Wilco Contractors: An Equipment Management Case Study


Executive Summary

Wilco Contractors specializes in open-space site development in Canada and has been a leader in the industry for nearly three decades. Wilco excels at project management, the construction of parks, sports facilities, environmentally sensitive site developments, as well as civil infrastructure developments.

Business Challenges

Although Wilco has seen success over many years in a competitive industry, there had been several issues in the daily operations that had costly consequences for the company. These challenges included:

Challenge #1 – Equipment Maintenance Issues Causing Equipment Downtime

As a wide-spread contracting company with a large fleet of vehicles and assets, Wilco performs maintenance on hundreds of pieces of equipment throughout the year. It is generally understood that it’s much less costly to perform scheduled maintenance than it is to fix an asset once it has broken down. Wilco had a basic system of document and maintenance tracking that reasonably supported scheduled maintenance on its fleet of assets. This system relied heavily on paper-based processes for defect and repair tracking to keep up with the care requirements for the fleet. Dealing with daily equipment defects and preventative maintenance activities, there was no transparency or way for management to see this information in a timely manner never mind in real time.

Challenge #2 – Safety Record Keeping and Transparency

Wilco had a challenge with efficiently adhering to personnel safety measures and requirements. As with any contracting company, several safety procedures are in place at Wilco that help prevent accidents and help to create and maintain a safe workplace. Common safety processes and mandated requirements such as toolbox talks, job hazard assessments, pre-trip inspections, incident reports, and near miss reports are all part of Wilco’s daily routines.

Wilco, like many contractors, had difficulties in maintaining consistent safety compliance documentation as per regulatory requirements. This led to a higher focus of personnel merely completing their paperwork and endless documentation rather than focusing on the actual safety issues and requirements that were stated within the documentation.

The Solution

Any solution that Wilco sought needed to:

  • Provide more visibility into the required preventative maintenance scheduling of individual assets helping to reduce the frequency of costly repairs.
  • Give insight into trends such as particular makes, models, or personnel that most frequently contributed to costly repairs.
  • Increase the level of compliance with mandatory safety procedures.
  • Create an environment where the focus was on performing the work safely rather than burdening the worker with enormous amounts of time managing the paper documents and procedures.

Wilco chose Nektar Data Systems. Nektar, a mobile and web-based solution that runs on every mobile device, was designed BY CONTRACTORS FOR CONTRACTORS and was rigorously tested by over 100 field and management staff on real jobs for two years.  It was significant to Wilco that Nektar had the flexibility to adapt to processes that were already in place.

The Solution in Action – Equipment Maintenance

Within Wilco, all tangible assets, such as vehicles, construction equipment, hand power tools, electronics, job sites, employees, etc., are given unique ID numbers and tags.  Now, for the life of every asset, specific asset and task information is updated and stored, permanently. Equipment and vehicles are now being tracked using the Nektar, which has allowed Wilco to save tens of thousands of dollars each year by employing a proactive preventative maintenance schedule.

For example, a typical dump truck has distinctive information stored in Nektar such as:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Serial Number
  • Weight
  • and any other specifications that may apply

Activity and other transactional information collected daily by each driver and service tech includes:

  • Pre-trip inspections
  • Engine checks
  • Fluids levels
  • Mileage and Hour meters
  • Detailed maintenance information
  • Future maintenance scheduling
  • Material handling and payload transactions

All collected information includes a GPS location, the user, and a date and time stamp so true traceability of who, what, when, and where for all events is achieved. Documentation and reporting of collected data is fully customized for the needs of Wilco’s equipment management staff. Paper-based documents such as CVIP’s, registrations, packing slips, invoices for service parts are all captured via mobile device photo or scanned and uploaded.  All documents and photos are available at any time from any device and can also be aligned with a specific activity such as an oil change.

The use of the Nektar and access to information has become an invaluable tool for equipment and project management within Wilco’s daily operations. Wilco has recently deployed over 200 mobile devices to field staff on which Nektar is used every minute of the day. The use of Nektar, being a mobile data collection system, has allowed Wilco to become more competitive by increasing productivity in the workplace.

The Solution in Action – Safety Compliance and Project Management

In 2014 Wilco fully abandoned 100 % of all its paper-based safety and project documentation requirements. Now all toolbox meetings, job hazard assessments, incident reports, site inspections, daily job logs, force account records, training certificates, etc., are completed using Nektar.

Using mobile data collection processes designed specifically for contractors, the app allows the foremen in the field to completely manage their projects without leaving the field. Since all data is uploaded and available online, senior management at Wilco have full access to all project and safety transactions from the field in real time. The days of turning in your paperwork at Wilco are completely gone.  Nektar is making Wilco a more attractive place to work with fewer safety violations, near misses, and accidents, all while improving the safety culture in the work site.

The ease-of-use and the confirmation of accountability has increased the level of safety compliance, reduced the frequency of incidents, and allows for much easier storing and retrieval of information in the event of an incident.

The Results

Although there were great reductions in occurrences of equipment damage, it has been tough to measure this in dollars.  However, estimates by Wilco are in the tens of thousands of dollars saved per year. The time and man-hours saved alone is in the thousands of hours.  The frequency of maintenance and safety forms being completed went from roughly 45% of the time to 100% of the time, and this by itself has resulted directly in better maintained assets and safer employees.

Wilco is now a completely paperless company with compliance rates of 100% for filling out necessary forms on site and in the office across all jobs.  The time and cost of repairs and downtime have been greatly reduced. Increases in safety compliance have reduced near misses and on site incidents. Nektar has become a daily part of Wilco’s business, and thus, the company has realized increased cost-savings, higher job safety, and greater productivity due to management no longer needing to chase down paper forms throughout the day.

Nektar Data Systems is utilized by contractors within heavy equipment, equipment rental, construction, materials handling, manufacturing, utilities, municipalities, and the green industry throughout the world.