The advent of onboard recording technology serves as a valuable management tool. For example, the Machine Information Center (MIC) on Hitachi and John Deere excavators will log data for everything the excavator hydraulic system does in 15-minute increments.
"So if the owner of the company pulls the data off of the machine every 1,000 hours, it will tell him on a graph everything that operator has done with that machine as far as swinging, traveling, idling and digging," says Matthew Hendry, John Deere.
He adds, "It can be used as a really good management tool. Say you pull the data after a guy has been on a big excavation job. He is loading trucks. After that job, there are over 250 hours of excavator data to look at. That data shows the excavator idled 35% of the time. That tells me two things. One, the excavator didn't have enough trucks, so he was waiting for trucks. Two, he might have had too big a machine for the job.
"Maybe on the next bid they can adjust things," he continues. "It is a great tool for managing a machine, but it is a history."