What Is Construction Technology?
People in the industry probably use the term “construction technology” on a daily basis, and you may have an idea of what it is but not know the exact definition. You may also not know the extent of how it can impact your construction business.
Using integrated technology systems can place you above all other competitors, as it gives you access to every detail about your fleet. Whether you want to take a look at fuel costs and idle times or maintenance schedules and safety components, equipment data can help you trump your previous way of doing things. Construction technology is when companies implement telematics and equipment management using machine data to improve their overall bottom line.
Although many fleet managers may think they’re okay on their own, using technology to understand how much fuel burns per machine and real-time data about idle times can help you track the real cost of doing business. Today’s technology generates more useful information as well as more focus that can allow you to gain valuable insights about your construction company. Knowing the number of exact hours worked and dozens of other facts is vital to your bottom line performance.
According to a 2017 Construction Equipment survey, more than 80 percent of companies use telematics abilities or plan to do so in the upcoming year. Tracking equipment is on most top to-do lists at 75 percent while tracking speed comes in at 61 percent and driver hours at 53 percent. At least one-half of organizations using telematics have seen reduced fuel costs, some even reaching up to 40 percent of a reduction.
No matter if you have an entire fleet or just a few machines, monitoring equipment data and using telematics is beneficial. At Gregory Poole Equipment Company, we can get you the information, machines, products and support you need right away.
Common Challenges Construction Companies Face
Businesses are always looking for ways to improve. Operations may be steady, and you may have a month of projects lined up, but how can you do better? How can you surpass the challenges you face in continual development? Many fleet managers are often looking to increase production, improve operator performance, control costs and run a safe operation. If you want to achieve one of these four things or all of them, take a look at how telematics can help you advance your business. Using machine data can:
- Increase production: The more jobs you complete at a high value, the better your reputation and income. A higher level of productivity means higher revenue. When you apply technology like Cat Connect to your fleet, it can help you identify ways your team can achieve more without sacrificing quality.
- Develop operator performance: For you to get the most productivity out of your equipment, you need to invest in skilled operators. Using Cat Connect, for example, can help reduce operator fatigue, simplify operations and recognize training opportunities to help your operators receive excellent training.
- Control costs: One overarching goal of any business is to waste less — less material, less time, less money. No one wants to do the same job over or order too many supplies. The idea is to avoid burning an excessive amount of fuel, reduce idle time and many other objectives. With construction technology, you’ll have the tools to help reduce errors and minimize waste.
- Ensure a safe operation: Telematics tools can monitor each job site, even if you’re in the office and can encourage operators to focus on their job.
Clearly, construction technology can help you solve problems and challenges from anywhere.
Advantages of Construction Technology and Telematics in the Field
A construction technology definition can encompass many features depending on what you want to focus on and whether you’re reading the data or sending it to your equipment dealer to monitor. While results vary according to different situations, machines and business, a few things are clear on how equipment monitoring, telematics and construction technology can benefit you. Values of telematics include:
- Ability to prevent theft and recover equipment
- Amplified uptime
- Fewer risks
- Improved bidding accuracy
- Increased machine availability
- More efficient operators
- Reduced unit costs
- Reduction in fuels costs and idle times
Tips on How to Manage Your Operations With Telematics
The number one thing you can do when managing your operation with telematics is to communicate with your operators. The idea here is to make your operators feel involved and valued. Explain the purpose of the technology and how each worker can impact the bottom line of the company through their operations.
Discuss what you do with the data from each piece of equipment and why. It will motivate your people to do well and help them recognize their vital role as a machinist. Listen to them as well — they may have excellent insights and ideas on how to improve different procedures. Compensating good performance is another critical component. When you reward an operator for significant improvement based on data provided by telematics, it creates a positive environment and encourages them to do well in the future.
Managing your operations with construction technology also involves tracing operator fuel efficiency. When you compare fuel usage of various operators running the same machine, data can show how each operator works. Having excellent fuel efficiency is the result of safe and controlled operations. Not only does smooth operation increase the life of your equipment, but it also reduces transmission and engine wear, making your fleet last long-term.
A final tip on managing your business with technology is to make sure every operator is aware of in-cab alerts. They should know when something is wrong, what a warning means and when to shut the machine down right away. Their base of knowledge will help avoid severe equipment damage. Be sure to:
- Communicate with employees
- Reward good performance
- Track fuel efficiency of each operator
- Train operators
How Equipment Data Can Improve the Uptime of Your Assets
Increased uptime and improved operations are the cherries on top when you use equipment management techniques within your industry. Placing construction technology on each machine in your fleet gives you a bird’s eye view of your entire setup.
When you see the big picture and bring your fleet together, it becomes easier to identify duplicated efforts. You can see where you need to allocate different machines to other jobs and detect inefficient maintenance practices. Using the data allows you to amplify productivity and expand the efficiency of each asset.
