Telematics systems combine GPS technology, on-board diagnostics and monitoring sensors to track, log and report data via cellular networks on the performance and operation of your construction equipment. Data from telematics systems are typically accessed through a web portal and can provide data on a number of machine systems. Common data points include GPS location, fuel consumption, idle times and machine alerts. Equipment manufacturers are installing telematics systems as standard equipment on an increasing number of their product offerings each year.
Equipment owners using telematics data are reaping benefits such as improved productivity and reduced operating costs. Here are the top 10 benefits of using telematics systems to monitor and control your heavy equipment:
Telematics data can show you how much each machine is being used on your active sites. By analyzing telematics data you can determine if you are allocating too much or too little equipment to a jobsite. Perhaps you have an excavator that has been sitting at a project site unused for weeks that could be redeployed to another site. On the other hand, maybe you don’t have enough equipment onsite and your operators are overworking your machines in order to keep the project on schedule.
Using telematics data to understand exactly where and how much your equipment is being used. Over time, this data will help you realize whether you have underused assets that you can divest or whether it’s time to invest in more equipment. By adjusting your fleet size to meet your needs you can reduce equipment rental costs if you don’t have enough equipment or reduce ownership costs if you have too much equipment.
Maintenance & Repair Schedules
Telematics technologies continue to evolve, providing even more data points to equipment owners. Sensors and onboard scales are being incorporated into the design of new machines capturing and reporting data from a number of systems. Everything from fuel consumption to fault codes can easily be monitored.
Integrating the telematics data into a maintenance management program you can better schedule and perform preventive maintenance and repairs. Accurately tracking engine and working hours can ensure you aren’t pulling equipment out of service too early or too late to perform preventive maintenance. Telematics systems can also be used to alert you when equipment isn’t operating at peak performance, which could be an indication that a component is failing and needs to be replaced. Identifying problems early can help extend the life of your equipment and reduce repair and labor costs.
Telematics data can help you improve the efficiency of your equipment operators and identify bad habits like prolonged idling time. Speeding, erratic movements and overloading a machine are all safety hazards that can lead to rollovers and equipment tipping. By monitoring telematics data, you can identify operators who are overworking or misusing equipment. Correcting this behavior can lead to reduced labor costs, avoid accelerated wear on your equipment and result in safer worksites.
With GPS tracking and geo-fencing you can be alerted the moment your equipment leaves the jobsite. You can also use time-fencing to send alerts when equipment is being operated outside or scheduled work hours, which could indicate someone is trying to make off with your equipment. Some systems even allow you to remotely shut down the engine if unauthorized use is detected or prevent it from being started during set hours. With telematics and GPS technology you can track and locate all your equipment from one location so in the event equipment does go missing you can provide the local authorities with its location for faster recovery.
Reduce Fuel Consumption
Reducing fuel consumption is one of the biggest money savers telematics systems have been proven to solve. By monitoring idling time versus work time on equipment you can identify which machines are being left on without any work being done and specify which operators are responsible for wasting fuel. Implementing best practices to reduce idling times will result in better fuel efficiency. Reducing idle times can also extend engine life and reduce repair and maintenance costs.
Fuel Tax Refunds
The federal government and states collect excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel. These taxes are used to fund road construction and highway maintenance projects. Businesses that use fuel for off-road purposes, such as construction equipment, are eligible for refunds on the federal level and by many of the state governments. Telematics data can GPS tracking data along with fuel consumption information to easily provide records of how much fuel was used off-road. Note: Tax credits or refunds are not given if using red-dyed diesel fuel meant for off-road use since it is not taxed in the first place.
Some insurance providers will reduce or eliminate deductibles or provide discounts if your equipment has GPS tracking with geo-fencing alert capabilities installed. Depending on the size of your fleet, this can result in huge savings on your insurance costs. Monitoring and correcting unsafe operating behavior by your employees will reduce the number of accidents on your jobsites, which could also help save on insurance costs.
Using telematics data can lead to more accurate job costing and estimates. Telematics can provide you with machine hours and fuel usage to determine operating costs that can be combined with labor costs for more accurate billing. Analyzing past data on previous projects will help you better predict how much a specific task or job will cost on future projects. This will result in more accurate estimates and lead to submitting more competitive bids.
Manage Operating Expenses
It’s important to keep track of the operating costs of your equipment since many owners determine the lifecycle of a machine as being when the operating costs begin to exceed ownership costs. Fuel consumption, preventive maintenance, operator wages, repairs tire/track costs all make up operating costs. Telematics data can help you identify areas where you can reduce operating costs whether it be by reducing idling time or correcting operator behavior to extend component lifecycles and reduce the frequency of preventive maintenance.
Having a better understand of how, when and where your construction equipment is being used can lead to increased productivity on the jobsite. Operator performance can be coached when equipment isn’t being operated under normal parameters. Overworking or underutilizing equipment can be better managed by understanding telematics data. Know where each piece of equipment is at all times and how much each one is being used will allow you to better deploy your equipment to the sites where they are most needed.
Telematics will also allow you to schedule preventive maintenance when needed and avoid pulling equipment out of service too early, or worse, too late when costlier repairs might be required.