The Benefits of Telematics: How to Ensure Your Operators Get the Best Use Out of Equipment

22 June 2021

This article first appears in the May 2021 print issue of Heavy Equipment Guide and was written by Peter Gibbons

Telematics is continuing to help construction companies operate more effectively and efficiently and now can also be used as a tool to meet sustainability goals. More construction companies are trusting it to get the job done faster and safer. But the biggest shift was seen last year. With COVID-19, technology quickly emerged as the real hero, mitigating the negative effects on the construction industry. Reducing costs and keeping project schedules on track are just the beginning. Here are some of the other benefits you can experience when integrating telematics into your operation.

1. Better Connectivity

Telematics allow situations to be monitored in real time and critical decisions can be made in minutes, not hours or days. If there is an issue, the site manager and equipment dealer are alerted right away and are able to either fix the equipment remotely or dispatch a technician. The data generated through telematics can provide a big-picture overview of equipment health, especially on larger sites with multiple units. When the information is gathered and analyzed properly it can be filtered and compared against historical records to increase efficiencies and help develop the right preventive maintenance programs.

2. Deeper data insights

With remote access, site managers can track and analyze data without ever having to step foot on a job site. The first step is understanding what information is critical to the success of your operation. Avoid being distracted by metrics that don't meet your business needs. For some, GPS tracking with daily reports may be the only requirement. Others want the full dashboard – access to historical information on equipment, tracking location, idle time or fault codes to help identify issues and resolve problems remotely.

Deeper data insights

3. It can track lost or stolen equipment

When applied to its full potential, telematics can have a big impact on the cost of doing business. It can help with bids on future work, schedule maintenance to reduce downtime and ensure operators are getting the best use out of equipment. It can also be used to locate lost or stolen equipment. For smaller pieces of equipment that can easily get lost or misplaced, telematics can be used to track and recover the asset. For example, grout pumps can get lost underground after being covered with dirt and mud.

4. Report cycle times and volume moved

When it comes to payload systems, telematics can be used to report cycle times and volume moved. Construction companies can then use these metrics to establish cost per ton, giving them the ability to track productivity and, as a result, price jobs more accurately.

5. Substantial reductions in fuel consumption, emissions and carbon footprint

Telematics has become a key technology to support construction companies' sustainability efforts to make substantial reductions in fuel consumption, emissions and carbon footprint.

Access to real-time reporting can help address operator behaviour that can contribute to fuel consumption and emissions such as excessive speeding, idling or sudden braking. Many telematics systems also provide insight on route selection for optimal fuel economy, improving dispatch times by scheduling technicians nearest to a job and monitoring fleet maintenance and service schedules to maximize uptime and ensure machines operate at peak efficiency. COVID-19 accelerated a greater adoption of telematics and it will have a lasting impact on the industry long after the pandemic is over. The long-term benefits and increases in efficiency and productivity cannot be ignored, and the industry will continue to see greater advancements as technology evolves.

Finning is the world's largest Caterpillar dealer, selling, renting and providing parts and service for equipment and engines to customers across diverse industries, including mining, construction, petroleum, forestry and a wide range of power systems applications. We operate in Western Canada, South America, and UK and Ireland.