Lonnie Fritz, Senior Market Professional, Construction Industries, Caterpillar Inc.
Why are so many New Year’s resolutions so hard to keep? Maybe it’s because they too often add things to your already full plate, like finding time to exercise more, learn a new skill or organize your office or shop. Would it be easier if you resolved to STOP doing certain activities instead — the ones that are eating up your time and money? From a business perspective, it’s definitely worth a try. Here are five practices to consider ending in 2021.
STOP holding onto equipment that isn’t productive. Just because you own a piece of equipment doesn’t mean it makes sense to keep it. Check the utilization data for each machine in your fleet to see how many hours it works versus how many hours it’s available to work. (It’s easy to run a comparison like this using My.Cat.Com or the Cat App.) The basic rule of thumb is this: If overall fleet utilization is less than 80% or certain machines are below 50%, you could do the same amount of work with less equipment. Why not sell, reduce your total cost structure and improve your overall competitiveness?
STOP relying on paper recordkeeping. Are you still keeping track of maintenance in an Excel spreadsheet, jotting down fuel use in a notebook or scribbling the change date on the filter? These outdated techniques not only waste time, they’re also rife with potential for errors. Almost every piece of equipment today comes with telematics software that tracks this information for you, with free apps and websites (like the ones mentioned above) available 24/7 for viewing and analyzing it. Put this easy-to-use technology to work for your business to save time and money.
STOP bidding on every job that comes along. The Wayne Gretzky approach — “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” — may work in hockey, but it’s a mistake in construction. A scattershot approach wastes time and effort because your operation simply isn’t a fit for every project. Plus, you risk winning jobs you don’t have the resources to handle or can’t complete profitably. Instead of jumping on every RFP, go after projects where you excel or bring something to the table the competition does not.
STOP selling yourself short. Are you undervaluing your work, lowering your price to win bids or only doing business with repeat customers versus going after new jobs? It’s time to change your mindset. Use fuel, material, equipment and labor costs along with productivity data from past jobs to create accurate estimates with a built-in profit margin. Make sure your bids emphasize how you’ll keep projects on budget and on schedule — you don’t have to be the cheapest if you can prove you’re the most valuable. And seek out new customers who are willing to pay for what you’re worth. Online bidding sites like ConstructionBidSource.com, ConstructionWire.com and GovernmentBids.com are a great place to start.
STOP avoiding technology adoption. Is your company still performing construction tasks the old-fashioned way? Assess the construction activities your organization performs, then research the available Grade, Payload, Compact, Telematics and Productivity technologies best fit to improve the safety, productivity, efficiency and profitability of your business. Each of these technology solutions will make tasks easier for your crews and bring opportunities for company growth and expansion.
There’s something about a new year that invites change. But change doesn’t have to make your work life more complicated. Eliminate just one of these money-losing, time-wasting practices in 2021, and you’ll start to see the benefits on your bottom line. That’s a resolution you can feel good about.