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Facility Maintenance Decisions

Lowering Equipment Rental Costs by Implementing Strategic Planning

By Thomas A. Westerkamp June 2012 - Equipment Rental & Tools   Article Use Policy

Managers also can ensure the success of projects involving equipment rental by carefully planning the project ahead of time. A project manager should prepares a work-management plan that contains: an organization and equipment table; a budget and a schedule; a detailed description of each step; a timeline for each step; a key person responsible for each step; precedents and antecedents for each step; periodic progress meetings with higher management; and an inspection, code check, and approval system.

The work-management control unit of measure is the standard hour — the time it takes an experienced technician to perform a step using a proper method in a safe way. This measure is the so-called should-take time. By comparing the did-take, or actual, time to complete a step against the should-take time, the supervisor can determine the actual labor cost and performance for the project.

For example, if the standard time for a step was 1.5 hours and the actual time taken was 2 hours, the performance was 75 percent. If the project totals 200 standard hours, and 100 standard hours are complete, the project is 50 percent complete.

By measuring progress from the first step to the last, managers maintain control. Did delays occur because of late materials or equipment? Did they use correct work methods? Are workers properly trained? Would more training improve performance? Did field supervision anticipate worker and project needs to keep the job moving?

All of these factors yield smarter, more cost-effective decisions that can lower the equipment rental costs and help managers deliver a safe, high-quality project.

Thomas A. Westerkamp is a maintenance and engineering management consultant and president of the work management division of Westerkamp Group LLC.


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