Equipment Type

How Does Your Shop Measure Up?

Construction Equipment's exclusive survey of service facilities identifies benchmarks for what's needed to manage today's fleets

November 01, 2002

Service facilities represent a major fixed overhead expense for fleet managers. For some, it's an expense they would eliminate if a distributor/independent service provider could perform to their standards. For others, it's an integral part of the fleet setup.

In both instances, having the right facilities for the fleet means providing efficient, economical and effective service. Fifteen years ago, Construction Equipment first asked fleet managers to describe their maintenance facilities in an effort to benchmark facilities by fleet size, measured in fleet replacement value. On this and following pages, we'll update those benchmarks.

Indoor square footage for maintenance shops averages a bit more than 18,000 square feet for the industry, with the smaller fleets around 4,000 square feet and the larger fleets about 54,000 square feet.

Of course, these are averages. Individual shops will vary in size and by the types of work done in them. But for fleet managers, these numbers provide a benchmark from which to judge their shops with others.

For our research, we were able to garner detailed responses from more than 700 equipment managers of all sizes of fleets. On this page are basic stats on how service facilities measure up. Turn to the subsequent pages for a more detailed look at facilities by fleet replacement size.

Facility Facts (by fleet replacement value)
  All Fleets Less than $500,000 $500,000 to $1 million $1 million to $5 million $5 million to $10 million More than $10 million
Source: Construction Equipment 2002 Service Facilities Survey
Basic facility descriptions track upward as fleet replacement value increases. And this is rightly so, as the sheer number of pieces of equipment increases. For all fleets, 83 percent do their maintenance out of only one location. By fleet size, that ranges from 97 percent of smaller fleets to 50 percent of the largest fleets.
Number of permanent locations 1.4 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.9 2.7
Square feet indoors 18,192 4,046 8,996 26,766 21,812 53,868
Service bays, main location 3.9 2.3 2.7 4 5.8 9.2
Service bays, secondary locations 2.8 1.9 2.4 2.5 2.8 4.3



In-house vs. Outsourced (number of trucks/percent outsourced, by fleet replacement value)
  All Fleets Less than $500,000 $500,000 to $1 million $1 million to $5 million $5 million to $10 million More than $10 million
Source: Construction Equipment 2002 Service Facilities Survey
Managers will often balance their in-house services with outside help. In addition to brick-and-mortar facilities, most fleets have mobile service equipment. In order to be cost-effective, managers also look outside for maintenance service. Even the largest fleets outsource some of their service requirements.
Mechanics trucks 2.6 1.3 1.6 1.8 3.3 8.3
Percent field repairs outsourced 36.3% 45.7% 39.9% 31.9% 26.9% 29.5%
Lube/PM trucks 1.7 1.2 1.6 1.6 1.5 2.4
Percent PM outsourced 26.4% 35.9% 27.0% 22.4% 21.0% 17.7%
Fuel trucks 6.3 1.6 1.7 2.1 13.7 24.2
Percent fueling outsourced 42.5% 50.8% 44.0% 37.8% 36.0% 38.6%


Benchmarks for Fleets: Less Than $500,000

Service Personnel (number of each type)
Source: Construction Equipment 2002 Service Facilities Survey
Small fleets are lean on personnel simply because there are fewer machines to service. In fact, among fleets of this size, 68 percent say they don't have any parts people, and 26 percent say they don't have any shop mechanics. In many instances, a single person wears all the hats in small fleets.
Field mechanics 1.6
Mechanic helpers 1.5
Shop mechanics 1.4
Welders/fabricators 1.4
Parts people 1.3

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Half of the fleet managers in this size category do not store any parts in-house, instead relying fully on outside sources for their parts needs.

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Engines and hydraulic cylinders lead the way for small fleets when it comes to doing their own rebuilds of components. About one-third of managers will tackle transmissions, differentials and final drives.

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Space for the storage of parts and machines is common with small fleets. Most don't, however, see the value of space devoted solely to painting.

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Small fleets lag behind the rest of the industry in their use of in-shop diagnostics, as fewer than half use them even for the more common application of engine diagnostics.

 

Benchmarks for Fleets: $500,000 to $1 Million

Service Personnel (Number of each type)
Source: Construction Equipment 2002 Service Facilities Survey
Fleets start to add personnel as the number of pieces of equipment grows. In many instances, the additional labor is an assistant, such as a mechanic helper.
Mechanic helpers 1.8
Shop mechanics 1.7
Field mechanics 1.5
Welders/fabricators 1.5
Parts people 1.4

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With additional space in their shops, fleet managers stock more of their often-replaced parts than do smaller fleets. This also reduces their need to rely on outside sources a bit.

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Component rebuilds are at a level slightly higher than that for the smallest fleets, with engines and hydraulic brakes still at the top of the list.

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A large jump in facilities occurs as fleets move into this size range. Fleet managers have added steam cleaning and tank farms to their maintenance shops.

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More than half of fleet managers use engine and electrical system analysis in their shops. Electronic controllers still lag behind the industry average.

 

Benchmarks for Fleets: $1 Million to $5 Million

Service Personnel (number of each type)
Source: Construction Equipment 2002 Service Facilities Survey
Fleets in this size range have begun to increase their staffs, adding mechanics for both field and shop work. Parts personnel have also increased.
Field mechanics 2.1
Shop mechanics 2.6
Welders/fabricators 1.6
Mechanic helpers 1.7
Parts people 1.7

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Parts storage expands at this size range, with consumables and often-replaced parts leading the way. One in five stocks a wide variety of parts.

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The percent of fleets who tackle rebuilds of differentials and final drives jumps at this size range. Engines and brakes continue to lead the list.

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When a fleet passes the $1 million mark, parts storage has nearly become commonplace. Other services have been added, too.

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Fleets in this range have added more equipment with electronic controllers, and they access data from them.

 

Benchmarks for Fleets: $5 Million to $10 Million

Service Personnel (number of each type)
Source: Construction Equipment 2002 Service Facilities Survey
More shop mechanics are added as fleets approach the $10 million size. Welding and fabricating takes on more of a role, requiring specialized personnel.
Field mechanics 2.9
Shop mechanics 4.1
Welders/fabricators 2.5
Mechanic helpers 2.4
Parts people 2.0

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More than half of fleets at this level stock often-replaced assemblies, and almost one in five stocks component-rebuild parts.

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Rebuilding components becomes more cost-effective with this range of fleets, as the real numbers of machines increases.

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Parts storage is a given, and the fully functional service facility begins to show up. Machine shops are standard in one in three maintenance facilities.

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Fleets use sophisticated diagnostics at this size level, and a wider variety of tools. More machines are in the fleet with electronic controllers, too.

 

Benchmarks for Fleets: More Than $10 Million

Service Personnel (number of each type)
Source: Construction Equipment 2002 Service Facilities Survey
The industry's largest fleets employ a wide range of service personnel, including multiple parts people and specialists such as welders/fabricators.
Field mechanics 6.9
Shop mechanics 10.1
Welders/fabricators 3.9
Mechanic helpers 3.8
Parts people 2.6

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Fleets won't take chances on being out of consumables or common parts. Managing that inventory becomes harder, as four of 10 say they have unnecessary parts on hand.

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As with parts storage, the ability to rebuild components enables these large fleets to keep machines running with-out relying on outside sources for service.

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In-house parts and fuel/lube storage help the largest fleets manage costs, but only one in three runs an in-house paint shop.

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The largest fleets invest in the latest equipment in order to keep productivity high. It's no surprise that the maintenance shop has easy access to electronic controller data on components.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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