OEC is a critical metric, as it is a leading indicator of fleet size and performance. When used in conversation, OEC is used as a primary indicator of business size and potential. For example, one may say “My OEC is $50 million”, which refers to the cost to replace their entire fleet with new assets.
Often, a professional equipment manager will also speak to the number of assets in their fleet, although that becomes less clear of a metric due to small assets that are less trackable and may have very low OEC, comparatively.
It is a critical way to measure the relative size and value of equipment-centric businesses, especially the larger rental suppliers, like United Rentals, Sunbelt Rentals and HERC Rentals.
Often, in their public financial statements, the leading indicator of enterprise value is the Original Equipment Cost. Below, through the 2019 Annual Report from United Rentals, you can see how OEC is communicated as a critical financial performance KPI (just after revenue, actually).
Contractors, and more specifically their equipment managers, use OEC less publicly than rental suppliers. It is a key indicator on their balance sheets, but often that information is private. Regardless, it is an indicator of the relative strategy of a contractor and how they resource their equipment utilization need.
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