4 ways telematics can help you stay compliant & plan for the future
by Willy Schlacks
October 24, 2017

With the December 18, 2017, deadline for the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate swiftly approaching, many construction businesses are scrambling to integrate processes to achieve compliance.

As a quick refresher, the ELD rule, passed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in early 2016 mandates fleet owners recording hours of service (HOS) to install ELDs in their commercial motor vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds.

With the investment of compliance technology inevitable, contractors and fleets owners should use this as an opportunity to adopt a fully connected jobsite. A telematics platform can help achieve just that.

Rather than “spot-treating” this new mandate with a traditional ELD solution, the following are four reasons a telematics platform could help improve compliance now and provide overall success later.

1. Seamless Compliance

A telematics system allows you to effortlessly comply with the ELD mandate. By simply installing telematics on each of your assets, you can digitally track and record hours of service (HOS) to meet compliance requirements.

You’re probably wondering, this is what an ELD does, so why not just use a traditional solution?

The ELD mandate is just one of the numerous requirements the construction industry faces, calling for a solution that offers more than just logging hours. For example, telematics also helps you stay compliant with the increasing number of emissions regulations such as IFTA. Each state and district within that state has their own rules, making it difficult to ensure compliance as equipment moves across jobsites in different locations.

Additionally, telematics provides you hours and location information in real-time so you always know where your equipment is. An advanced telematics platform can also tie into your machine’s Controller Area Network (CAN) to give you valuable data, such as oil pressure, temperature, coolant, fuel levels, and more. This insight can help you remotely diagnose problems and monitor the health of your machine, helping you address inefficiencies and prevent costly failures.

2. Fleet Visibility

As a contractor or fleet owner, you may not feel like you have the time to invest in or learn a new technology like telematics that may mean changing processes and protocols you’ve been using for years. 

But adopting telematics technology goes beyond compliance. Telematics enables you to maximize profitability, tackle projects more efficiently and automate time-consuming reporting as a result of growing industry regulation. There are a lot of telematics providers to choose from but not all were built with construction and heavy equipment in mind. Selecting a telematics solution built specifically for contractors and construction fleets is key in making the switch a successful and beneficial one. 

You need data to work in the background to suggest powerful decisions without hassle. According to a recent survey, that’s why nearly one third of contractors already collect telematics data—and we can only expect this number to increase in the coming years. 

Telematics data provides more value to your business than just compliance. Telematics allows you to manage thousands of assets all in one place. Telematics also increases productivity, reduces costs and arms contractors and equipment owners with the data necessary to predict and prevent downtime and maintenance. 

3. Equipment Security

In 2014, law enforcement received 11,625 heavy-equipment theft reports and only 23 percent of that equipment was recovered. Additionally, the average annual cost of equipment theft is about $400 million, and in 2014, the average estimated value of a stolen piece of equipment was more than $46,000.

Telematics enhances security with the power of location data, ensuring equipment owners spend their time on the jobsite, not chasing down a stolen machine. In the event of theft, this data makes the piece of equipment immediately identifiable and easy to track.

New keypad technology integrated with telematics offers remote access to equipment and the ability to immediately lock down equipment from anywhere in real time using cloud-connected technology. Keypad technology also allows contractors to link access to geofences and working hours, so equipment is only operational when it’s supposed to be by authorized users only

4. Groundwork for the Future

Investing in telematics lays the foundation for automation in your business—the future of the construction industry. By aggregating large amounts of equipment data over long periods of time, telematics solutions help power artificial intelligence and the predictive analytics required for automation.

The industry has already seen telematics create safer work environments and smarter jobsites, but automation will proliferate more in controlled environments, such as mining, agriculture and off-highway construction vehicles. Unlike building construction sites, controlled work environments allow automated heavy equipment to operate with set procedures and with little deviance from task. For other segments of construction, full automation will take longer to proliferate because there are simply too many unpredictable elements, such as lack of project structure and compliance updates.

Although the construction industry is still years out from full automation, it’s smart for contractors and fleet owners to integrate telematics technology now to be ahead of the curve when automation is here.

With the deadline for the ELD mandate right around the corner, now is the time to consider solutions that not only keep you compliant, but improve your business in the long run.

Soon enough, it will be imperative to collect data from all operations—not just HOS. This calls for a telematics solution to fully connect your jobsite, and prepare your business for the future of the construction industry.