Equipment manufacturers have made many technology advances in machine intelligence and communication. A good example is telematics.
Types of real-time data collected and how it is transmitted has rapidly changed since telematics was first introduced. In fact, machine communication systems have evolved to the point where information can be transmitted on a regular schedule — from fuel usage to machine location — making this a tremendous asset to you and your company.
With all this information, how do you know where to start? By following these steps, you can overcome telematics overload and start using the valuable data reports to help improve your productivity and your bottom line.
Start with the basics
Most construction equipment, including crawler excavators, is equipped with a modem. The modem, furnished with a cellular and/or satellite antenna, collects data from sensors on the machine and sends the data from the machine to a central database via cellular service — or satellites when cellular service is not available — making it readily accessible, even in remote locations via a web-enabled interface. The data produced about one machine or an entire fleet can be viewed by you or your fleet manager. You and your fleet managers can log in to a website to view the following important data about one machine or an entire fleet of construction equipment:
- Fleet status
- Machine location
- Operating hours
- Fuel usage
- Engine idle versus work time
- Error codes
- Engine/hydraulic oil temperatures
- Tonnage hauled
Define your needs
The information gleaned from a telematics report can seem endless and may be overwhelming. How do you take this information and make it actionable data? The best way is to prioritize your needs and determine what data is useful for you and your business.
How often is your machine being used on active jobsites? Telematics data can show you exactly where and how often your equipment is being used. By analyzing this data, you can determine if you are underusing your assets or whether it is time to invest in adding to your equipment fleet. Adjusting your fleet size to meet your needs can also help reduce equipment rental costs.
Create accurate bids
If you are looking to fine tune your bids and create accurate estimates on future projects, telematics data can be beneficial. Telematics can provide you with machine hours and fuel usage to determine operating costs and labor costs for more accurate billing.
Improve operator performance
Data collected through telematics equipment can be used to solve business challenges. Have your operators adopted bad habits, like prolonged idle time or improper use of equipment on the jobsite? By monitoring this data, you can correct operator behavior to promote a more productive and safer jobsite. You can also identify areas where you can reduce operating costs to extend component lifecycles and reduce the frequency of unplanned maintenance.
Integrating telematics data into your maintenance management program allows you to look ahead to see when a machine is due for its next maintenance appointment. In addition, telematics can give you historical details about the machine’s maintenance schedule as well as can communicate fault, error and warning codes through the website.
Your dealership may be able to diagnose the problem without physically being in the same location as the machine for faster response time. Not only will this save unnecessary machine downtime, it reduces travel time for your dealership’s service department. When a technician does need to visit your jobsite, he or she will be better prepared to fix your issue because of telematics data shared with the dealership.
Track fuel usage
Fuel is one of the most expensive operational expenses. With the help of telematics and data, you can make improvements to equipment fuel efficiency and reduce diesel fuel usage. The system monitors equipment idle time — long periods when the machine should be turned off instead of burning valuable diesel fuel — helping you identify machines that are working under or over capacity. Reducing idle times can also extend engine life and reduce repair and maintenance costs. Also, you have the ability to monitor power mode operation and adjust the power mode to do the same work while using less fuel.
Reduce equipment theft
Equipment location may be the most important data point for you and your business. The moment your machine leaves the jobsite, you can use telematics to keep a close eye on your machine and see where it’s been operated with a history report. You can create a geo-fence or an invisible/virtual boundary through the machine’s GPS system. If the machine leaves the virtual fence, it will send a notification and can alert the authorities about possible equipment theft.
Additionally, a time fence or curfew on each machine can be created. If the machine is operated outside of working hours, an email or SMS text notification can be sent to you. This helps to prevent unauthorized operation and potential vandalism to the machine and jobsite.
Schedule a demo
Telematics systems are unique to each equipment manufacturer. The best way to understand telematics is to schedule a demo with your local equipment dealer who has the knowledge to explain in detail how to use the system.
Most new construction equipment sold today comes with a free subscription for a period of time, which means you should take advantage of the complimentary service. If you do not have a newer piece of equipment, ask your dealer if you can rent a newer machine equipped with telematics.
With telematics, you can turn real-time data into actionable information. As a result you can be better equipped to make smarter decisions about how to manage your fleet, increase your efficiency and help lower operating costs.
This article was written by Allison Grettenberg, Strategic Communications, on behalf of Doosan Infracore North America LLC, which markets the Doosan brand of products that includes crawler excavators, wheel excavators, mini excavators, wheel loaders, articulated dump trucks, material handlers, log loaders and attachments. For more information on Doosan products, visit na.DoosanEquipment.com.