Companies conduct regular maintenance management as part of their daily workflow, regardless of the industries they are in. Companies in industries from manufacturing to food and beverage and everything in between face unique challenges based on the machinery and assets they use, as well as the products they produce.
Here we are going to focus on the construction industry. Read on to learn more about the unique aspects of construction site workflows and asset maintenance challenges construction companies face, as well as how computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software, can make maintenance management in the construction industry more efficient.
The Role of Maintenance in Construction
Construction projects have many moving parts. It takes multiple pieces of specialized, heavy machinery and heavy duty tools in order to complete one job. Maintenance’s role is to ensure equipment such as excavators, dump trucks, and cranes are available for service so that construction companies can meet their project goals. Equipment breakdowns can bring projects to a halt and inflate the budget. This equipment may be used at multiple job sites, so the need isn’t isolated to a single location.
Maintenance management for construction is a subset of fleet maintenance. Workers need to be confident that the equipment they use is reliable and safe. If heavy machinery fails at a jobsite, the impact could be very detrimental. If a large piece of equipment fails, the entire project could come to a complete stop. The financial impact could be devastating, especially if a machine is being used at multiple worksites. There is also the possibility that a machine failure may cause accidents and injuries.
Construction Industry Maintenance Challenges
There are a number of maintenance challenges the construction industry faces. The work environment is unique, so it presents scenarios not found in many other industries.
Operations vs. Maintenance Technology
Construction companies may use advanced operations technology. This includes drones, virtual reality training, stay-safe mobile applications, vital sign monitors, noise level sensors and hardhats that detect carbon monoxide. However construction companies are often less advanced in the technology they use for maintenance management. Just because a construction company has the latest and greatest for their worksites doesn’t mean they use CMMS software. The role of construction asset maintenance may not be seen as importantly as it should be.
Managing Mobile Assets
One of the biggest construction asset maintenance challenges is asset mobility. Construction assets such as large machinery and tools are frequently moving since there is no production floor, only multiple work sites. It’s important for dispatch to be aware of which machines are being used and which ones are available so they can direct workers to various locations.
Maintenance managers also want to know which machines are being used where and for how long. This is important to be aware of because there are only limited windows in which assets are available for maintenance. Maintenance activities need to be precise and deliberate. Without using software, this can be time consuming and overwhelming to manage.
Ensuring Asset Safety
Another thing to keep in mind is that moving equipment which is failing can damage buildings and surrounding property. It can also cause serious injury to workers or bystanders in the area. Operators of heavy equipment must have confidence that assets will perform well. There are serious, sometimes life-changing consequences to injuries from malfunctioning equipment. Building damage can be difficult to deal with as it results in fines, project downtime, and a ding to the company’s reputation.
Performing Maintenance on Time
A significant challenge in the construction industry is ensuring runtime-based maintenance work gets completed on schedule. This includes knowing when to change tires, flush fluids, perform an oil change, and other similar tasks. Weather and jobsite conditions change how often equipment maintenance should be scheduled.
Of course, each vehicle or machine will have a different schedule for when this work needs to be done based on how often it gets used, how much wear and tear the machine is subjected to, and how many miles are put on it. When you have hundreds of machines, balancing all of this without software can be nearly impossible.
Accounting for Environmental Factors
Since the construction industry uses heavy equipment, there are strict emissions requirements the machines must adhere to. This ensures that the impact on the environment is minimized. There are specific regulations for on road and off-road vehicles, as well as greenhouse gas regulations. Other regulations relating to air quality also apply for some machines. Covering all of them in detail would be another article in and of itself, but if you’d like to brush up on them, you can do so by visiting the Environmental Protection Agency website.
Acidic soil or road salt can corrode equipment as well. While there’s not much that can be done to prevent that, keeping equipment from rusting, washing vehicles regularly, and touching up paint with products that contain a protective coating will help minimize this deterioration.
Managing inventory is a maintenance challenge in the construction industry. Maintaining equipment and managing maintenance part supply levels is important. If the right tools and parts are unavailable for even a short time, that can set infrastructure projects way behind.
Less experienced construction company owners may become overwhelmed by increased demand for more inventory parts and struggle to manage costs because the maintenance budget is limited. Specialized equipment not used in other industries may only be available from the original equipment manufacturer. Construction companies may have additional stock for critical parts for safety reasons.
