• John Kane

Guest Blog #8 | Leveraging Telematics Data Into Fleet Management for Your Heavy Civil Construction B

From Chronicles of a Construction Technology Addict

How Construction Maintenance Management Software Can Turn Data into Profits

As construction companies have embraced the Internet of Things (IoT), telematics has become a key element for collecting the myriad data from different workflows. But, as with the pace being kept by the rest of the digital world, data is sent and received faster than ever and in greater quantities.

So how can construction companies manage all this data and utilize it to optimize fleet management and maintenance?

Construction companies finding themselves overwhelmed with telematics data benefit when they adopt specialized maintenance software that can aggregate and analyze the data, turning it into intelligence that drives proactive preventive maintenance for heavy construction equipment.

First, however, it’s important to understand what telematics is and what it provides, so you know the type of data you can benefit from aggregating and analyzing.

What Is Telematics for the Heavy Civil Construction Industry?

In a general sense, the term "telematics" refers to any combination of telecommunications and information processing. However, these days, it most commonly refers to vehicle and automotive telematics. Using GPS systems and other telecommunications devices, individual vehicles can send and receive data by communicating with a centralized application or service.

There's a wide variety of potential uses for telematics in the automobile industry. For example, an emergency broadcast system might send an alert about an imminent natural disaster to all vehicles in the area. Telematics can also be used for car sharing services such as Zipcar to track drivers' mileage and ensure that the cars are returned at the correct time and place.

In the heavy civil construction industry, the data acquired from telematics helps companies obtain information about their construction equipment in the field and analyze performance. Telematics data can show you how well each piece of construction equipment is being used, which machines need repair or maintenance, or which operators are misusing the construction equipment. Instead of weathering an unexpected equipment failure or having to depend on someone to manually manage and communicate maintenance schedules, companies can use their telematics data to drive a proactive, automated preventive maintenance program.

Despite the buzz around telematics in the construction industry, it hasn’t yet seen widespread adoption among contractors. In 2015, only one in six contractors made use of telematics, even though 80 percent of heavy off-road vehicles produced in the United States now come equipped with the technology to do so.

However, the heavy civil construction industry seems poised for a telematics revolution that will massively improve efficiency and productivity. Several telematics companies and construction management software suppliers are making inroads, as many more businesses are realizing the competitive edge that telematics can provide.

But there is one catch: telematics is only as effective as your ability to use the data correctly.

How to Leverage Telematics Data for Fleet Management and Maintenance

The telematics sensors attached to construction equipment can collect and transmit a wide variety of data. With so much data being generated daily, and even hourly, trying to analyze it manually is a losing proposition.

The best way to analyze and optimize telematics data is by using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). A CMMS is a software package that keeps track of equipment and assets that need to be maintained on a regular basis, which helps managers make better decisions, and helps maintenance workers do their jobs more efficiently.

For example, construction machines equipped with telematics capabilities can record date such as running time, idle time, fuel consumption or site functions performed. Using a software solution to set up preventive maintenance intervals–for instance, engine hours for oil changes–enables an automatic trigger to notify when the meter readings from these machines indicate the set hours are hit and an oil change is due. This automation eliminates the need for someone to track oil changes manually, therefore increasing the ability to stay on schedule, keep equipment in the field and save costs.

Additionally, software can alert mechanics about any other upcoming maintenance required for that vehicle, or about other equipment on the same job site or nearby requiring service in the near future. Having broader information allows mechanics to maximize their time spent on vehicle maintenance.

Using CMMS software has several advantages over other alternatives:

  • Analyzing and reporting of telematics data is much easier and more effective than it is with manual paper- or spreadsheet-based processes.

  • Data is sent directly to the CMMS software, eliminating input errors and preserving its integrity.

  • Companies save time and money by streamlining the maintenance workflow.

Good CMMS software should integrate and aggregate telematics data to make your fleet maintenance as simple and pain-free as possible, while also saving you money, reducing fuel consumption and improving safety.

About the Author:

John Kane is a product manager for B2W Software. He has had a leadership role in the development of the company’s specialized B2W Maintain application for equipment maintenance and repairs. John has more than 15 years of project management, program management, technical data analysis and troubleshooting and reporting experience. He can be reached at john.kane@b2wsoftware.com.

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