Upgrading and Investing in the Latest Equipment Keeps Oftedal Ahead of the Curve

No matter what profession you’re in, you need the right equipment to get the job done safely and efficiently. That is especially true when you’re an equipment operator working on heavy civil projects or installing underground utilities. Not only does the right equipment contribute to the quality of work, but it can also make all the difference when working within tight timelines and budget constraints.

Over the past 60 years, Oftedal has been a dominant force in the heavy civil construction industry. And while there are plenty of reasons for our success—the dedication of our employee owners, a commitment to training and safety, etc.—a major factor contributing to that success is our commitment to continually upgrade and invest in the latest technology and equipment.

Matt Otterby, Vice President and Operations Manager, says that although he loves the old equipment, upgrading and keeping pace with the latest advances are necessary to compete in today’s construction industry.  “New technology is necessary to complete projects faster and more accurately than could be done in the past,” he explains. “New technology can speed things up without compromising quality.”

Matt says that new equipment provides reliability because it requires less maintenance and has less “downtime” than aging equipment, and that when things do break, parts for the newer equipment are more readily available and quicker to obtain. Less down time equals faster completion and the ability to take on more projects.

New equipment also attracts new talent and helps to retain current employees. Matt says that operator comfort is paramount to keeping things moving and attracting the best operators in the business.

Though the benefits of keeping Oftedal’s fleet of equipment current are many, there is a delicate balancing act between upgrading or purchasing new equipment and staying within operating budgets.

Oftedal maintains an inventory of nearly 1,000 pieces of equipment. From dozers to motor graders, scrapers, haul trucks, excavators, front-end loaders, dump trucks, water trucks, and equipment transports, these workhorses can be expensive to maintain and even more costly to upgrade. In addition, the northern climate limits Oftedal’s productive season, so the equipment isn’t utilized as much as it would be in a warmer climate. “It’s difficult to pay for new machines if they can only be used for half the year at best,” Matt says, “But necessary.”

Matt and his team keep their eyes open and their ears to the ground to ensure that they know about the latest advances and the newest technology available, reading trade publications and watching others in the industry. They also rely on several trusted equipment dealers to keep them informed when new equipment becomes available.

When it comes to the heavy civil construction industry and installing underground utilities, you’re only as good as your people and your equipment. And Oftedal makes sure to invest in both!