3 Sure-Fire Investments

sitekEditor’s note: This article appeared in the October 2013 issues of the ACP magazines

Whenever an investment is made it is done with the expectation of getting a positive return. This doesn’t always happen. Often the results are less than anticipated. The most recent recession proved the point.

For the construction contractor, no matter how small or large, here are three investments that are always a sure thing and will always give you a positive ROI.

Safety is the best investment you can make for your company. Anytime an accident, injury or worse is prevented you get a measurable return.

All construction sites are accidents waiting to happen. Your challenge is to survey job sites and find as many potential hazards as possible and then do something to prevent accidents. There are an endless string of safety slogans, signs, warning devices, training materials and programs designed to help you deliver safety messages to you crews. Visit www.site-kconstructionzone.com “Digging For Dirt” and read the guest blog by Penny Olmos — for a quick trip scan here Insert Safety Scan Code.

A couple of other resource sites are Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) www.aem.org and safety.cat.com. There are dozens of other resources starting with the equipment manufacturers. The AEM safety materials are the result of a cooperative effort by all the member manufacturers and available in several languages. The time effort and capital pout into safety programs and training always give you the highest return when you can go to bed at night knowing that all your employees, every single one, went home at the end of the day tired and uninjured.

Training needs to be a critical part of your operation even if it’s only you and your brother-in-law. Employees should go through a training program designed to familiarize them with company practices, programs and protocols.  Even seasoned operators can use periodic update training. And don’t forget the all important safety training.

Most equipment dealers have some type of training available for the equipment they handle. Many of the equipment manufacturers also provide operator training. If you’re buying a new piece of equipment you can include training as part of the deal. You would want to include maintenance training in the arrangements.

In many cases training becomes a two-way learning experience. The trainer can always learn from the new employees especially if the individual has years of experience.

The use of the team analogy ihas certainly been overworked but the reality is that it does apply. A team is a grouping of people working together to achieve a common goal each has a specific function for which they are responsible. The key to a team’s success is the result of extensive training. If all the members of a team execute their individual responsibilities as they’ve been trained to the result is the achievement of the objective or goal effectively, efficiently, safely and profitably.

Maintenance insures that the equipment, tools, attachments and safety devices are all functioning as effectively as they were designed to. A machine delivers its greatest level of productivity when it’s in its optimum operating condition. A piece of equipment can’t deliver peak performance unless it’s in peak condition. The only way to keep equipment at a like-new performance level is through a comprehensive maintenance program consisting of routine daily inspections, safety checks, scheduled service intervals, oil analysis, before-failure component replacement, and don’t forget the ground engaging tools. Dull, blunt or worn teeth and cutting edges will cause a machine to use more fuel, accelerate wear and reduce productivity.

Safety and training are both critical components of a maintenance program. Working on and around equipment has its own set of safety hazards that need to be addressed. The maintenance staff needs to be trained to be efficient. Investing in integrating these three component into your operation will always give you a positive return that will be reflected in your employees attitudes as well as your bottom line.