Why become a Certified Equipment Manager?

By Karen ScallyMarch 17, 2021

As a heavy equipment mechanic, Greg Wiens took advantage of the many training opportunities available for the profession to hone his skills.

So when he was promoted to fleet maintenance manager at SMS Equipment, he started searching for applicable courses for his new role.

“The place that I found the best fit — that was the most direct at fleet maintenance managers and just fleet maintenance in general — was the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP),” Wiens says.

He says that service technicians stepping into fleet management cannot rely only on their equipment knowledge, because there is so much more to the job than that.

“We’re more asset managers than maintenance managers and that requires another skill set,” he says.

Wiens says SMS Equipment, a dealer that carries mostly Komatsu equipment with branches throughout Canada and also has a rental fleet, supported him pursuing his Certified Equipment Manager (CEM) and going through the IGNITE Learning Lab, which he did at an AEMP Connect conference that preceded CONEXPO-CON/AGG. He says he spent a couple months leading up to IGNITE studying the Career Equipment Fleet Manager Manual and materials.

Today’s service technicians who step into fleet management cannot rely only on their equipment knowledge in order to succeed

Not only was he able to kill two birds with one stone by attending the course and visiting the trade show to meet with his vendors, Wiens says he found the peer-to-peer interaction during training particularly valuable. He realized he wasn’t alone in many of the challenges he faced and common solutions often existed.

The exam itself is quite rigorous, and Wiens says he didn’t pass the first time.

“I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was,” Wiens says. “It gave me a good judgement of where my weaknesses were, and where I needed to go back and study some more.”

Though he had years of maintenance experience under his belt, Wiens says he was less familiar with the financial side of equipment management. Currently, SMS Equipment is shifting how they lifecycle their machines, and Wiens says he has been able to apply his CEM training to the budgeting.

“When you’re a mechanic, you’re not always aware of all the numbers that are in the background,” Wiens says. “I look at these numbers now on the ROI and the revenue of the machine, and I see the repairs — and I understand that maybe this is a machine we need, even though it’s not at that point in its lifecycle to start talking to management about getting rid of, because it’s really going to be an issue.”

The insights and materials he received from obtaining his CEM is something Wiens says he relies on regularly.

“The manual is a great reference book,” he says. “I think the information in there is second to none.”

Karen Scally is a journalist who has covered the construction industry for over a decade and a current contributor to the blog at Gearflow.com, which is an online marketplace for construction parts, tools, and equipment. This article was adapted from its original version, “How to Prepare Now for Future of Electric Construction Equipment,” on the Gearflow.com blog.

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