February 9, 2023

How to Optimize Your Fleet

Contractor managing fleet on cell phone

Whether they have a handful of heavy equipment and vehicles around town or thousands of assets spread across the country, contractors share the common goal of optimizing their fleet. Imagine having the right size and mix of machines working in harmony to efficiently tackle tasks and make you money. 

Easier aspired than achieved.

"If you have 1,000 pieces of equipment in your fleet, do you really need them?” said Kris Dunn, director of sales for EquipmentShare’s T3 cloud-based operating system. “Do you have too many pieces of equipment? Do you have too few? With T3, you'll know when it's time to rent, buy or sell."

To make informed fleet management decisions that get you closer to the goal of the best possible utilization, here are some key considerations. 

Location, location, location

You can’t use what you can’t find, so the first step toward optimizing your fleet is knowing where your assets are. Installing GPS devices on your fleet — and ideally on all of your other equipment and tools — can help you keep track of your stuff and assign assets to jobs. 

GPS also can alert you to equipment theft and help you track down stolen equipment.

"GPS should be the baseline requirement for any business that owns assets,” Dunn said. “It is the standard. With T3, you not only know where your assets are, you also know where they should be and whether or not they are making you money."

Utilization rate

Utilization rate is the percentage of the workday a machine is actively being used for its intended purpose. 

The rate will never be 100%. A piece of equipment will always need downtime for maintenance, repairs, transportation to another job, etc. In fact, if a machine has a utilization rate close to 100%, it’s probably a sign that you’re losing out on jobs because that piece of equipment isn’t available. 

To know the utilization rate, you have to know more than just how long a machine is on a jobsite — you have to know when it’s in use. So you either need a meticulous note-taker on every jobsite or, more realistically, technology that can differentiate when a machine is doing its job and when it’s idling or sitting unused. 

High utilization doesn’t always mean profits or that work is being completed. Low utilization doesn’t always mean losses or that work was not completed. Knowing where a machine is compared to where it should be is a key factor in utilization. T3 has the tools that will allow you to know whether an hour of utilization equated to money earned or if that hour was spent in the shop. Every hour matters when you’re trying to make sure your machines are making you money.

When you know the utilization rate for your individual pieces of equipment, you can determine whether they’re making you more money than they’re costing you. That information can help you determine if your fleet is the right size.

Maintenance, service and safety

To ensure your equipment isn’t in the shop at unexpected times, it’s important to make sure it’s in the shop at expected times. In other words, keep track of your fleet’s mileage, usage and maintenance records so you can coordinate scheduled maintenance. That will keep your equipment running smoothly for as long as possible. The easiest way to do that is through a telematics system that monitors usage and mileage and alerts you when it’s time for maintenance.

A telematics system also can alert you to small problems with your machines that need to be fixed before they become big problems. Documenting all maintenance and service performed on equipment should improve its value when it comes time to sell it.  

A robust safety program that includes dash cams can both reduce accidents and decrease the aggressive driving behaviors that put unnecessary wear and tear on vehicles and heavy equipment.

All-in-one tool

Gathering, documenting and acting upon all that data can seem like an insurmountable challenge. EquipmentShare created T3 to help contractors meet that challenge.

Many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) offer telematics systems in their machines, but most contractors have mixed fleets with equipment from multiple OEMs that cannot communicate with each other. T3 is OEM agnostic, so you can pull data from all of your equipment — regardless of make or model — onto one dashboard you can view on T3’s Fleet app.

T3 also has apps for Time Tracking, E-Logs, Analytics, Work Orders, Rent Ops and Inventory that work together to give you comprehensive insight into your company’s assets, people and materials.

“Our service, maintenance and digital work orders platform give you a true picture of how much money you're spending to maintain an asset, how much time you’re spending maintaining an asset and how much you should be charging to maintain that asset. Our inventory management system allows you to assign parts to work orders, know the cost of those parts, know when you are running low on those parts and when you should order more when paired with T3's inventory system,” Dunn said. “But more importantly, when paired with the rest of T3, it gives you an accurate representation of whether or not it's time to get that piece of equipment out of your fleet because it's costing you more money than it's making you.

“Ultimately, once you have access to all of that data aggregated in a single spot, you are able to start making decisions for your business that will translate into saving time and saving money.”

Learn more about how T3 can help your company optimize its fleet

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