"You do not have to report a stolen piece of equipment, if you have your device's vFence turned on," Baillie explains. "Once the equipment goes out of this virtual fence, a silent alarm goes off. That alarm is sent to the 24/7 response center, which then calls the equipment owner. Chances are if it's 3 in the afternoon and the alarm goes off, the owner just rented it and forgot to turn the alarm off. If it's 3 in the morning, there's a good chance the equipment is being stolen. If the alarm is a true alarm, the owner need not worry. The response center contacts and works directly with the local law enforcement authorities to recover their equipment."
In addition to recovering stolen equipment, Baillie says small businesses should consider using Longview Advantage's asset management features to extend the life of their equipment and generate more revenue. He says monitoring ensures the equipment is maintained and serviced at proper intervals so it lasts longer and is less costly to keep in the field. Tracking engine hours reveals exactly how long a customer has been using a machine. This ensures more accurate invoicing and less billing disputes with the renter.
Longview's new Advantage Series offers even more machine management capabilities with enhanced diagnostics and sensor reading options to help the small business manager be more efficient.
A return on minimal investment
John Peters, president of Golden Empire Equipment-Heavy Equipment Rentals, debated for about a year before investing in GlobalTRACS from QUALCOMM, based in San Diego, CA. Although other businesses near Bakersfield, CA, have been victims of equipment theft, Peters has been fortunate not to have any of his equipment stolen. Initially, he wasn't sure if he needed his equipment to be monitored with the help of computers and mobile communications technology. Looking back, he says the only mistake he made is not making the investment a year or two sooner.
GlobalTRACS collects, transmits and manages equipment data on demand or at user-defined intervals. QUALCOMM's suite of equipment management solutions includes automatic GPS positioning, automatic engine hours reporting and street-level location mapping, virtual security fence configuration with boundary alerts to equipment owners and critical machine health monitoring. Data from GlobalTRACS can be integrated into a company's existing back-office system.
"A small business owner can look at this and wonder, 'Can we really afford a monitoring system?" says Peters, who has 10 employees and 45 pieces of equipment. "I can tell you now that we've gone down that path that you really can't afford not to do it. We really wrestled with the decision. It's a lot of money, but we have peace of mind. We know where our equipment is, when and how it's being used and whether it's working or not."
After he began using GlobalTRACS about a year ago, Peters found out his customers were using rental machines on weekends and holidays and rainy days, and disconnecting hour meters and not telling him. Knowing this was going on and proving it with GlobalTRACS, Peters has been able to capture revenue that he previously could not.
"We had contractors that didn't give us the exact truth," he says. "We were never able to challenge them before without accusing them of being untruthful. Now when we have differences of opinion or disputes, we're able to pull out GlobalTRACS and show what time they started, whether the machine was on or off at lunch, what time they stopped working, what days they worked, and any of the billing issues at that time are gone."
Two disputes shortly after Peters added GlobalTRACS GPS devices to his equipment led to him getting a return on his initial investment in two and a half months.
"In one case we had somebody who had a piece of equipment at almost a thousand dollars a day and they claimed they didn't use it for two whole weeks," he says. "We were able to prove that they had used it for 42 hours a week and they had to pay for that."
Knowing how many hours the machine really has been used allows timely preventive maintenance to keep the machine up and running, and extend the resale value of a machine, says Larry Cleary, senior director and general manager for QUALCOMM's construction equipment group.
If Peters wants to know when an excavator needs routine maintenance, he can get the answer down to number of hours until the next service. Because he knows when customers are not using a machine, he can plan to service it when it's convenient for the customer.