Let's say that a particular job is requiring 12 bucket loads per truck to haul away debris based on real-time data available online via the fleet tracking system's interface, instead of the six loads calculated by the estimator. That information can alert the manager that the job is not going according to plan. Perhaps the operator is not hauling a full bucket, or the transport hauler is supplying a 50-cubic-yard trailer instead of the larger capacity specified on the job order.
Managers can then intervene to get the job back on track and prevent needless machine usage that burns excess fuel. Without fleet tracking, the problem would not be uncovered for at least a few weeks, literally letting gallons of diesel go up in smoke.
Savings #4: Better Routing
Although off-road vehicles technically don't need directions to get where they're going, the heavy haul transport trucks that deliver them from Point A to Point B do. Here again, fleet tracking helps conserve fuel by ensuring that on-road equipment follows the most efficient route. For some systems, that includes the ability to route assets based on weight and height restrictions on particular roads, providing the fringe benefit of eliminating fines for non-compliance with road regulations.
Savings #5: Timely Maintenance
Fleet tracking can also help reduce your environmental footprint, and simultaneously trim costs, by ensuring that preventive maintenance is performed at the proper intervals. Unnecessary expenses for oil, filters, tires and other items can be eliminated, while also keeping those items out of the waste stream, by minimizing premature servicing. Conversely, machine breakdowns and associated downtime can be avoided by minimizing maintenance delays.
This is possible in part because accurate engine hours' information is automatically transmitted from the machine to the fleet tracking system and its built-in maintenance module, which continually updates maintenance schedules to ensure that equipment will be serviced at the appropriate time. There is no longer a need to rely on manual readings or 90- or 120-day maintenance timelines that fail to take actual equipment usage into account.
In addition, anti-idling initiatives enabled by these systems can significantly reduce waste oil by delaying oil changes as well as reducing idling-related soot buildup. If you are on a 250-hour preventive maintenance cycle, cutting 20, 30 or 50 idle hours per month can extend the interval between oil changes for a week or two.
Green Dollar Signs
At the end of the day, the 'green' value of fleet tracking comes not only in the eco-friendly sense but in the ability to monitor every bulldozer, excavator, crane or other machine to be sure that it is pulling its weight financially.
"A 10,000-pound breaker costs $300,000 new. I need to know how much it's utilized, and I don't want to have to rely on the field to tell me. If the operator says he only used a hammer for 10 hours and he actually used it for 100 hours, I'm losing a lot of money," said Gilbert. "Whether it's tracking that usage or equipment idling, the virtue of fleet tracking is that you get true utilization on equipment. It's one of the best tools I've found for getting the most out of our fleet."
Renaat ver Eecke is Vice President and General Manager of Navman Wireless North America, a provider of GPS-based fleet tracking solutions that make it possible to offer on- and off-road vehicle tracking from a single interface. He can be reached at 847-832-2363 or Renaat@NavmanWireless.com.