Telematics is rapidly coming to play a central role in the way the construction industry operates, as it has in many other sectors. Telematics systems provide detailed information about the location and performance both of vehicles and construction equipment. Data relayed by construction telematics includes GPS location, engine hours idling and fuel consumption.
The construction industry runs on very tight margins and downtime can have a seriously disruptive effect on workflow. Telematics helps to reduce the risk of this occurring, by facilitating faster communication with regard to the sharing and analysis of relevant data.
Q: What are the benefits of construction telematics?
A: Construction telematics is already delivering a range of benefits to the industry. It provides firms with forensic-level evidence of the way their vehicles and equipment perform and how they are used, allowing them to identify inefficiencies in vehicle and equipment management where they exist and take steps to address them.
Because construction telematics falls into two categories (on-road and off-road), it delivers specific benefits within each of these two categories. These benefits combine, however, to facilitate major improvements in operator and driver safety, reliability and customer service in the construction sector.
Q: How is construction telematics used on the road?
A: Construction firms make extensive use of on-road vehicles, and telematics allows them to monitor both the movement of people and the movement of materials. Site reporting, for example, is one of the most important features offered by construction telematics: this helps keep managers up to date with which personnel and materials are on-site. Geofencing, meanwhile, can be used to provide an alert when a vehicle is arriving at a job site.
There’s also the enhanced route planning capacities offered by telematics, which helps to deliver impressive improvements to efficiency for construction firms and the detailed insights it provides into driver behaviour. This allows firms to identify where drivers are falling short of the required standards and to devise tailored training programmes to address such shortcomings.
Q: How is construction telematics used for off-road assets?
A: Construction equipment telematics allows construction firms to monitor both the location and performance of machinery and equipment. It enables them to ensure that effective and efficient use is being made of assets: if equipment isn’t being put to work, then it isn’t helping firms to get jobs done and make money.
The difference between telematics for on-road vehicles and off-road assets is that for the latter, hours of use are tracked rather than, say, mileage. If equipment is going underused, then this can be transferred across to another site where it may be needed; this is how heavy equipment telematics helps to boost overall efficiency and generate more revenue.
Q: How can construction telematics improve security?
A: As well as allowing firms to monitor location and performance in exceptional detail, construction telematics is also helping to deliver significant improvements to security. You might think that theft wasn’t too much of a problem for the construction sector given the sheer bulk of the equipment and vehicles it uses – but you’d be wrong.
GPS alerts and geofencing can provide instant alerts the moment a vehicle or a piece of equipment leaves a particular site, and by tracking its location, makes its recovery more straightforward. In addition, telematics can be used to send alerts when vehicles or equipment are being used outside of work hours; this makes unauthorised use easier to identify.
Q: How does construction telematics enhance reliability?
A: Construction telematics improves reliability and reduces the risk of unscheduled vehicle or equipment downtime by greatly simplifying the maintenance and repair process. As performance is monitored – from fuel consumption to mechanical issues – so closely and in such detail, faults are much easier to detect and thus to resolve.
Vehicle and equipment telematics can also be used for the scheduling of routine maintenance tasks. For example, checks can be scheduled at a particular point, when a vehicle or asset has clocked up a certain number of miles or working hours. This enables construction firms to better ensure that their assets aren’t being taken out of service prematurely or when maintenance is already overdue.
Find out more about Teletrac Navman’s specialist fleet management solutions for the construction industry here.