How Equipment Management Software Saves Your Company Money

8 min

Construction company owners and managers are always looking for ways to save money without jeopardizing the efficiency, quality, and safety of construction operations.

However, that’s easier said than done as they have to deal with not only tight schedules, slim profit margins, or supply chain disruptions but also equipment theft, loss or failure, unplanned downtime, and inefficient resource allocation.

That’s where equipment management software, often supported by tracking technologies, comes in.

In this article, we’ll explore how the right software can help your construction company mitigate the above challenges and save money.

Minimizes Loss of Equipment

The tracking capabilities of equipment management software can deter thieves and help locate stolen equipment promptly, improving overall security and minimizing financial losses associated with theft.

And these losses are, to put it lightly, substantial.

Most estimates of the overall cost of construction equipment theft in the U.S. hover around $400 million annually, with some going as high as $1 billion.

To illustrate, here’s a snapshot of equipment theft trends in the first half of 2023, courtesy of the National Equipment Register (NER):

Source: NER

Although the total loss value in that period is significant, it doesn’t explain such high annual theft value estimates.

That’s because NER’s estimates focus only on heavy equipment theft, and don’t account for the value of stolen smaller equipment and tools nor for the direct and indirect damage caused to the company, such as unplanned downtime or costly project delays.

Naturally, construction companies utilize a range of measures aimed at keeping their equipment, tools, and other assets safe.

These may include fences around job sites and equipment yards, surveillance systems with cameras and alarms, jobsite/storage access control, and equipment locks and immobilizers.

Another strategic move that enhances the effectiveness of these anti-theft measures is using equipment management software integrated with advanced tracking technologies.

Nowadays, companies can choose among many equipment tracking options, such as GPS trackers, Bluetooth beacons, or barcodes, and even more equipment management software solutions.

To illustrate how these technologies can be used to minimize equipment theft or misplacement, let’s use our equipment management software, GoCodes, as an example.

Source: GoCodes

GoCodes includes:

  • cloud software (mobile app) available on any internet-connected device
  • in-app scanner installed on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets
  • rugged QR code tags affixed to equipment and tools

These QR labels can be customized to your preferences in terms of both their design and the material they’re made from.

This means you can ensure that asset tags will withstand often harsh construction environments without the need to replace them due to damage.

Once attached and connected to the GoCodes’ central cloud database, these tags function as theft deterrents in three ways.

First, every time a specific equipment or tool’s QR code tag is scanned, the software will automatically record where that asset is and show it on a Google map.

Source: GoCodes

This scan-based, passive GPS tracking is considerably more affordable and easier to implement than other asset-tracking solutions, which—as we’ll see later—can be used to further enhance security and extract other benefits, such as route planning and fuel efficiency.

In any case, GPS-enabled QR codes allow workers and managers to quickly see where a piece of equipment was last scanned, which helps locate the equipment if it was lost or gives the theft investigation a good starting point.

Second, managers can instruct workers to scan the QR code when taking equipment or tools and scan it again when returning them, thus establishing an automated asset check-in and check-out system.

The fact that software records who is responsible for an asset at any time increases worker accountability and minimizes instances of internal theft, misplacement, or negligent operation.

Lastly, the QR code itself can be printed on a metal tag (welded to the asset) or an anti-tampering label, both of which are hard to remove without a trace, making reselling harder and acting as proof of ownership when stolen assets are found.

To recap, equipment management software supported by various tracking technologies can help you significantly minimize cases of stolen, lost, or poorly handled equipment and tools, thus saving your company money.

Reduces Unplanned Downtime

In construction, time is not just money—it’s the heartbeat of project progress, and equipment management software can help keep it going by enabling preventive or even predictive maintenance and a quick response to equipment issues.

As contractors know, when something goes wrong on the jobsite, unplanned downtime can disrupt the entire construction schedule, leading to cascading project delays and cost overruns.

To quote Daniel Corbett, equipment manager at Lancaster Development, when a machine unexpectedly goes down:

Illustration: GoCodes Quote: For Construction Pros

Moreover, Corbett and other equipment managers agree that, generally, 20-30% of the scheduled project duration can be spent on issues stemming from unexpected equipment downtime.

So, how does equipment management software help reduce unplanned downtime?

First of all, when equipment is tagged with QR codes, this enables managers to schedule, assign, and track the performance of preventive maintenance tasks in real time.

Furthermore, they can access information on the equipment’s current status, location, and upcoming maintenance requirements at any time.

Source: GoCodes

In addition to these useful maintenance scheduling and tracking functionalities, managers can set up upcoming service reminders that equipment management software will automatically email to the assigned service technicians when maintenance is due.

In the words of Lance Tancraitor, equipment manager at Wagman:

“When we were tracking maintenance manually, a piece could get missed. But the computer system will flag when something is due, and it will keep flagging you until you get it done.”

This means that the described equipment management features not only allow for precise maintenance planning but also quicker response to equipment issues when they arise.

More specifically, managers can efficiently reallocate service technicians and respond promptly to such issues, thus minimizing downtime.

Lastly, when equipment management solutions are integrated with built-in or subsequently installed equipment/vehicle sensors, they can collect data and leverage AI-powered algorithms to predict and alert the manager about potential issues.

Such technologies give rise to truly predictive maintenance, enabling maintenance teams to handle issues before they escalate into major breakdowns.

