Analysis of interrelationships among excavator productivity modifying factors

Gary D. Holt (The Grenfell-Baines School of Architecture, Construction and Envirnonment, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
David Edwards (Department of Industrial Innovation, Birmingham City Business School, Birmingham, UK)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Publication date: 13 July 2015



Excavator productivity calculations embrace myriad variables, which in turn, can be modelled in several ways. A key productivity variable is operator competence (O c ) because this can impact on so many of the other variables. Earlier research has studied excavator productivity, but little has attempted to simultaneously model productivity variables in relation to O c . The purpose of this paper is to address the void in extant literature.


A numeric, theoretical analysis is undertaken using the Caterpillar® hydraulic excavator productivity model to estimate excavator production, given: first, variance in modifying factors based on derived maximum and minimum values; and second, variance resulting from linear calculations based on excavator operator competence.


Excavator productivity resulting from incremental variance of modifying factors in isolation is shown to be linear except, in the case of bucket payload. Simultaneous application of modifying variables results in a greater, curvilinear productivity trend; while it is demonstrated that quantification of key modifying factors can to a significant extent be related to operator competence.

Research limitations/implications

Findings add to productivity literature generally and to that of plant and equipment more specifically. Results will help productivity estimation of excavation in a practical sense while informing subsequent design of an empirical academic research of this problem.


Originality relates principally to determining modifying factor ranges and their analysis of simultaneous effect on each other, especially, as influenced on assumptions of operator competence.



Holt, G.D. and Edwards, D. (2015), "Analysis of interrelationships among excavator productivity modifying factors", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 64 No. 6, pp. 853-869.



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