April 5, 2021

Construction Success - Story Homebuilder looks to up its telematics game

A construction company that specializes in building and servicing luxury residences bought into telematics early. Its vehicles have been GPS equipped and tracked for years, saving the business thousands in theft prevention and maintenance plan compliance.

But the company’s ownership believed they could be getting even more value from telematics. They were also aware that upgrade costs can quickly spiral out of control. So, the owners met with their CPA to discuss bells, whistles, dollars and cents.

Their CPA agreed that, as telematics have become more widely used, competition among providers has increased and good deals can be found. She recommended focusing on a few key areas.

Systemwide integration

Cloud computing is enabling telematics software to share real-time data with other applications — such as maintenance tracking, accounting and payroll, work order management, and fuel cards.

In addition, a relatively new ISO mixed-fleets telematics standard (approved in mid-2016) is allowing telematics software to pull data from devices even if they’re from different manufacturers. As a result, construction companies can use one platform — and ownership one dashboard — to view diagnostics from all machines and make seamless updates across all applications.

Built-in telematics

Telematics systems are now commonly factory-installed in machines as a standard feature — especially in heavy equipment — making implementation easy. Vehicle and equipment manufacturers incorporate sensors to monitor machine performance/health and notify customers when preventive maintenance or service is needed.

Additionally, many manufacturers offer dual-mode cellular/satellite service options so telematics software can tap into equipment on remote jobsites with weak cellular networks. The contractor could target these features when buying or renting equipment.

Safety improvements

Telematics users can digitally record hours of service to comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules as well as to monitor and manage:

  • Vehicle inspection reports,
  • Hard acceleration/deceleration, and
  • Seatbelt use.

Geofencing can also enhance jobsite safety. This feature allows signals from a device to pinpoint a device’s location and draw a digital boundary to encircle the area. It can be used to create zones on a jobsite to help ensure certain vehicles don’t enter those zones, so that they can avoid hazards or other restrictions.

The contractor could tie alerts to geofences to notify crews or fleet managers when equipment enters or leaves an area. It could also create zones to monitor compliance with speed limits.

Prioritized solutions

Ownership was glad they called the meeting with their CPA. It helped them prioritize their most needed telematics upgrades. In this case, they opted to first undertake a companywide systems integration so telematics data could better support cost-control measures. Further upgrades are under discussion.

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