Get More From Telematics By Letting Dealers Assist with Data Analysis

David Combs, Patten Cat, discusses how equipment dealers can assist in interpretation of data generated by telematics - and how contractors can reap the benefits.

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Information is power — but only if that information can be made meaningful to your business. A primary barrier to obtaining the full benefits of telematics technology has been the difficulty many find in analyzing the reams of data captured. The data’s value is only as good as your ability to translate it into relevant and actionable insight into your fleet’s operation and performance.

This is where your equipment dealer can help. “It’s critical to make sure that we are managing equipment by using this data for productivity, safety, as well as sustainability,” said David Combs, executive vice president, Patten Cat, during a panel discussion at the AEM/AED Forum 2017. His presentation encouraged dealers and equipment manufacturers in attendance to work more closely with customers to anticipate and better serve their digital needs.

 “One thing is clear: We must expand beyond the traditional iron business [we’ve embraced] for decades and embrace this digital footprint that’s upon us,” he emphasized. “As the world moves faster, we are going to need to keep up with it as dealers, increasing our tempo and the prioritization of digital offerings.”

There’s no question the construction industry is in the throes of a rapidly expanding digital environment. “Back in the early to mid-’90s, the only information that was available was basically... a few simple diagnostics on the engine,” Combs noted. Yet, even then, customers were willing to fly dealer reps in to assist with data interpretation in order to identify potential cost savings through improvements in fuel economy, idle time reduction, operator performance, etc.

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The far broader data generated by today’s electronically controlled engines and connected systems makes such data interpretation infinitely more complex. There is greater potential for contractors to become overwhelmed with information, which can result in the most powerful data being overlooked.

This is where the dealer can step in. “Nobody knows our equipment better than we do… The customer still relies on us to understand the equipment and to interpret that data that we can offer,” said Combs. “We just need to make sure we have the right data.”

Contractors can take advantage by letting the dealer or manufacturer do the hard part of analyzing and interpreting the information, identifying not only problem areas but steps you can take to increase productivity, reduce labor costs, lower fuel consumption and more. This, in turn, can offset the cost of the dealer’s services — though Combs foresees such services eventually becoming part of the overall sales package as dealers help customers better manage their “digital space.”

“Helping [contractors] to identify, maintain and drive their costs down in the digital world is key,” said Combs, “ultimately eliminating the need for their own resources to pull all of this information together.” Yet another reason to consider your dealer as a “trusted partner” in telematics translation 

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