Tyler Mitchell represents the future of data-driven construction fleet management and connects Superior Paving with continued success.
Superior Paving Corp. is the 2022 Fleet Master in the small fleet category, with an estimated replacement value of less than $100 million. Since 2004, construction equipment and the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) honor asset management professionals with the Fleet Masters Awards.
Mitchell’s title, Total Process Reliability Coordinator, differs from the more common fleet manager labels, but it aptly describes his holistic approach to fleet efficiency. At 29, he is fluent in “data,” and he respects and listens carefully to other professionals in his industry. Working with Tom Eckler, General Manager of Shop and Equipment, and supported by Mike Brewer, Chief Information Officer, Mitchell is helping Superior Paving forecast the equipment it will buy and sell over the next next 10 years.
Part of this plan is fleet efficiency and reliability. Mitchell and Eckler work hand in hand to track equipment usage and determine pricing.
“Eight years ago, we shut down production at our company for the day to communicate our new initiatives toward total process reliability,” says Mitchell. “We brought all of our employees together and shared that we are committed to efficiency and equipment management.
“Technology is an important part of the efficiency of our equipment,” he says. “We use a real-time reporting program that tracks what we’re using, how much we’re using, how often we’re using it, and what kind of order lead time it takes.” Mitchell pulls equipment health and usage data to track the progress of projects to ensure jobs have the right machines available when needed. Balanced utilization and predictive maintenance are at the heart of Mitchell’s reliability plan.
Mitchell’s holistic approach to TPR includes everyone who works at Superior, including administrative and non-sales employees who otherwise would never touch the gun in their day-to-day jobs. Each month, each piece of equipment is audited. Regardless of the department in which they usually work, each employee is assigned two vehicles to carry out an in-depth visit.
Mitchell says using people off Superior’s equipment provides a fresh perspective and gives everyone a better sense of what the company does and an opportunity to take ownership of Superior’s success.
Auditors are usually accompanied by an operator or mechanic. The average audit takes about 20 minutes to complete a checklist, which is tailored to that specific vehicle’s service history and application. Auditors enter their observations into the mobile application component of Auto ShopKeeper, Superior Paving’s fleet management software developed in-house by Brewer. (Learn more about the asset management app here.)
“One of my favorite parts of our audits is that if a piece of equipment is not up to standard, the app immediately generates a service request,” he says. “The service request is sent directly to our planning and our scheduler within a minute of submitting the audit. This allows for rapid response to any items found to be faulty before they cause failure.
“Anyone within our company can select a category of equipment or a single piece of equipment and get a PDF copy of the audit within a minute of completing it,” he says. “Managers get updated audits of their machines and stay better informed about the status of their equipment.”
Use of deeper data in fleet management
“Using input from all of our departments, we have developed a methodology (CAP-X) to project what we will buy and sell over the next 10 years as part of our acquisitions and risk management process” , says Mitchell. “CAP-X allows us to track our equipment and make informed decisions on when to buy or sell equipment based on getting the best return for the equipment before it becomes a significant financial burden. . Each year, we aim to spend no more than 3% of our annual turnover on replacing equipment. We have refined this process to the point that we are currently only spending 89.41% of our 2021 equipment replacement budget. Our CAP-X process allows us to identify and order equipment that we need to buy or sell late 2022. This represents approximately 86% of the planned capital expenditure budget.
“We strive to sell equipment before its value drops significantly to maximize the amount we are able to recover to offset the purchase of new equipment,” says Mitchell. “For example, at the beginning of this year, when we prepared to sell our dump trucks, we had an average return of 41.78%.
Mitchell also uses a report called the “bad actor list” to monitor the various makes and models of equipment in their fleet.
“We keep track of each vehicle’s performance history so we can determine which equipment works best,” he says. “We have factory warranties on every piece of equipment, and the CAP-X plan allows us to purchase extended warranties only on vehicles that need them.”
Every Wednesday, Operations holds a meeting to discuss equipment scheduled for preventative maintenance next week, projects the shop is working on, and their expected completion dates.
“We launched our Crew Maintenance Policy in 2021 which guides crews if they need to perform minor equipment repairs instead of sending a technician to the field,” says Mitchell. “In 2021, this policy resulted in 233 fewer emergency calls compared to 2020. This means that approximately 700 technician hours were spent in the workshop rather than in the field.
“We recently updated our RCA (Root Cause Analysis) program with a fillable PDF investigation form that allows us to investigate every incident in the same systematic way every time and understand what is going on. he says. “This policy allows us to identify trends and apply solutions to prevent the problem from recurring.”
Mitchell’s passion for accurate data analysis also applies to outsourced vendors.
“We outsource 16.59% of our preventative maintenance and have written standards for our PM services so that every piece of vendor-maintained equipment is completed at the same time and the same way every time.” These standards also define Mitchell’s expectations for the work performed.
Mitchell says he wants everyone to answer a simple question when they arrive at work each day: “Do I have what I need to work safely today?” »
“Safety is an integral part of our company culture,” he says. “It’s a reminder that safety requires the commitment and participation of every employee. Once a month we have a safety committee meeting, which includes different departments and positions throughout the company. This diverse pool of employees gives us diverse perspectives and reminds each employee that he or she has a responsibility to maintain our culture of safety.
“We conduct annual safety training with 100% of our workforce and TPR coordinators attend all new hire orientations to discuss our Total Process Reliability programs.”