Regular equipment inspections are a simple yet effective way to ensure that your machinery operates in a way that is up to standards.
Unfortunately, inspections sometimes get overlooked based on the false assumption that they aren’t worth the time and effort.
If you think so, too, we’re here to change your mind.
Today, we explore the key advantages of equipment inspections that you may not have considered before.
From increased efficiency to reduced downtime, you’ll see why these inspections are a must for any business.
In this article...
Increased Workplace Productivity
A construction company’s success primarily depends on the productivity of its employees and assets.
Therefore, to make sure projects get completed on time and within budget, you need everyone and everything to operate at their maximum efficiency levels.
However, this is not always possible, especially if your machinery is not in the best condition.
Just imagine what would happen if an excavator malfunctioned in the middle of an ongoing project.
In such cases, it’s highly likely that the team would have to stop what they’re doing and wait until a replacement arrives, leading to considerable delays, budget overruns, and, of course, dissatisfied clients.
Unfortunately, even without broken equipment, idling is quite common in the industry.
In fact, a survey by Levelset reports that construction companies lose approximately one full day of work weekly due to delays and inefficiency, citing poor coordination as the main cause of the problem.
The lack of coordination can then lead to disrupted workflow and budget overruns, which are every construction business owner’s nightmare.
Now, throw a faulty piece of equipment into this inefficient mix, and you have a disaster on your hands.
So, if you’re in need of a productivity boost, it’s a good idea to start scheduling machinery inspections during planned downtime.
You’ll definitely decrease the chances of your equipment failing at the worst possible moment—during work—and be able to maintain a smooth and interrupted workflow.
As the following sections will show, inspections are invaluable precisely because they help you identify potential issues early on, enabling you to fix them before they escalate into major problems that impact performance.
Early Identification of Equipment Issues
In an industry where time performance is a vital factor, abrupt equipment failure is the worst-case scenario.
When this happens, often the whole project comes to a halt until the problem is identified and fixed.
And the bigger the problem—the harder it is to fix it.
However, this issue is hardly ever truly unexpected. According to Carolina Hose and Hydraulics, here are the most common causes of malfunction.
What it all boils down to is that, without proper care for your assets, you invite trouble.
Thankfully, in most cases, each of these factors is easily preventable with frequent, thorough, and regular inspections.
They enable you to notice early warning signs, schedule maintenance on time, and replace worn parts if needed, avoiding any larger complications.
To help yourself out, it’s best to consult the machine service manuals because they outline detailed inspection and maintenance plans that are customized for that particular piece of equipment’s requirements.
The manufacturer knows what and when should be done and can give you tips on how to maintain oil changes, fuel filters, or service belts, which can make the process a whole lot easier for you.
Some OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) provide recommendations on how to conduct daily, weekly, monthly, or annual checks for specific machines.
Others base inspection intervals on hours of operation.
For example, Volvo excavators have 1,000 hours of engine oil replacement interval, while for others, the period between each lubrication service may be either longer or shorter.
It all depends on the type of equipment and the supplier.
Overall, sticking to an effective inspection strategy tailored to your assets is key in minimizing the potential dangers associated with its daily use.
In other words, remember to follow through with routine maintenance to keep the machinery running smoothly.
Lower Risk of Workplace Injuries
No one understands the challenges of construction work better than the workers themselves.
Although overall workplace safety has increased since the last century, especially with the founding of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the passing of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act in 1970, construction is still not rid of hazards.
In fact, it is still considered one of the most dangerous industries to work in today.
As a matter of fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2021, one in five workplace deaths occurred in the industry.
Probably even more concerning is the information that construction has the second most occupational deaths: 12.3 deaths per 100,000 FTE workers.
Equipment that doesn’t work properly, unfortunately, does play a part in this.
A broken horn or brakes, for instance, can easily lead to a crash.
A failed system or a collision can cause a heavy object to fall, seriously injuring those it hits.
You may think a machine is safe just because it’s doing a good enough job for the time being, but the truth is, if you avoid inspecting it, you simply can’t know for sure.
That way, the only thing you do is risk potential safety hazards going undetected. Therefore, be thorough in your machinery examinations.
One surefire way to not miss anything important during inspections is to use checklists, which contain all the equipment and machines’ parts, along with the service tasks that need to be completed every single time.
Sometimes, the checklists are even provided by the suppliers, like the one for Volvo undercarriages shown above, but you can also create your own.
In any case, the role of maintenance in worker safety should not be underestimated. Taking care of your assets means taking care of employees, too.
Decreased Unplanned Equipment Downtime
Unplanned downtime is a true profitability killer in construction. It can quickly derail your plans and impact the bottom line.
So what causes it?
