New Construction Tech: Never Let a Caterpillar Crawl Away
I’ll confess. After taking my kid to the mall, I’ve had a little trouble finding my truck. Amazing how many vehicles look the same when you’re completely lost and cussing up a storm. That’s when you wish you drove a taxi-yellow Hummer.
I think you’ll agree, when a construction company can’t remember where it’s yellow iron was parked, it’s even more embarrassing. A guy can’t walk up and down every site asking, “You haven’t seen my bulldozer, have you?” But we all know, it happens.
Have no fear, the future is here! As with timesheets and training videos, technology has crept into this area of the construction business, too. Actually, it’s kinda fascinating.
Show and Tell: Meet Telematics
If you’ve purchased or replaced a piece of heavy equipment in the last decade, it probably came with VisionLink, a state-of-the-art asset management, and fleet productivity system geared toward the construction industry.
VisionLink technology, according to their website, “leverages equipment telematics data, to give contractors a more holistic view of their fleet, assets and site productivity for better decision-making and increased profitability.”
That’s a helluva mission statement and busybusy helps make it happen! Basically, telematics takes all your equipment information and gives it to you, which is why, for equipment owners, it’s one of the top construction industry trends. When paired with another app (previously mentioned) called busybusy™, employees can use their phone or laptop to see when the dozers are dozing, what project the dozer is on and how many hours the operator(s) has been dozing on that project.
busybusy™, with the aid of VisionLink, combines three things: GPS technology, on-board diagnostics, and monitoring sensors. Using cellular networks (telecommute), the system tracks, logs and reports data (information) on the performance and operation of construction equipment.
The Benefits Are Building
According to construction industry news, equipment owners using telematics data are recognizing benefits such as increased productivity and reduced operating costs.
Here are 6 specific ways:
- Theft Reduction – You can view all your equipment on a map. GPS tracking alerts the minute something leaves the job site. When a rig is being operated outside of scheduled work hours, you can remotely shut down the engine or control the hours it can be in use.
- Operator Performance – View current and past equipment operators to identify bad habits like prolonged idling time, overworking or misusing equipment. Speeding, erratic movements and overloading a machine are safety hazards that can lead to rollovers and equipment tipping. Correcting this behavior reduces labor costs, extends wear and promotes safer worksites.
- Maintenance & Repair – When a sensor goes off, it’s a good indication your equipment isn’t operating at peak performance. Maybe a component is failing and needs to be replaced. Accurately tracking engine data and working hours can ensure equipment isn’t taken out of service too early or too late to perform preventive maintenance. This can all extend the life of equipment and reduce repair and labor costs.
- Fuel Consumption – Identifying which machines have been left on but aren’t moving and which operators are wasting fuel are valuable tracking features. Implementing coaching to reduce idling times will impact fuel efficiency.
- Asset Allocation – Allocating too much or too little equipment to a jobsite translates right to the bottom line. If a crane sits idle for weeks, it could have been used elsewhere. A shortage of equipment, on the other hand, may force workers to push machines to meet a deadline. Adjusting fleet size according to needs also reduces rental costs.
- Job Bids – Getting a true idea of project costs requires accurately tracking equipment hours, fuel usage and associated labor costs. Analyzing data on previous projects helps to predict how much a specific task or job will cost going forward. Accurate estimates facilitate competitive bids.
To summarize, the busybusy™ equipment app offers complete transparency, so you can see true project costs to realize greater profits. Pinpoint each piece of equipment at all times and observe how much each one is being used. Deploy equipment to the sites where it is most needed. Improve operator performance when equipment isn’t being used optimally. Obtain preventive maintenance to avoid pulling equipment out of service too early or too late when repairs will cost more.
Like any technical terminology, telematics can seem complicated. I’ve tried it and I like it. (Now if I could just get it to work at the mall.)
Growing your construction business means discovering your data and using it. The busybusy™ app is your most important asset for staying competitive. Before another beam is erected, take time for a demo today.