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What is asset tracking?

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

Asset tracking is a way to know the location of physical assets 24/7. With most construction companies operating diverse fleets of movable and fixed assets across multiple jobs sites and also on-road, there’s great value in knowing where everything is at any given time. The three main benefits of using construction asset tracking are:

1. Cost savings
2. Theft protection
3. Preventative maintenance.

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What is construction asset tracking?

Construction asset tracking identifies the exact whereabout of each vehicle, trailer, piece of heavy equipment, truck or other asset in a fleet as well as what it is doing at any given time. It uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology so fleet managers know when and where their equipment is working. Pieces of hardware, called GPS tracking devices, are installed in a vehicle or asset and transmit its exact latitude and longitude using satellite networks. This ensures even assets in remote locations or regions with no cellular service can be monitored.

Asset tracking also provides insight into engine time, asset idling and utilisation, speed and more. Tracking both jobsite and on-road assets gives companies a better understanding of their productivity and insight for better project management. 

How asset tracking drives efficiency and costs

Any piece of equipment sitting idle costs a business money. Often, contractors lease or buy extra equipment because they’re unaware of underutilised machines. Asset tracking for heavy equipment management lets a company see if equipment is available for relocation and saved one customer more than $1 million within a year. In many cases, the equipment it needed was parked up on other job sites throughout the state. Asset tracking also lets fleet managers identify lost time. If noise ordinances exist between the hours of 7:00 and 4:00, companies under a tight deadline can’t afford to start operating equipment at 7:30 and end at 3:30.

Asset tracking also provides insight into cycle times, or how quickly on-site assets are completing their job or moving goods. If trucks are often idling, it may indicate there are too many being used, or that another excavator is needed to speed up load time.

How to secure your equipment with asset tracking  

Every construction fleet fears equipment theft or tampering. GPS asset tracking ensures it can be recovered and that fleets know if someone was operating an asset outside of working hours. Long-life internal batteries are used so, even if assets are isolated or trailers are unhooked, they can be located and movement can be tracked.

One customer had surprise savings of over $160,000 when GPS tracking pointed them (and the police) to the barn their loader backhoe was being hidden in as well as the location of another stolen skid steer.

How to use asset tracking for preventative maintenance?

Electronic tracking accurately records machine hours and mileage, unlike paper records where drivers or operators can easily make a mistake. It can also include integrated fault code monitoring, providing alerts to engine problems before they become a problem. This helps fleets stay ahead of required and preventative maintenance, lowering odds of a malfunctioning or broken piece of equipment that can put an entire project on hold. It also ensures they stay compliant with any relevant regulations, and reduces risk of injury related to issues like a loose machine guard or by machinery abruptly shutting down.

With job sites often spread across state lines, asset location data also ensures people traveling to do repairs and maintenance aren’t wasting valuable time. It’s not uncommon for an engineer or maintenance professional to drive few hours to a site to find the equipment they were sent to work on is no longer there. With asset tracking, costly mistakes like this are avoided.  

How asset tracking improves over-the-road fleet operations?

Construction companies must also think beyond heavy equipment and machinery. Asset tracking to manage over-the-road vehicles can also deliver bottom-line savings.

With data on speeding and harsh braking and cornering, fleet managers can address unsafe driving behaviors resulting in accidents, fines, increased fuel usage and higher insurance costs. Asset tracking can also help with route optimisation, routing drivers around weather, traffic and other road hazards, so drivers can choose the safest way to go. By identifying and coaching drivers, one customer saved 10% in diesel costs in the first year of asset tracking.

Using asset tracking to collect data from heavy equipment and on-road vehicles can help construction companies manage assets and drive efficiency across multiple projects and jobs sites to increase productivity and decrease costs.