Teletrac Navman’s Solutions Specialist James French explains how telematics technology can help project owners and sub-contractors across different applications.
Generating over $360 billion in revenue each year, Australia’s construction industry produces around nine per cent of the nation’s GDP. With a projected annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent over the next five years, it’s important that those in the construction industry are equipped to meet rising demand in the years to come.
Plant equipment and machinery can be scattered across job sites and managing all of the assets can become quite a headache. Thankfully, advancements in technology are enabling construction businesses to better manage their equipment, ultimately leading to reduced downtime and improved productivity.
Knowing exactly where assets are at any given time can be challenging, especially when working on multiple projects. Luckily, the technology to track the assets in real time has gone beyond the mobile phone and the CB radio.
According to James French, Australasian Solutions Specialist at Teletrac Navman, knowing where and how assets are being used and understanding the margins can help asset owners calculate return on investment (ROI).
“By using GPS-enabled technology, you can instantly know where all your equipment is and get a real-time view into how your equipment is being used,” he says.
“You may notice that certain machinery gets little to no use. Instead of collecting dust, these assets can be sold off and the money reinvested in other assets that can be used daily. When the time comes when you need to use the asset you sold off, it can be hired. This helps reduce your upkeep on assets that you don’t need, and you can instead bring in equipment that makes you money.”
He notes that different businesses use telematics in different ways – from preventing loss of equipment to recovering stolen assets or even accounting for hire/rental costs.
“From hardwired telematics for your truck, dogs or yellow iron, right through to compact devices for your unpowered assets, these IP67-rated technologies are ruggedly designed to withstand the rigours of life on jobsites. With options for battery powered telematics, you can track and locate everything, from trailers and containers, to ladders and toolboxes.”
Spoils and compliance
Spoils management is an essential aspect of infrastructure projects and it comes with its own set of rules and compliance. Whether transferring spoil to be recycled or shipping contaminated soil to an appropriate dump site, contractors need to ensure that the loads are accounted for and properly disposed of.
“By using smart fleet management solutions, you’ll be able to see immediately where your contaminated spoils are taken and be able to digitally store weigh bridge dockets to ensure they’re not lost or damaged. Drivers are also able to record mass per axle or gross vehicle mass directly into an in-vehicle device to help with further record keeping,” says French.
With dozens of trucks coming in and out of the job site every day to move spoils, controlling the flow of traffic across the site is tricky. Poor vehicle management can result in blockages, both on the site and on the surrounding roads. By combining fleet management systems with geo-spatial tracking, drivers can be directed to exactly where they’re needed.
“Not only does this prevent traffic from building up, but by being able to direct drivers on the fly, you’ll be able to keep the community safe. Trucks will go directly to their allotted gates instead of backing up,” French claims.
From data to decisions
Using real-time insights and analytics collected and collated from the asset also enables fleet owners to make more effective data-backed decisions, French adds.
“When you are based on the site, you need to be armed with the right information, at the right time, to ensure the project is running smoothly. From managing budgets and timelines, right through to the movement of traffic, real-time insights allow you to make the right decisions across the board – providing increases in ROI as equipment can be utilised more efficiently. You can also more accurately invoice and be paid for every minute the assets are used.”
Depending on the scale of the project, French says asset data can be used to understand the costs at each stage. These costs can then be compared to previous budget estimates to help improve future spending.
“Connecting your assets and operators together ultimately leads to better communication across job sites,” he says. “Businesses that undertake data-driven strategies will see improved productivity, which ultimately leads to you getting a leg up on the competition. It gives you the ability to better plan and budget your future projects,” he says.
“Regardless of your role across the project chain or in the business, technology arms you with the insights and the information you need instantly. Whether you’re the project owner and require a global view of each site, or a sub-contractor where you need to see each asset’s utilisation, fleet management solutions power real-time decisions.”
This article was originally published in the October edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.