How to optimize your fleet management approach & add value to every project
by Craig E. Cutting
October 5, 2016

Technology has changed the way we analyze and approach business operations. When used effectively, the data available today can be as much a competitive advantage as the expertise we bring to jobsites. Key among those technologies are heavy equipment telematics systems that provide real-time visibility across entire fleets of machines. A recent survey conducted by Caterpillar, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and the Association of Equipment Management Professionals found that only half of equipment managers are using telematics.

Additionally, their use is limited to assessing a single parameter, such as idle time. Considering the vast amounts of data that can be tracked and analyzed by tapping into a fleet’s telematics systems, it is easy to become overwhelmed and apprehensive about getting started. Making use of the world of information that is available is hugely valuable to a construction company’s bottom line. Listed below are several key benefits that a telematics system is capable of offering.

Machine & Fleet Utilization

Benchmarking fuel burn, idle time and operator techniques are just some of the ways an equipment manager can improve the performance of the entire fleet. The technology that is already available makes it possible and easy to view the entire fleet—or individual machines—in order to make informed decisions.

Tracking & Improving Fleet Productivity

You can quickly access information that helps you track and analyze everything from a single data source in an individual piece of equipment to the productivity of the entire fleet. Those insights will help you identify where efficiency improvements are needed to improve cycle times and productivity, manage where material is and where it is going, receive real-time information and make informed decisions on project goals that reduce rework.

Managing Your Equipment

Maximum uptime is the goal of every construction crew. To avoid unscheduled downtime and keep projects profitable, telematics systems ensure a constant flow of data to keep operators and owners informed. From automatic alerts of critical issues to tracking maintenance schedules, having a line of sight to equipment performance is key to running a smooth and successful operation.

Taking the Guesswork out of Competitive Bidding

The more you know about your fleet, the easier it is to anticipate costs. Having fleet productivity information at your fingertips allows more competitive bidding estimates by understanding machine utilization from previous projects. This information allows companies to gauge what they can or cannot do and provide accurate scopes of work and estimates.

Attaining Visibility through a Mobile Interface

Insight into equipment fleet statistics can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, and provides valuable information that can be acted on quickly. Detailed data can be accessed through a mobile device or tablet, allowing decisions to be made remotely.

Performing Asset Tracking

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, there were 11,486 heavy equipment thefts in 2013, an increase of 5 percent over 2012. This is a primary reason why insurance costs are so high. It is essential for managers to know hours worked and the locations of their assets. The telematics technology that exists in fleets allow real-time access to see where machines are and when they are active.

Managing a Mixed Fleet

Most construction company fleets include machines from a wide variety of manufacturers, and each of those OEMs has its own proprietary telematics system.

Executing Fluids Analysis

Knowing what is going on inside the machine is imperative to prevent breakdowns and maintenance issues. Telematics provide information to help customers make maintenance decisions, reduce owning and operating costs and maximize component life based on real-time fluids analysis. Many dealers take it a step further by offering customers enrollment options for services to keep equipment operating at peak performance.

Installing Digital Switches

When the data that is available through standard telematics is just not enough, another solution offered consists of switches that can be installed to measure or monitor desired parameters on the machine. These switches can provide greater insight to help you make informed decisions.

The bottom line is that telematics systems provide fleet managers with data that has endless uses. The benefits are too powerful to ignore. Telematics systems let your machines communicate with you to run your business more efficiently.