In addition, equipment tracking systems eliminate busy work. "Your job foremen are out there trying to build something. Going around getting this data is something they have to do, but not something they always do well," says McCrady. With equipment tracking, the data comes in an automated fashion. "It doesn't require someone to walk around, find out what the hours are on a machine and report it."
"Part of protecting an asset is knowing about the machine health and being able to maintain it on a scheduled interval," says McCrady.
Equipment tracking systems allow you to streamline service operations by using actual captured operating hours to plan PM functions. "Field service operations are more streamlined, since each technician knows the exact location of each piece of equipment that needs servicing and exactly what needs to be done," says Bill Ritzhaupt, marketing manager, Teletrac Inc. "This saves a great deal of time on large jobsites."
Zachry Construction has used its equipment tracking system to optimize maintenance efficiency. "GlobalTRACS makes it easy to pinpoint the equipment's engine-hour data, as well as its exact location, so our maintenance staff doesn't spend time searching for equipment," says Monnot. "They know exactly where each piece of equipment is and when it needs servicing, which is vital when you have many projects running at the same time that share the same equipment."
The history of any piece of equipment is also right at your fingertips. "You can, at any time, single in on any given piece and see its historical operation," says Nicoletti.
Downtime is minimized by the use of instant alerts if engines begin to overheat, oil pressure drops or air filters plug. "If a threatened condition arises on the machine, someone can get a call right away before it goes to failure," says Nicoletti.
Analyze the data
Once an equipment tracking system has collected the desired data, it can be converted into reports to help you pinpoint areas that require further attention.
"By using the detailed data delivered in a wide range of management reports, contractors can pinpoint any number of operational functions and analyze them for more efficient asset allocation, jobsite planning and individual driver and equipment operator performance," says Ritzhaupt. "Our system delivers all of the information via the Internet... Teletrac Fleet Director also interfaces with many popular back-office accounting, maintenance and routing software packages for added versatility."
If properly analyzed and applied, the data generated can make a significant difference in your operation.
"A random survey of Teletrac customers that was conducted in early 2007 showed the following average results: 13% fuel savings, 15% overtime savings, 13% fewer wasted miles, 12% reduction of unauthorized usage and 12% increase in productivity," says Ritzhaupt. Of course, each operation will experience variances in savings and productivity depending upon their particular circumstances.
Ultimately, the accurate, real-time information provided by equipment tracking can help you get a better handle on your true costs.
"Being able to manage their performance and cost metrics has been a real advantage for contractors that have adopted the technology," McCrady comments. "One of the things they tout is that in future bids, they have much better detail about the machines they need, how many hours they are going to put on them and the kind of timelines it takes to go through a job of a similar nature. So they are being a little more competitive in the bidding process because they have actual data."