Equipment data can determine the right size of your fleet as well. By tracking and knowing various idle times, you can decide if eliminating specific machines will improve productivity. You may be able to get away with fewer machines that can output the same effort as before while still completing projects on time. You can also see where to add equipment to reduce work holdups.
Your assets also require planned maintenance schedules and services to avoid unnecessary breakdowns. With the use of electronic scheduling, your company can design service and maintenance downtime around your schedule. The worst thing you can do is wait for a breakdown to happen.
Using data-based equipment management and repairing before failure are valuable methods to increase uptime. With a more productive fleet, your ROI will skyrocket. Employing telematics with data monitoring can deliver 400-600 percent ROI. However, ROI can vary from situation to situation.
How Telematics and Equipment Management Data Can Reduce Equipment Costs for Your Business
Construction technology can increase the uptime of your operations, but that’s not all. It can also control the costs when you apply the following to your fleet:
- Fluid analysis
- Operator training
- Preventative maintenance schedules
- Repair before failure actions
Equipment management data can offer incredible results when it comes to cost-effective maintenance. Repair before failure is what’s going to save you major bucks because the technology will help you catch problems early on. Using electronic alerts and equipment data, you and your operators can be aware of machine problems. As a result, you can schedule cost-effective repairs right away to avoid more severe breakdowns.
The value of repair before failure is impressive. Telematics allow you to know about faults ahead of time, which results in small repairs that are less costly as opposed to waiting for the machine to break down and having to complete a full engine rebuild or something similar. It can cost thousands of dollars for a replacement part for one machine, so imagine the numbers if your entire fleet fails. Takeaway points: Monitor data, look for patterns and take action early.
Preventative maintenance notifications can also aid in scheduling and finalizing maintenance and service checks. When electronic alerts show up, you know it’s time for a check-up on your machines. Fluid analysis can also reduce costs by having your oil, hydraulic fluids and coolant examined for wear indications.
It’s not only the fleet manager’s responsibility to inspect machines but also the operator’s. Always keep an eye out for lagging performance, leaks and other indicators that show you need to check your equipment. Telematics systems can send electronic inspection reports to dealers to use in their condition monitoring program.
Recordkeeping is another aspect that plays a role in reducing costs. Because equipment technology records everything from workflow to machine component life, you can better identify problem areas within your fleet. You can take a look at high-cost components, control expenses and gather the history of operating costs. Using assembly information and data on your machines can help increase their resale value as well.
How To Diminish Idle Time of Machines With the Use of Construction Technology
Measurment of idle time for each piece of machinery can assist you in reducing unnecessary running. Often, operators are idling for longer than needed when they could be working. Telematics systems will notify you about idle times, so you can see where you need to address problems. Once you improve idle times, you can decrease your fleet’s fuel usage.
It’s imperative to limit idle time and shut off the machines when not in use for extended periods. For example, turning off trucks that wait more than five minutes to unload and load can make a significant impact. Before beginning the day, operators often allow their machines to be idle and warm up. However, new equipment doesn’t need it, and older ones may need two minutes tops to get started.
Always turn off equipment during breaks and lunchtime, and use the automatic shutdown feature when available. Anticipate where equipment needs to be positioned to avoid movement of other units, and give your operators a sufficient and consistent amount of activity to focus on throughout the day.
When you see how much idle time costs your company, you’ll want to search for excess running time. If you compare idle and work time, you can move specific pieces of equipment around to keep your operations busy. Nonproductive hours translate into wasted fuel and money, as it’s standard for idle time to reach between 45 and 50 percent of the total running time.
If one of your machines reaches about 40 percent in idle time, it equals about 800 hours, which can cost roughly $3,120 each year. Unproductive hours also mean:
- Accelerated wear
- Fewer warranty hours
- Lessened component life
- Sacrificed resale value
- Unnecessary fluid and filter changes
With the use of construction technology, you can reduce and almost eliminate many of these problems.
How Operator-Targeted Data Can Help You Train Workers for More Efficient Operations
The perfect operator would achieve 100 percent proficiency and never have any downtime. They would never waste fuel or money and would use your heavy equipment to its full capacity. However, different situations and projects cause various impacts on a machine’s operation. While you may not be able to achieve perfect performance, you can opt to improve the ability of your operators.
If you monitor the day-to-day performance of each operator, you can spot training opportunities. Whether they need training in how to reduce idle time or implement safer movements, their operating skills can impact performance and wear of machinery. Teach your operators to pay attention to equipment alerts too. They should know when to take quick action to reduce the need for extreme repairs, keeping the machine out of the shop.
Machine technology and data can improve operator performance, which results in increased productivity and lowers costs. Because people at the controls determine a machine’s performance, it’s imperative for an operator to be efficient and productive. If you have some operators with less experience or skill, it leaves the untapped performance of equipment open, which costs more for extra fuel and service costs.
By tracking and monitoring machine performance with data technology, fleet managers can get the best results from their workers. It becomes easier to target areas where your people need improvement because construction technology can gather, convey and analyze machine-generated data.
