Supporting Your Crew

Skid Steer Attachments Help Drive Operator Efficiency Amid the Workforce Shortage  

By Brant Kukuk, Compact Equipment Product Manager, Ditch Witch

Getting the job done quickly and efficiently is the name of the game on today’s jobsites. Whether you’re working in landscape, tree care, utility installation or another area of construction, the industry’s ongoing workforce shortage might be digging into your bottom line. However, you’re not alone. According to the 2021 Construction Outlook Report, 67 percent of respondents reported that the lack of skilled labor and the workforce shortage is the biggest challenge facing the safety and health of an operation and its crew.

When you’re working with smaller crews, relying on your equipment becomes paramount to your success. To increase operator efficiency, OEMs are designing machines that can help you do more with less. One machine that is helping contractors drive productivity, meet deadlines and boost the bottom line is the stand-on skid steer. And, with the versatility provided by stand-on skid steer attachments, you can ensure your smaller crews stay successful. Here are four stand-on skid steer attachments that will help you mitigate the pressures of the industry’s workforce shortage. 

Grapple Bucket

A bucket attachment is one of the most popular attachments for any stand-on skid steer operator. But did you know it is also the ideal attachment for smaller crews? The bucket attachment can help you safely lift and carry large piles of materials that need to be relocated or disposed of on a jobsite. There are a variety of bucket types to choose from, depending on the application, including a dirt bucket, 4-in-1 bucket and grapple bucket. 

A grapple bucket is similar to the standard bucket, but has hydraulic clamps, so it can be used to hold unstable materials such as tree branches, stumps, large boulders, bricks and more. 

For example, if you needed to move a heavy tree branch across a jobsite, a grapple attachment equipped on a large stand-on skid steer will allow you to move the branch in one trip. Without a grapple bucket and a large skid steer, you would need to take time to cut the branch up into smaller pieces to be carried by hand or fit into a standard bucket.

Hydraulic Power Fork

A hydraulic power fork is an essential attachment for loading and unloading materials from a trailer or truck bed and moving it across tricky terrain. It’s particularly useful when moving materials like sod, bricks, trees, and ornamental garden boulders. 

One key benefit of a hydraulic power fork for your smaller crews is that you can adjust the tines with intuitive controls on the machine, rather than manually. This eliminates the need to get on and off your skid steer to make adjustments, helping crews save time and ultimately helping contractors maximize staff productivity and move on to the next job more quickly. 

Trencher

The biggest benefit of a trencher attachment is that it eliminates the need for a second machine on a jobsite, which can help you drive productivity in two ways. First, by eliminating the time needed for maintenance or transportation of a second machine, giving you valuable minutes back in your day. Second, by cutting back on training time needed to learn multiple machines, enabling any new employee to start contributing to the jobsite faster. 

Trencher attachments for stand-on skid steers are typically available in 4-, 6- and 8-inch widths and are ideal for installing everything from irrigation and drainage systems to utilities and fiber.

Auger

Ideal for landscaping and tree care, an auger attachment on a stand-on skid steer will help you quickly open holes in the ground for tree, fence and deck post installations. An auger attachment is an especially good solution if you historically relied on a hand-held auger machine. By speeding up these tasks, you can take on more jobs in a day and increase your ROI. 

Auger attachments are available in a variety of bit styles and sizes which typically range from 6 to 36 inches.

Accomplish More with Attachments 

Finding ways to do more with less is the key to succeeding with smaller crews and choosing the right attachment can help you boost jobsite efficiency.

In one example, Darrel Anderson, Owner and CEO of D2Scapes, a landscape company based in Hot Springs, Arkansas, credits the stand-on skid steer for making his crews much more productive and for why it feels like they have additional crew support on the jobsite. “I consider my Ditch Witch stand-on skid steers to be employees,” he said. “With my skid steers, I’m still able to get jobs done on time and on budget. I’m getting some jobs done faster than I have in years.”

Additionally, Anderson attributes the ability to take on two separate residential landscaping projects at one time to skid steers and their attachments. “Being able to easily switch attachments is key in helping us accomplish a variety of jobs with just the one machine,” he said. “Since many of our jobs are in residential areas that already have multiple vehicles taking up jobsite space, being able to bring just one machine is a huge plus. In the future, I definitely plan to continue looking into new attachments that can help my crews take on new jobs. In fact, I believe that will be the future of how we work.”

D2Scapes is just one example of an operation that has relied more on machines amid the workforce shortage. While Anderson credits his fork, bucket, trencher and power brush as reasons his crews stay efficient, there are a variety of other attachments that can further help you improve your bottom line. From rakes and backhoes to vibratory plows and microtrenchers, finding the right attachments will be imperative to driving jobsite efficiency, especially when working with smaller crews. 

This material appears in the May 2022 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & EngineerConstructionConstruction DigestConstruction NewsConstructioneerDixie ContractorMichigan Contractor & BuilderMidwest ContractorNew England ConstructionPacific Builder & EngineerRocky Mountain ConstructionTexas ContractorWestern Builder