How to Measure and Improve Equipment Utilization

April 23, 2021

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Key Takeaways

If your business owns light or heavy equipment, or rents out equipment to customers, it could be helpful to better understand your equipment utilization. Understanding the utilization rate of your assets can save you time and help you make more informed decisions about your inventory. By using a telematics solution that offers equipment tracking, you can track utilization in real time and make informed, data-based decisions more easily.

What is equipment utilization?

Equipment utilization is the amount of time a piece of equipment, machinery, or asset is used. Based on the calculated utilization rate, businesses can better understand how to  best use their equipment and make more informed decisions on project timelines, inventory, or equipment rentals.

How telematics can help you track the utilization of your equipment

A telematics solution that provides real-time GPS equipment tracking and utilization data can increase visibility into your end-to-end operations. This can help your businesses track utilization in real time and make informed, data-based decisions more easily without the need for manual tracking.

Samsara is a complete equipment monitoring solution that combines the power of IoT Asset Gateways and cloud-based reporting tools to help you track equipment utilization. With Samsara equipment tracking, you can get real-time remote access to engine diagnostics and insights from automated reports for everything from unpowered assets to construction equipment. Not only does this increase visibility into equipment utilization, but it can help save time locating equipment, prevent unauthorized use, and reduce technician response times. 

Which metrics should you measure to understand your equipment utilization?

Reviewing the right type of utilization data can make a big difference in the outcome of your analysis. For starters, you’ll want to consider equipment type, asset location, and date range. This information will ensure you get an accurate view of usage for assets during a specific timeframe.

The benefits of improving equipment utilization across your business

Rightsize with confidence

Utilization data is critical to balancing your equipment inventory and making informed decisions about your capital investments. With too many costly assets or powered equipment, you run the risk of unnecessary overhead costs. With too few, you could limit your company's growth. Achieving maximum efficiency with your assets ensures you’re set up to grow your business while maximizing equipment uptime.

Allocate equipment more efficiently

By actively reporting and monitoring utilization, you can improve your operations by allocating assets more effectively. For example, if you run a multi-regional business, you may notice northeast equipment is functioning at 40% weekly utilization during the winter but the southwest group is at 95% weekly utilization. Instead of simply buying more equipment for the southwest region to meet the growing demand, you can reallocate resources from the underutilized northeast group until demand evens out.

In order to determine these calculations and reach this decision, you need access to accurate data in real time. With the Samsara Utilization Report, you can automatically collect these insights instead of manually tracking data for tens, hundreds, or even thousands of assets or pieces of equipment. If you need granular data on utilization, you can also export raw data from the report and manipulate it based on your business needs. By using Samsara, your team can not only save time lost to manual data entry, but ensure you’re capturing the data critical to your operations.

How to use equipment utilization data to optimize operations with Samsara

Equipment can be expensive to own and manage, especially when factoring in insurance, storage, and maintenance costs. Though these costs are ideally offset by incoming business, what happens when a piece of equipment’s expenses outweigh the money it's bringing in for the company? 

To ensure your business has the right mix of equipment, it’s important to understand your equipment’s utilization rate. This can typically be done by determining a threshold for miles driven or hours used, and identifying if a piece of equipment falls above or below that number. But the problem with these thresholds is that they don’t always provide an accurate picture of utilization. Looking solely at hours used won’t always be enough additional context needed to make actionable decisions to help your business. 

But with Samsara equipment monitoring, you can see how each piece of equipment is measuring up against its potential. To help fleets drill down on this information, Samsara’s Utilization Report can help you understand usage by segmenting equipment by type, location, and date used. This information will help you calculate usage for those assets during that window. This can help fleets optimize their operations and grow their revenue by redeploying under-utilized equipment to areas with higher demand.This additional contextual data can also help customers more easily act on data that can help optimize their operations. 

For an even closer look, you can also use Samsara tags to designate different asset types (like different types of construction equipment) so you can compare utilization across different subsets of your fleet. You can also use tags to differentiate assets by location for immediate visibility into how efficient or inefficient different geographic areas of a business are performing.

How ACV Enviro leverages Samsara to increase equipment utilization

Before Samsara, ACV Enviro was tracking their inventory of roll-off dump trucks, light towers, and other assets on paper and in spreadsheets. When assets were misplaced or lost, they had to rent additional assets for new jobs, which added significant costs to the business. In addition, ACV Enviro lacked visibility into equipment utilization, equipment performance, and overall equipment effectiveness, which made budgeting and procurement planning difficult. It also made equipment downtime more unpredictable, an uncertainty that could make unplanned maintenance more common.

To remedy the situation, ACV Enviro installed Samsara Asset Gateways on all of their 1,000+ pieces of equipment. By using Samsara’s Time on Site Report and geofences they are now able to track exactly where and how long equipment has been on a job site. Using pre-built utilization reports, they can also make informed budgeting decisions for purchasing new equipment.

ACV Enviro has cut costs by reducing reliance on rentals, billing customers more accurately for time on site, and analyzing their asset utilization rate. 

Measure equipment utilization with Samsara today

Whether your goals are to make immediate updates to your equipment mix, reallocate equipment in real time based on usage, or just better understand your day-to-day operations, Samsara is here to help. With tools that help you understand where your equipment is and how it’s being utilized, Samsara can provide you with the data and insights you need to increase efficiency.

Samsara utilization tools are part of our complete connected operations platform trusted by 20,000 customers. To learn more about how Samsara can help your business better understand equipment utilization, reach out for a free trial today.

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