Collecting and analyzing fleet data gives useful information that can also generate fault codes for when an operator misuses a machine. For example, they may have been improperly shifting, coasting in neutral or over-speeding the engine. Operator induced fault codes often show operator error but may also be caused by site conditions, mechanical malfunctions and other environmental components. To make sure you receive accurate information, combine your machine-generated data with oil sampling, site inspections and other elements. That way, you can target the precise cause of the fault code and apply an appropriate solution.
Another way you can use equipment data to engage your workers is to provide positive feedback. It’s always good to reward excellent performance because it can show how much each operator contributes to every project success, making them feel like part of the team. Operator training can even impact the performance and component wear of heavy equipment machinery. When you identify and target areas of improvement, you can teach operators more beneficial tactics and techniques. Operator monitoring benefits include:
- Better employee retention
- Cost savings
- Enhanced jobsite safety
- Higher productivity
- Improved fuel efficiency
- Increased profit margins
- Less unplanned downtime
- Reduced wear and tear on engines, tires, transmissions and undercarriages
Although creating a training program for workers is imperative, it’s even more vital for management to stick with the improvement process to see long-term results. You can accomplish smooth and controlled machine operation by:
- Monitoring alerts for high brake temperature, over speeds and other issues
- Offering training for operators who need help
- Recognizing or giving incentives to those who reduce fuel consumption or have no alerts
- Tracking fuel efficiency with equipment technology and telematics
- Training workers to operate with controlled efficiency
Equipment Management Can Help You Avoid Construction Risks
Having a bird’s eye view of your heavy equipment fleet, you can know the location of each machine at all times. When severe weather is about to hit, you can avoid any delays by knowing which machines are out in the field. With equipment management technology, you can respond and recover from weather-related delays.
Saving time on keeping up with your preventative maintenance schedule is never worth risking an unnecessary breakdown. Maintenance is one of the best ways to dodge machine failures. You can take advantage of electronic alerts and machine data to help you spot small problems before they cause more significant issues or damages.
Major repairs like replacing an engine and getting a new undercarriage for heavy equipment are detrimental to your bank account. Early machine replacement is also a loss, so it’s important to have first-rate equipment management, which will maximize the uptime of your machinery and extend the life of each asset.
In the case where you’re down a machine for an extended time, equipment data can help you re-allocate your remaining machines. The system can also let you know when renting may be a better choice because the loss of a machine can put you behind schedule.
If you have a good condition monitoring program, you can get the most out of your equipment. It costs more to operate in wet conditions than dry ones, and the wear of your machines also depends on grade, soil condition, operating technique and weather. Since site conditions link to the component life of equipment, the best time to rebuild your engine, undercarriage or transmission depends these conditions.
Preventing Theft and Recovering Equipment Using Technology Systems
Equipment theft may not be at the forefront of your concerns. Everyone always thinks it happens only to other people, but if theft strikes your company, you’ll want to be prepared with the right technology. The first step you can take is to equip each machine with a GPS location tracking system. It will help you trace and recover your piece of machinery in less time than guessing where it may be.
You can also employ an electronic keying system. Whether you choose to key all equipment with the same code or code each key to a worker, no one will hotwire your machines. Make sure to call the police, then your equipment manufacturer in cases of machine theft. Police can help you track the GPS, and your manufacturer will have the stolen piece of equipment show up on their stolen equipment database.
Another option to prevent theft is to weld your company name and phone number on the machines, like on the buckets or booms. This information will be visible and hard to remove, which will help police identify the piece. It also deters thieves in the first place.
A final step in implementing telematics to stop theft is to apply electronic geo-fencing and time fencing. The systems will alert you when a machine moves out of place or if someone starts an engine at an undesignated time.
What Is Construction Management and Technology at Gregory Poole Equipment Company?
As the authorized Cat® dealer in eastern North Carolina, Gregory Poole carries innovative Cat technology like Cat Connect. With Cat’s continuous commitment to advancements in the construction industry, you can incorporate cutting-edge technology into your business to help you remain productive.
Cat strives to emphasize the use of connectivity to boost productivity. These tools can increase reliability, performance and the safety of your heavy equipment fleet. Gregory Poole offers equipment management solutions, so you can not only simplify your preventative maintenance but also extend the lifespan of your machines and lower operating costs. Consider the following options:
- Cat Connect: Cat Connect, an intelligent suite of hardware, software and dealer services, helps you manage a more profitable construction business by heightening efficiency, improving safety and saving time and money. The technology is also scalable, so you can start with what makes sense for your company now and upgrade later if needed.
- Attaining measurable and sustainable results
- Connecting your assets
- Determining what technologies and services you need
- Managing the data from your assets
- Training your workers to receive the best ROI
Rely on Gregory Poole for Technology Systems
In business more than 65 years, Gregory Poole Equipment Company has the equipment management technology solutions you need. We offer dependable technical expertise when you have questions, and we provide exemplary product support for after you make a purchase. With 11 locations across eastern NC, we’ll make sure you can find the right telematics solution to support the bottom line of your construction company.