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Con Expo’s Tech Takeover: Why Connectivity is a Priority

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

Technology stole the show at this year’s Con Expo. Conversations on- and off-stage acknowledged construction companies see technology as central to their ability to stay competitive. So did the large presence of solution providers. It was the first year for the Tech Experience Pavilion. Some technologies demoed, such as drones and autonomous vehicles, are still a way off from being a core tactic for the average construction company. Others, like telematics, should already be part of everyday operations.

What’s interesting is the gap even in GPS fleet tracking software adoption is huge. Some companies use (or are at least piloting) those solutions, but many still rely on pen and paper or are just starting to move to electronic processes. 

Connecting a fleet’s on-site activities and business operations is a huge focus for the industry. Telematics is an enabler of this, and as AEMP has said, it’s not a matter of if a construction company adopts telematics, but when. Almost everyone who stopped by our booth was looking for some aspect of connectivity. Here are three use cases to start with:

Create a single view of data to improve asset utilization: With a mixed fleet and multiple job sites, there’s a lot of data to work with. But it’s often being collected disparately. Information overload is a common bottleneck for contractors and fleet managers.

Data that used to be siloed by OEMs can now be centralized by third party telematics solutions, which make the data easy to act on with reporting and alerts at the machine, jobsite and fleet level. An aggregate view of asset use is key to optimizing operations. If you can’t connect the dots, you miss trends like jobsite congestion or underutilized assets that can be moved to a different site to complete a project faster or sent in for maintenance while they’re not needed.

Third party telematics solutions also make it easy to communicate with your fleet from the office. With features such as geofencing, for example, you have the ability to see how long your assets are on a jobsite and how long they have been idling, all from the comfort of your office.

Integrating back-office systems: Integrating ERP systems with telematics solutions gives managers and owners insight into how onsite asset use and telematics data translates into billing and operating costs. It also lets departments aside from fleet, like accounting, HR and customer service, improve their workflows and decisions.

If you have the two systems, but they aren’t integrated, you either manually enter the telematics data into the ERP – a menial and time-intensive task – or miss out on business-side insight, like accurate asset lists as well as maintenance cost and machine/equipment lifecycle planning. It takes multiple systems to run a fleet, and it takes integrating those systems to run a fleet efficiently.

Preparing for the ELD mandate & meeting compliance requirements: We also heard from a lot of business owners at Con Expo that the ELD mandate is a big concern. If you have on-road vehicles as well as off-road assets in your fleet, this is a reality you need to prepare for. At Teletrac Navman, our telematics solution is already helping several construction companies – of all sizes – ready for these impending compliance requirements with built-in hours of service (HOS) tracking and proactive alerts for operators/drivers to prevent violations.

Fleet management solutions ensure compliance with other restrictions and regulations, too. Records of equipment usage can help you stay within noise curfews, for example, and geofencing ensures your operators stay within any confines of the site the location – or lets you quickly correct any breaches.

Telematics is laying the groundwork for future advancements – like autonomous vehicles and drones – but investing in a solution will also have a much more immediate impact on efficient operations and asset utilization. If you’re in the lower half of that delta in telematics adoption, it’s time to ditch pen and paper and go digital.

To learn more about monitoring vehicles and tracking off-road assets, visit: Equipment Management

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