It can be challenging knowing which spares to keep in stock, as well as the best method for optimizing parts ordering and evaluating risk should stock run out. Some parts may even be custom made, which results in long lead times for reordering. While handling consumables such as weld rod, fasteners, tape, and glue can be tedious, it is important for workflow efficiency.
Tracking Maintenance Costs
Maintenance cost tracking is also challenging in the construction industry when it comes to managing assets. There are many factors that attribute to maintenance costs, including:
- Mileage or wear and tear on vehicles and machines
- Ever increasing environmental regulations
- Maintenance downtime
- Replacement parts from manufacturer
- Labor associated with performing maintenance
- Cost of inventory used, including consumables
Fuel and mileage costs, exact labor costs and incidental charges can be hard to keep track of on paper. Without CMMS digital records, this information can get lost in the shuffle, forgotten about, or jotted down incorrectly.
Getting paperwork to the maintenance department or other office locations when there are multiple worksite locations can be challenging. Despite having several locations where work is being completed at once, organizations need to achieve a comprehensive workflow, managing work requests, work orders, and dispatch communication. This can be especially challenging without the right construction industry software in which to digitally store work order, purchasing, and asset information.
Balancing Wear and Tear of Machines
Most heavy machinery in construction is run into the ground. Because assets are so expensive to buy new and a lot of the company’s money is tied up in assets, organizations want to make sure they get maximum value out of those assets before replacing them. Many are using equipment that is older than they would like due to cost constraints. This problem is compounded by safety concerns.
Benefits of CMMS in the Construction Industry
There are many benefits of having CMMS in the construction industry. These benefits often directly address challenges that arise from conducting maintenance without this type of software.
CMMS software allows construction companies to keep track of where their assets are at all times, no matter how many there are and how many job locations are active at once. CMMS software’s mobile accessibility allows workers to enter data from any location. Mobile accessibility ensures asset information can be viewed in the field. Service history is readily available to aid in troubleshooting and making decisions about determining assets’ total cost of ownership
Keep Track of Runtime-based Maintenance Tasks
Records of when runtime-based maintenance was last performed can be created when CMMS software is implemented. Run-time based preventive maintenance can be automated by setting triggers that automatically generate work orders and notify technicians. Asset history will show what needs to be done when, and what adjustments to the schedule are needed.
CMMS software’s inventory management feature helps keep track of maintenance part inventory. It also allows regular audits of inventory items to be conducted to ensure an accurate count of available replacement parts. Inventory levels will be known at all times. All of this is done easily through automatic inventory count updates, reorder notifications, and up-to-date vendor directories provided by CMMS software.
Supplier information can be easily stored in CMMS software. This will help to manage part delivery lead times. Low-cost vendors, who stock the part or local vendors who carry a part in an emergency, can be identified.
Using CMMS software streamlines communication, which is important when traveling to different construction sites. Users can record notes about maintenance work, important asset information, inventory stock levels, and any instructions regarding specific work orders. User manuals, troubleshooting guides, warranty information, and more can be stored in the CMMS system. This ensures that less back and forth is needed to solve problems and minimizes phone conversations on the job. CMMS software also features work order closure prompts to ensure no information is left out.
Finally, having a CMMS reduces paperwork. Instead of having to manually type up and print out work orders, store binders full of vendor contact information, and print out reports and budget materials, all of this information is stored digitally in the software. Having one central location to access this information is helpful when maintenance is being done at multiple locations. As mentioned earlier, the mobile accessibility of CMMS software is very important for recording work order information as the job is completed, keeping details accurate.
Optimize Maintenance of Construction Project Assets with FTMaintenance
FTMaintenance is the CMMS software you need to optimize maintenance on construction project assets. It’s important for all assets to operate at maximum efficiency and to maintain a long, useful lifespan. FTMaintenance makes it easy to organize maintenance activities and ensure maximum asset uptime so projects get completed on time. You can reduce your maintenance costs by switching from a run-to-failure method to a preventive maintenance program. Performing maintenance per manufacturer guidelines will increase equipment ROI and extend asset life.
FTMaintenance will also help avoid government fines and liability through proper documentation of every job. FTMaintenance can help document OSHA-compliant maintenance procedures. Finally, you can monitor asset health and equipment key performance indicators (KPIs) through extensive maintenance reports. Ready to learn more? Request a demo of FTMaintenance today.