Equipment Type

Successful Equipment Management Beyond Today

Equipment professionals must take the lead within their organizations in order to make the best decisions in fleet this year.
January 07, 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.

This year will challenge the equipment-management profession. I’ve mentioned many of them in other blog posts: Tier 4-Final machines and their maintenance, the increasing viability of outsourcing certain maintenance functions, telematics implementation.

Equipment professionals must take the lead within their organizations in order to make the best decisions in these and other areas this year. Knowledge of and expertise in these areas rest in the equipment department.

There are two other reasons the organizations that rely on their equipment professionals will succeed in meeting not only these challenges, but also any others unforeseen as the year begins. First, the senior managers who understand fleet asset management will trust and confer with these professionals.

This is a generalization, but I've heard enough from various sizes of fleets: Senior managers do not understand fleet asset management. During the economic sluggishness of the past several years, some companies have eliminated the centralized equipment manager position as a cost-cutting move. Others have exhibited gross misunderstanding of the maintenance budget, pushing the amortization of repairs beyond useful life.

Some fleets have decided it is cost-effective to stretch out machine life until business picks up enough to justify replacement, but they are not be prepared for the capital investment when it comes due.

Second, organizations that are mentoring young leaders will have smooth transition of expertise over time. As with nearly every other industry in America, retirement is robbing the equipment profession of wisdom. We have not done a good job of mentoring, so the wisdom of the current generation of manager has not been properly passed along.

Construction Equipment launched its Under 40 program last year as a small step to recognize and promote excellence in construction equipment. At Conexpo next month, we’re taking another small step. AEM, the show owner and manager, will present a Young Leaders event, sponsored by our Under 40 in Construction Equipment Awards. The luncheon, featuring a motivational speaker with his own under-40 success story, is on Wednesday, March 5, at the show.

Any young leader under 40 years old who is attending Conexpo can attend the event by registering

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