How to Handle Software Downtime in Construction Management?

Author

Oded Ran

Oded Ran, CEO and Co-Founder of Clue since 2019, expertly integrates AI and data tools to revolutionize construction equipment management and maintenance, positioning Clue as a premier software choice in the construction industry.

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While downtime can be chaotic for businesses, they need to stay prepared to ensure they can pull out all the stops. According to a survey regarding the auto industry, the average financial loss was around $22,000 for every minute due to production downtime.

The examples of downtime losses are endless; however, when it comes to the construction business, it can be a lot more dangerous. But there's nothing to worry about, as where there's a will, there's always a way. The bigger picture is that it all depends on how you handle it.

The smarter the era, the wiser the tactics. This article will cover how to handle software downtime in construction management. So, hold your horses and let's get into the details.

What are the causes of equipment downtime and calculating the cost?

Equipment downtime occurs due to unexpected disruptions or machine failures. Some reasons include poor maintenance, tool failure, operator error, poor planning, inventory issues, lack of communication, or unoptimized changeovers.

According to a study, 82% of companies have faced downtime in the last few years, lasting for an average of four hours.

Moreover, manufacturers face 800 hours of downtime every year. You can calculate equipment downtime's cost by checking the decrease in revenue during downtime.

Look at the products you produced during that period against the money you received for each product. In 2016, the average cost of downtime for businesses was $260,000.

Strategies for minimizing downtime

Minimizing downtime is essential for construction industries to optimize workflow and reap double profits. Here are some of the common strategies you can implement for minimizing downtime:

Make a list of your equipment

Make a list of the construction equipment you own. It will include heavy construction equipment, trucks, and smaller essential machines and tools. Keep their record by age, serial number, or any prominent characteristics. 

For instance, if you have a fleet of excavators, you could note down details such as their purchase date, maintenance history, and any recurring issues they might have.

This allows you to prioritize maintenance tasks based on criticality and plan for replacements or upgrades as needed.

Perform a risk audit

This may sound scary, but it isn't at all; instead, it is necessary for construction management. Suppose you have 25-year-old construction equipment.

It is at risk of failure, and the manufacturing company provides no support. Replacing it will be a better decision because repairing it would cost more.

In 2018, 44% of the time, aging equipment was the reason when equipment stopped working. Performing a risk audit will help you learn which equipment poses a risk to your maintenance team's safety. 

Look at the data

After the risk audit, it's time to look at the data. Determine why each machine's downtime, dictate when it will fail next time, and design a preventive maintenance plan.

Notice the construction equipment downtime trends and use the data effectively. Analyzing downtime data, you identify patterns and trends in equipment failures.

For example, your hydraulic excavators experience hydraulic system failures during summer due to increased workload and heat stress.

Assign duties to your employees

You need to maximize the productivity and effectiveness of servicing and repairs, so assign duties to your employees.

For example, you can assign your shift supervisor to inspect the equipment when a shift ends and report damages. 

Ask specific employees to do a detailed inspection weekly or monthly. Be clear on who will report regarding the issues with your equipment and minimize downtime in the construction industry.

Communicate effectively

To reduce downtime, you need to communicate effectively with your team. Elaborate on the benefits of maintaining your equipment and how it benefits the company, your co-workers, and your team.

For instance, you assign a qualified technician to conduct daily inspections of all heavy machinery before each shift begins. 

Using software to reduce downtime

Field maintenance software can decrease downtime since your team reports all the routine maintenance details in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Downtime calculation software enables you to calculate the mean time between failures (MTBF) according to your machine's frequent downtime.

When the best downtime software has the data, it informs you when your machine will break down again, reducing downtime and improving maintenance management.

Set up a maintenance plan

A preventive maintenance plan will help you avoid costly downtime, reduce unscheduled downtime, and save your employees time. Catching issues before they become complicated or result in machine failure will enable you to order spare parts and do regular maintenance.

You can avoid costly shipping expenses, reduce production, and save money that would otherwise go to employee overtime compensation.

Save time and cost with construction equipment management software

 You can save more time and money with construction equipment management software. Here's how you can do that by checking some essential factors before selecting software to prevent downtime:

Scalability

 Choose software that can accommodate your business's growing needs without requiring you to transform your preventive maintenance software solution completely. 