Overall, by using equipment management software, companies can proactively manage equipment maintenance and swiftly address issues, which means less unplanned downtime and more cost savings.

Improves Fuel Efficiency

Some equipment management solutions, powered by GPS trackers and engine sensors, provide real-time monitoring of fuel consumption and energy usage.

By analyzing this data, companies can identify inefficiencies, such as excessive idling, suboptimal routes, or deteriorating engine performance, implement fuel-saving measures, and reduce overall operating costs.

First, let’s highlight that Market Research Future estimates that fuel accounts for more than 35% of the operating costs of construction vehicles and heavy equipment.

Naturally, this means that a company’s bottom line is significantly influenced by current fuel prices as well as its fuel consumption.

To improve fuel efficiency, companies can use equipment management software paired with active GPS trackers connected to internal or external in-vehicle sensors.

Put simply, these telematics devices enable fleet managers to monitor every aspect of their construction vehicles and heavy equipment, as illustrated by Titan GPS:

Source: Titan GPS

The image shows that sensor-based telematics systems allow managers to track and collect a range of real-time data relevant to improving fuel efficiency, such as:

  • current and previous vehicle/equipment locations and routes taken
  • speed, idling time, braking, and acceleration patterns
  • diagnostics, including engine performance, oil level, tire pressure, etc.
  • fuel levels and operating hours

The insights gained from this data enable equipment managers to identify what measures they can implement to improve fuel efficiency and reduce costs.

For example, as advertised by Teletrac Navman, such fleet management software can help companies minimize fuel expenses by:

Source: Teletrac Navman

Naturally, most of these fuel-saving measures apply not only to construction vehicles but also to heavy equipment.

To recap, when equipment management software provides real-time GPS tracking coupled with internal and external sensors, companies can leverage data-based insights to improve fuel efficiency and reduce overall operating costs.

Streamlines Inventory Management

Moving from large vehicles and heavy machinery to their spare parts and other supplies, another way equipment management software saves your company money is by streamlining inventory management.

As opposed to manual, spreadsheet-based inventory tracking, when inventory items needed for equipment maintenance, such as oil, cables, replacement parts, and other consumables, are tracked with the help of barcodes/QR codes and software, this enables you to:

  • track inventory levels in real-time
  • avoid stockouts and overstocking
  • minimize inventory loss and theft
  • reduce inventory holding costs

Each of these benefits of streamlined inventory management contributes to overall cost savings.

Such automated inventory management can be achieved by leveraging the same equipment management software used to track tools and equipment by scanning their tags.  

For inventory, this means workers scan the QR code on a container with specific spare parts when taking (using, consuming) items from that container or putting (restocking, replenishing) them back in, as illustrated below.  

Source: GoCodes

Moreover, you can set minimum inventory thresholds (zero or any other number) and instruct the software to automatically alert the person(s) responsible for restocking via email and in-app notifications.

These low-quantity alerts are crucial for preventing inventory stockouts that could disrupt construction operations and generate extra costs.

In addition, the same inventory-tracking principle enables managers to minimize inventory loss and theft, avoid over-purchasing, and decrease inventory storage costs.

In summary, by streamlining inventory management, equipment management software helps ensure that workers have the right equipment, tools, and inventory for the job without unnecessary expenses.

Automates Administrative Tasks

Automation of administrative tasks within equipment management processes, such as invoicing, billing, and reporting, can save time and reduce the need for manual labor, therefore increasing efficiency and potentially cutting down labor costs.

That’s why replacing manual, time-consuming administrative workflows with automated, faster, and easier processes is a pivotal driver for any construction company’s operational efficiency and cost reduction.

For example, your accounting staff can now rely on software-generated reports for billing and invoicing purposes, knowing they will accurately show equipment usage, maintenance costs, and other pertinent factors.

Source: GoCodes

As illustrated, these custom reports also enable accountants to perform asset audits faster and with less manual effort.

Likewise, they can automatically calculate, track, and generate reports on the equipment’s loss of value over time (depreciation), which is crucial for complying with financial reporting regulations and generating tax benefits.

Moreover, the data collected by equipment management software allows construction companies to establish a comprehensive equipment lifecycle management system, enabling them to make informed decisions on when to repair, rebuild, or replace equipment.

The list of administrative tasks where automation brings efficiency and reduces costs doesn’t end there but extends to less or no paperwork involving equipment checkouts, maintenance scheduling, and task management.

To sum up, by automating a range of administrative tasks, equipment management software empowers teams with efficient, error-free processes that save time, minimize manual labor, and enhance productivity, all of which contribute to lower costs.

Conclusion

All in all, embracing equipment management software that best fits your company’s needs will not only help you save money but also transform your construction operations.

From helping you thwart equipment theft and reduce unplanned downtime to improving fuel efficiency, streamlining inventory management, and automating administrative tasks, this technology is a multifaceted solution.

When equipment management software is carefully selected and properly implemented, the result is enhanced operational efficiency, better-informed decision-making, and substantial cost savings.

About GoCodes

GoCodes is the industry leader in tool tracking. We provide customers with the ultimate single vendor solution that includes cloud-based software, top-rated smartphone scanner apps and rugged QR code tags.

We pride ourselves on delivering a personalized service, cutting-edge technology and software that is easily used by your entire team.

GoCodes ensures our customers achieve success in their tool management projects every time.

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