Telematics devices simplify construction equipment management, allowing site managers to easily track their equipment and automate oversight.
Telematics uses telecommunications and informatics technologies to connect vehicles and equipment and provide insights about them. It opens up many new possibilities in construction, such as remote vehicle tracking, geofencing, equipment usage monitoring and equipment status checks.
These functions can prevent theft and loss, reduce costs and downtime, and simplify equipment maintenance. How can companies make the most of telematics to improve oversight and productivity?
Simplifying Construction Equipment Management
Remote monitoring is one of the most useful features of telematics for construction equipment management. Telematics can track and report equipment usage metrics, such as downtime vs. uptime, which machines are used most and where they are utilized around job sites. This information can be invaluable in improving efficiency and productivity.
Downtime for a single piece of equipment can cost thousands of dollars. Reducing it becomes a costly challenge when difficult or impossible to track. Telematics can reveal how much individual items are using something, highlighting what is experiencing excessive downtime. These metrics also tell site managers which machines are most in demand on-site and likely to need maintenance.
Additionally, telematics can monitor an entire fleet and the data can show operators exactly how often and how long each machine is running. Having access to this data can help them determine if equipment is being under or over utilized. Machines and attachments that are used more frequently, will require more maintenance and upkeep.
For example, usage data might reveal that a skid steer is being used frequently to move materials on site or that its attachment is showing signs of wear. To improve the lifetime value of the machine, investing in another one to split the load of hauling materials would be a valuable addition.
Monitoring equipment using telematics can also reveal inefficient fuel consumption and unnecessary standby time. Tracking these metrics allows site managers to minimize idle time and fuel consumption, reducing project costs and delays. Plus, data from telematics devices makes budgeting for equipment management easier since site managers have information to base their cost estimates on.
Equipment usage monitoring can even improve site worker productivity. Tracking who is using a certain piece of equipment and how they are doing so lets site managers identify workers who are utilizing it improperly or inefficiently.
For instance, telematics data might show that a particular forklift seems to be running for long periods without a corresponding jump in progress in that area of the site. This could indicate that the driver may need additional training or might be leaving the vehicle idling. Telematics gives site managers the data to recognize cases like these and resolve them so they don’t continue to expend time and resources unnecessarily.
Remote Equipment Tracking and Geofencing
Telematics can help project managers organize their job sites for maximum efficiency while simplifying equipment management. One of the most frustrating issues on any construction site is tracking down a machine someone has moved or lost. Telematics allows management to remotely track their items’ location using GPS.
There are a few benefits to this feature. Geofencing and GPS tracking prevent theft. Geofencing involves using GPS or RFID technology to create an invisible digital border for a device, which is activated when it enters or exits that zone. Site managers can set up geofences that trigger an alert when a piece of equipment leaves a certain area. It can easily be tracked down if it’s stolen or removed from the site without authorization.
Remote tracking also makes equipment management on-site much more efficient, eliminating the time wasted searching for misplaced items. Site managers can even use remote tracking data to see where certain machines are used most around a job site. With this knowledge, they can set up storage points in convenient locations, streamlining and minimizing movement.
Dealing with equipment breakdowns can be one of the most stressful parts of construction equipment management. Telematics can resolve this issue by preventing problems, downtime and expensive repairs. Plus, telematics can make scheduling time for maintenance much less of a hassle.
Telematics can recognize when equipment needs maintenance through a process known as predictive or preventive maintenance. An alert is triggered when a machine’s performance leaves a certain threshold, telling site managers that it may need repairs. This way, items can be attended to before they break down and result in unexpected downtime.
Predictive maintenance often involves combining performance-tracking telematics devices with an AI algorithm that can constantly process and analyze the data in real-time. Algorithms like this are widely available today and make a great complement to telematics devices. The combination of technologies automates equipment condition monitoring, minimizing the downtime needed for checkups as well as the time required to manually monitor performance.
Rather than scheduling regular chunks of time for upkeep, repairs and tuneups can be ordered on a strictly as-needed basis using the data from the telematics devices. Predictive maintenance can save construction companies significant amounts of money and time. Research shows that maintenance and repairs make up the largest expense in the total cost of any piece of equipment. These expenses increase over its life span.
Implementing predictive maintenance using telematics allows project managers to catch equipment issues before they develop into costly breakdowns. This can save thousands of dollars that would need to be spent on replacement parts, the necessary repair time and the resulting downtime for the machinery itself.
Smart Construction Equipment Management
Telematics takes the guesswork and legwork out of construction equipment management. Site managers can use it to easily track and monitor their machines, preventing loss and ensuring maximum efficiency.
Using telematics to track equipment performance lets site managers ensure equipment is being used as efficiently as possible, minimizing downtime and fuel consumption. Plus, predictive maintenance prevents breakdowns and costly repair downtime while also maximizing the life span of each piece of equipment. Telematics can even help organize sites by showing where machines are most often used.
Telematics is the key to smart, efficient construction equipment management, resulting in cost savings, higher productivity and well-optimized work sites. The benefits of utilizing it are clear.
Emily Newton is an industrial journalist. As Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, she regularly covers how technology is changing the industry.