Check whether the software will handle increased users, assets, or locations. When you plan to expand, the software must be able to scale according to your business needs.

User-friendly interface 

A user-friendly interface is essential for heavy construction equipment industries, where individuals with different technical expertise use software.

Software must be intuitive and easy to navigate, with accessible features, icons, and straightforward menus. Clue has it all: customized icons, an easy-to-use home screen, and everything required for a great user experience.

Customization 

Customizing your software to match your business's requirements is a must-have feature. All construction companies have different needs and systems, so software must be able to adapt to them.

Find software that can customize alerts, reports, tasks, and features that align with your process and preferences. The customization ensures that software fulfils a company's specific requirements instead of forcing it to adjust its workflow according to its rigid system.

Customer support 

Customer support is important when implementing and using software. Check reviews about the software provider to see whether they offer excellent customer service, such as continued support, training, and onboarding assistance.

You need a knowledgeable and responsive team to implement the software and use it effectively. They'll help you with several issues, and you can ask questions using the software.

Mobile access 

Mobile access is necessary in the construction industry. Field personnel require access to maintenance schedules, on-site heavy equipment, and other critical information.

Thus, choose software that has an application and provides mobile access. Mobile access must also be user-friendly and optimized for various devices, such as mobile phones and tablets.

It will help your team access vital information and updates regularly, maximizing responsiveness and efficiency.

Introducing Clue: your go-to downtime solution

Clue is the smart approach for businesses looking to handle downtime wisely. It has been designed specifically to increase the efficiency of construction businesses.

Real-time equipment monitoring:

 Clue provides detailed, real-time updates on the status of construction equipment. It allows managers to monitor working, idling, and break times through simple, easily accessible charts​​.

This can help quickly identify and address issues before they lead to significant downtime.

Preventive maintenance planning: 

Clue allows users to create and manage preventive maintenance plans, automatically generating work orders in advance to ensure timely maintenance and reduce unexpected breakdowns​​. This feature helps in avoiding costly unscheduled downtime by catching issues early.

Fault code and inspection logs: 

The platform supports tracking fault codes and inspection logs, providing insights into potential issues that could cause equipment failures​​. This proactive approach to maintenance helps in minimizing equipment downtime by addressing faults promptly.

Offline capabilities: 

Even without an internet connection, Clue's offline capabilities ensure that data on state and events is queued and processed once connectivity is restored, maintaining continuous monitoring and logging during software downtimes​​.

Comprehensive maintenance dashboard: 

Clue offers a maintenance dashboard that integrates work order management, part requests, and approval processes. This dashboard provides a holistic view of maintenance activities and their status​​, centralizing maintenance operations and facilitating efficient downtime management.

API integrations:

Clue integrates with various telematics systems, such as Verizon Connect Reveal, Geotab, and others, allowing seamless data flow and comprehensive monitoring of all equipment from a single platform​​. This integration ensures that all equipment data is up-to-date and accessible, aiding in better downtime management.

Mobile and web app:

 Clue's mobile and web applications provide functionalities like maintenance work order management, equipment status updates, and geofence management, which are crucial for real-time decision-making and minimizing downtime​​.

Wrap up

 Effective equipment downtime management is crucial for optimizing productivity and minimizing costs in the construction industry.

Companies can proactively address potential issues and maintain smooth operations by implementing strategies such as performing risk audits, analyzing data, and assigning clear responsibilities.

Utilizing advanced software solutions for maintenance planning and downtime calculation further enhances efficiency by predicting equipment failures and facilitating timely repairs. 

FAQs

How do you deal with system downtime? 

You can adopt an effective maintenance strategy, invest in robust testing, monitor performance metrics, manage your technology updates, and prioritize sharing information and maintaining documents. 

What does downtime mean in construction?

In construction, downtime means when work stops due to reduced productivity or other internal or external factors. 

What is downtime in project management?

In project management, downtime is when work stops because something isn't working, like a broken tool, a software glitch, or a power outage. It's a period where no progress is made because of these issues.

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