According to the 2022 State of Industrial Maintenance Report carried out by Advanced Technology Services, machinery failure is cited as the primary cause of productivity loss and unscheduled downtime in 80% of cases.
Surveyed industry professionals claimed that when a machine breaks down, other scheduled work has to stop while the problem is inspected and corrected, creating workflow disruption and project delays.
But what are the consequences of these unexpected disruptions? Or, better yet, how much exactly do they cost?
To find this out, Siemens conducted research on large manufacturing and industrial companies across the world. Here are the results.
Apparently, unplanned downtime is causing Fortune Global 500 companies to lose approximately 11% of their yearly profits, which equates to a shocking $1.5 trillion.
Not only that, but the cost of this issue has risen since 2020, and in certain sectors, like Oil and Gas, it has even doubled.
However, the good news is that decision-makers are starting to recognize the role of maintenance and frequent inspections in preventing sudden failures, with 70% of companies now considering building an effective maintenance regime a priority.
At GoCodes, we also know the importance of regular equipment servicing and how it can contribute to a business’s success.
That’s why, as a part of our asset tracking and management software, we developed the Tasks feature, which allows you to schedule service tasks, such as, for instance, an oil change, and assign them to particular workers.
With this feature, you can include additional notes about the task and set its deadline, priority level, or estimated cost. This will ensure all inspections run without any hiccups, making the employees fully aware of their responsibilities.
To sum up, establishing a well-organized inspection process is paramount if your goal is reducing costly and unnecessary downtime.
Fortunately, technology can be a valuable tool in achieving this goal.
By leveraging the right software, you can streamline your inspection process and make sure all the minor problems are fixed before they evolve into much bigger issues.
Less Expensive Equipment Repairs
Of course, a broken tool every now and then won’t break the bank, but systematically neglecting your assets could hurt your finances.
Repair costs can easily and quickly accumulate, especially because they go beyond just the cost of labor or spare parts.
In other words, there are many hidden maintenance-related expenses that you may not notice at first glance, such as wasted resources and lost production hours, but the effects of which are certainly felt later on.
The problem is that some industry professionals don’t have the right mindset about equipment inspections.
They view them as cost-centers that need to be reduced as much as possible, when they should be looking at them as investments.
One analysis of manufacturing machinery maintenance costs from 2021 delves deeper into the issue and explores how an effective service regime can contribute to lower spending by decreasing downtime and the frequency of repairs.
The report begins by outlining the total annual losses associated with equipment upkeep, which are estimated to be around a staggering $222 billion. According to the authors, these costs are “a major contributor to industry costs,” but they “amount to a substantial magnitude of money in the US economy,” too.
The survey also found that prioritizing preventive maintenance led to fewer unplanned work interruptions and machinery defects compared to using reactive maintenance, i.e., fixing equipment when it’s already broken.
Just to elaborate, preventive maintenance relies heavily on performing regular checkups and small repairs, which, as we already explained, prevents significant failures, which are more expensive to fix anyway.
To summarize, taking good care of your assets can ensure you always stay within the repair budget in two ways.
First, it reduces the frequency of maintenance, and second, it helps avoid complete malfunction by addressing smaller problems earlier, resulting in less considerable expenses. In short, you pay less money, less often.
However, did you know that inspections can save you money in other ways as well?
Reduced Need for Replacement Equipment
After all, construction equipment is no small investment.
Keeping it in top condition and making the most out of it for as long as possible should, therefore, be a priority for any company that wants to be ahead of the competition.
Regular inspections can assist in achieving this goal.
Justin Steger, Solutions Marketing Manager at John Deere Construction and Forestry, confirms:
In essence, merely knowing how to operate a machine is not enough to utilize it to its fullest potential. Inspecting and maintaining it is what really counts when it comes to prolonging its useful service life.
To be more efficient during inspections, though, it’s best to use the tools, such as service manuals or checklists, we mentioned earlier.
However, there’s another thing that can help take your inspection game to the next level.
It’s called record keeping.
This may sound surprising, but having a maintenance log of all the past repairs comes with its benefits.
Since asset records contain detailed descriptions of all previous inspections, they can then assist in planning out future service tasks more effectively.
Think of it as a medical history for your equipment.
As with many other aspects of business operations, the success of a maintenance regime lies in leveraging the data you have in front of you to make informed decisions about future actions.
The log will ensure that data is accurate, timely, and comprehensive, empowering you to properly allocate and maintain your assets.
As a result, you’ll see an increase in their longevity.
Hopefully, this article managed to convince you that taking the time to establish a proper inspection regime is worth your time.
By doing so, not only are you protecting your employees but equipment, too, while simultaneously saving money on repair and replacement costs.
In essence, it’s a win-win-win situation all around.