A mixed fleet ready for a day on the job site

What Is A Mixed Fleet And How To Manage Your Fleet

Technology is changing operations in every industry, and the construction industry is not exempted from this change. Before this time, manufacturers had a different perspective on brand loyalty, and they struggled to ensure that just one brand was used for every equipment on site. To them, this was a way of displaying brand loyalty.

However, needs and methods have shifted since then, and people are more open to the idea of mixed manufacturers. People now understand that no single manufacturer can make the best of every piece of equipment; the best way to get the best work done is to use top-notch pieces of equipment from different manufacturers -- each specialized in their sector.

This new mindset has brought about a lot of collaborative activities in the heavy equipment industry, exposing contractors to endless opportunities.

What Is a Mixed Fleet?

A mixed fleet is a fleet that encompasses a variety of operational equipment, vehicle, trucks, and heavy equipment in general. These pieces of equipment often come from different brands with different weights, dimensions, and other specifications.

As the world continues to recover from the effect of the pandemic, functionality in the construction industry will have to take priority over brand loyalty for brands. This ensures competitiveness and remaining in leading positions in a market that is currently not very friendly.

Mixed fleets are now a trend in the heavy equipment industry, and contractors and manufacturers must learn to properly manage it to sustain it.

How to Manage Mixed Fleets and Data Integration

In determining the value of machines, a lot of data has to be put together. Factors like operating costs, capital costs, acquisition costs, amortization costs, and maintenance costs are all pertinent, and a summation of these will give you the actual residual value of the machine. Data should be seamlessly integrated so that you can tell the actual value of the machine because sometimes a machine can cost too much and be unable to produce enough.

Having the right data will prevent you from losing money unnecessarily by giving you the right machine that provides value for your money. Various tools available today can give you the residual value of a machine. You will learn better by sourcing the information in different applications and then bringing it all together seamlessly.

Considerations to Make When Deploying a Mixed Fleet

Almost all contractors will rely on various Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) when getting specialized equipment, allowing them to deploy the best and most cost-effective marketplace solutions. Despite the benefits, using a mixed fleet can be quite challenging for brands.

Several fleets are available in the market, but the most important thing is getting a fleet that matches your needs. Brands need to be sure that the fleet they choose can readily integrate with their existing fleet. Here are some challenges that are faced by contractors while making this decision:

How many hours in transport? How many hours does it take to move the machine from one place to another? Who is operating the machine? Benchmarking the performance of people and processes Utilization benchmarking? What is the machine worth today? This will tell you how much you are going to cost your machine per hour to run and consistently maintain the machine at the OEM service intervals. Should you trade in or trade up?

Oil Analysis

One major way to maintain a mixed fleet is by conducting regular oil analysis. Contrary to popular belief, oil analysis is not just about checking the oil in a piece of equipment. An oil analysis will inform you about any looming problems with the equipment and enable you to predict and prevent unexpected equipment failure. A comprehensive maintenance program scheduled to prevent damage to the equipment will allow you to keep track of all OEM-required intervals. It will also tell you when to schedule a thorough servicing of the equipment to keep it in top form.

Business Drivers

Here are some of the business drivers involved:

Understand the problem

The first thing to do is to know the pain that your organization has. What is the need that should be solved? Quantify the problem in terms of money, time, and materials. You can proceed to interview stakeholders and get more information from them. Seek to understand people and processes.

Know the existing systems

Take an inventory to discover the systems that exist. Understand the operations, data usage, and decision-making, and establish the stakeholders.

Set desired outcomes

What do you want to get out of this mixed fleet deal? Based on the pain points you discover, target ideal solutions that can alleviate these points. Explore best-fit solutions, fast paths, and small steps. Support decisions with data and allow multiple systems to enrich the data used.

Build the value equation

You can build a value equation by quantifying outcomes, building a business case for change, painting the desired picture, influencing stakeholders, and obtaining buy-ins and commitments.

Myths About Digitization and Mixed Fleets

Digitization costs too much, and it does not pay off You only need one platform You will get trapped in one system by one provider, and once you get in, you cannot get out It is really hard and complicated API Standards mean that all data is the same Only IT-inclined People can understand this

Bringing It All Together

The mixed fleet combines everything in a single platform, making it easier to integrate data. A mixed fleet encompasses: Mixed equipment types Mixed brands Mixed telematics Mixed Business Software

It uses one connectivity platform to collect all your equipment data in one place to enable you to access information whenever you need it.

Mixed Telematics

Using telematics can optimize your mixed fleet in several ways. Through the automation of collecting telematics data, the efficiency of your mixed fleet can greatly increase. Here are some ways that you can benefit from telematics.

Availability of data

An interconnected telematics solution will give you the insights required for maximal planning. With telematics, all data from the fleet assets can be consolidated into a single interface, giving you the real-time status of all the tools and equipment in use.

Collecting data in a unified view

Having to switch between different platforms and manage multiple login details to consistently manage the data from the different fleets can be stressful. With the unified view that telematics provides, all of that can be averted. Now you can easily access daily updates on all the data you need.

Stay proactive in your maintenance

With real-time data, you can go from providing reactive fixes to providing proactive maintenance. This will create a competitive advantage for you, keeping you fully operational. Four main areas should be given the most attention, including location, utilization, fuel, and oil.

Accessing Information With APIs

An API is short for Application Programme Interface. It is an aggregation of bringing in data. It serves as a medium of communication between two pieces of software. Through an API, data can be efficiently exchanged between software. APIs allow customers to get the telematics data they want and put it into any platform they need.

There are two major functions of APIs: APIs for Aggregation: This interface brings data from an external source into a platform. For instance, it centralizes equipment data from multiple vendor solutions. APIs for Integration: This interface connects platform data to an external business system to automate processes or to bring equipment and business data together.

When implementing this technology using APIs, ask if the data is available and find good partners to work with if you lack an organized IT team. You can hire third-party integrators that are efficient in this sector and work with them.

Here are four main steps involved in implementing APIs:

  1. Using an API Integration: This includes the process of creating an API user, getting login details and credentials, and partnering with third parties for a centralized solution.

  2. Using platform features: The platform has a user interface, reports, dashboards, data exports, and maintenance features.

  3. Operation and validation: This includes data validation, adjustments, training, and communication.

  4. Change management: When you start to implement these methods, changes are going to occur. Learn how to manage the changes by celebrating success as it comes, giving a proper report on progress, reminding and motivating team members to keep going, and establishing internal heroes and promoters.

Two things to keep in mind when managing a mixed fleet are: Focus on the business objective throughout the process. There is a general goal you had in mind when you decided to use a mixed fleet. When you eventually get the fleet, focus on this goal and see how you can achieve it. Investment in data aggregation and integration must be mapped to a business objective and outcome for ROI.

As the world progresses, more options emerge. There are enough challenges in the heavy equipment industry today, and using and managing a mixed fleet should not be one of them. If managed properly, a mixed fleet will save contractors from making some extra costs while giving them opportunities to use the best machines.

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