12 tips to help construction equipment owners reduce total cost of ownership

Telematics improve the ability to track machine usage.

It’s important to know how a machine is being used to ensure that it is operating to its full potential as well as receiving the necessary maintenance. There are multiple ways of doing this, including through the use of telematics such as CASE’s SiteWatch system.

“SiteWatch gives you the opportunity to dive in and really look at how that machine is being utilized, where it’s being utilized, when it will need maintenance and, maybe the biggest question, why that machine is being underutilized,” Polzer said. “That may be the most expensive thing – here you are making payments or renting, and the machine is sitting idle.”

If a machine is parked too long it’s good to check in with the operator, he added – they may not be familiar with its operation and need support to get it on the jobsite. Polzer said that with the way technology has changed in earthmoving machines recently it’s key to coach operators and provide support to ensure they can use them to their greatest potential.


When a contractor buys a new machine they usually have a primary job in mind, but there’s a good opportunity to expand that use with a variety of attachments, Stemper said.

“That primary duty is going to earn you the most amount of money, and you’re justifying the purchase of the machine around that base operation, but those additional attachments afford you the ability to bid more to the job,” he said.

Selecting a range of attachments means the machine can be used for more jobs on each particular site, and in some usages it might extend the time a machine can be used. Landscapers, for example, generally use their machines mostly from spring through fall; a snow removal attachment can give them an extra few months of potential operation to expand the bottom line.

Maximizing machine operation during use

Operating equipment at its peak potential is another strategy that is being supported by updated technology in modern machines, particularly through the use of operator modes, Polzer said.

“The complexity of machines has grown to provide operators and owners many options. It’s critical to understand what these different modes mean,” he said. “Wheel loaders offer different modes and excavators have different settings for throttle as well as pressure and speed.”

It’s key to read the operation manual and understand how these modes work; if that doesn’t clear up issues, then connecting with a dealer can be a good idea. “They’ll show you how to put dollars back in your pocket that you were losing before,” Polzer said.

Machine control

Precision pays, and machine control helps ensure that precision, noted Stemper. 2D or 3D blade control or excavation systems are key to making a good operator better and improving efficiency through less passes and putting fewer hours onto a machine, while avoiding over-excavation or underdigging.

“It is going to be a higher priced option on the machine, or a higher priced feature, but what we often see with machine control is payback for those features because of the increased efficiency and the lowering of actual wear and tear on the machine,” Stemper said. “You’re paying back those systems rather quickly sometimes… as few as one or two jobs.”

Precision can also be improved by the use of things like payload systems, along with other options.

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