Equipment Type

A Job for Two...or More

February 28, 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.

A couple of months ago, I asked members of our Construction Equipment group in LinkedIn to discuss whether or not one person could manage today’s equipment fleet.

The premise, as we’ve laid out in “The Management Challenge” series, is that the task of effectively and completely managing a fleet of construction machines has outgrown the ability of one person to do the task.

This evolution plays out most obviously within large organizations that own or operate large numbers of machines. But the increasing demands of financial managers and compliance requirements are bearing down on the top manager.

What suffers? Machine management: the maintenance, repair and monitoring of the core asset in an equipment-using organization.

The comments, which you are welcome to join, can be broken into three categories:

1) Information technology can enable one person to manage a fleet, depending on the size of the fleet.

2) An individual can manage, but a team actually does the work.

3) An individual leads, but two subordinates separately manage the financial- and the machine-management functions.

The discussion is ongoing, and your input is welcomed. How do you do it? What’s the balance between financial and maintenance? What are the determinants between going with a team vs. putting managers over each area of responsibility? Although each fleet is unique, what are the key questions that every manager must ask?

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