenance management strategies may need to be implemented. What about AEMP's Green Fleet designation, which allows equipment organizations to show their customers their committment to environmental effectiveness and sustainability?

Sustainability, environmental stewardship, and the associated compliance requirements are not going away. Proper management and marketing of a fleet's "greenness" is an investment that leads to profitability.


An equipment-owning organization has iron for one reason: They are tools by which it makes money. With 80 percent of capital assets tied up in iron, upper management better be concerned about how it's managed. Mismanaged assets at that order of magnitude directly affect the bottom line.

A fleet professional is equally as important as a firm's mechanical engineer or its director of operations. I would argue this role is more important.

Any organization that employs iron had better invest in a fleet professional. Solid investment results in profitability.

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