The following is a guest post written by Robert J. Hall, president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS truck tracking for small and midsized companies.
Construction companies rely on two main assets to get their jobs done every day: their people and their equipment. Without either component, you will not be able to serve your customers well. You wouldn't think of sending your people to a site without proper insurance coverage and safety gear, yet if you are operating your fleet without fleet tracking, then you are putting those valuable vehicles at risk. Here are some ways that fleet management systems protect your assets, and therefore your business, from serious financial loss.
1. Know Vehicle Location at All Times
Fleet tracking systems can be set up to provide real-time GPS tracking of your construction assets. Whether you are trying to figure out why a dump truck is taking so long to bring a load to the site, need to find an end loader somewhere on a large job site or wish to know which job site a particular asset is working, you can log into your interface and see in a moment where all of your equipment is located. This allows you to quickly respond to customer needs and improve the efficiency of your overall operation. Tracking your assets also gives you peace of mind if something takes longer than it should.
2. Reduce Wasted Fuel
Running equipment requires proper fuel, and that fuel is costly. If your assets are not being used efficiently or if they are being used for personal reasons, then you are losing fuel, and therefore income.
Most statistics relating to fuel savings apply to over-the-road vehicles, but the same principles apply to construction equipment. Every 1 mpg that you improve fuel economy for fuel-driven vehicles adds up to significant savings. If the vehicle totals 15,000 miles per year, and you reduce fuel consumption by 1 mpg, then you will save $108 a year if fuel costs $3.65 per gallon.
Now, many pieces of construction equipment do not reach 15,000 per year, but there is still room for savings. Fleet management systems allow you to ensure your operators are driving equipment as efficiently as possible and over the most efficient routes from one location to the next. It can also alert you to unnecessary idling, which wastes up to 0.2 gallons of fuel per hour, and is common on construction sites.
3. Recover Stolen Assets More Quickly
Each year, equipment stolen from construction sites costs an average of $600 million across the country. As little as 6.5 percent of stolen construction equipment is recovered. If you have ever been the victim of equipment theft, then you know how high the cost can be.
GPS fleet tracking systems make it easier to recover stolen assets. These systems provide law enforcement officials with the equipment's last known GPS coordinates, allowing them to more quickly zero in on thieves and recover the equipment. In addition, you can set up your system to provide proximity alerts, sending you an alert if a piece of equipment is driven off the job site unexpectedly. Being proactive about loss prevention will protect your fleet, both by helping to keep your assets where they belong and by recovering them if a problem arises.
4. Avoid Billing Disputes
When you're working in construction, a billing dispute can lead to thousands of dollars of expenses. Avoid this problem with proper fleet management. This can protect not only your income, but also your reputation.
With fleet management, you can document and track work hours accurately using GPS tracking to know where your equipment is and what it is doing. Many systems are set up to integrate into automatic invoicing, providing tangible evidence for customers if there is a dispute over the hours billed. If your customer claims that you are billing for too many hours, you can turn to your fleet tracking system to show that the team was, in fact, on the site and working during the hours you billed.
You may not think of your construction company as a fleet-based company, but it is. If you are not employing fleet management techniques in your day-to-day operations, you are missing out on these key benefits and protections. To make your construction company as efficient as possible, take the time to look a little more closely at fleet management.
Augmented and Virtual Reality has always been designated for large headsets. Even with recent developments in the construction industry, like Microsoft Hololens and the DAQRI Smart Helmet, if you want to experience AR, you have to get used to wearing something you’re not used to around a job site. As cool as both of those technologies are, it seems that the ole trusty smartphones and tablets have been overlooked. A Danish BIM company has developed a smartphone and tablet application that leaves the headsets behind.
For many construction superintendents and project managers across the world, tablets are becoming one of the most important tools on the job site. They’re great for looking at plans, taking pictures, making notes, and running your favorite construction apps. Carrying a tablet does take up at least one of your hands, however, so it can be a hindrance if you need to help a co-worker lift material or climb a ladder.
According to OSHA, more than 40 percent of all heat-related worker deaths occur in the construction industry. Many more workers also become ill from extreme heat and humidity. With summer now in full effect, it’s time to re-evaluate your personal steps for keeping safe in the heat and how your company is going to help their employees stay safe.
On Tuesday, June 20, OSHA is set to propose a delay on new requirements for cranes and derricks in the construction industry at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH).
Trenches are dangerous, but many companies and workers continue to deny it. Or their actions make it seem like they do, at least. There’s never an excuse to let someone into a hole if it hasn’t been properly sloped, benched, or shored. Nevertheless, dozens of construction workers are killed and injured by trench collapses every year.
In order to get the bad taste of last week’s botched demolition, in which an adjacent building also got destroyed in the process, we needed to share a highly successful one. Priestly Demolition, a Canadian demolition contractor, has been the subject of our articles in the past and the company has even won awards for the best demolition in the world.
Traffic in Atlanta sucks, there’s really no other way to say it. So imagine the tough position commuters and city officials were put in when a bridge of a major highway on the north side of the city caught fire on March 20, 2017 and was damaged beyond repair. 243,000 motorists were forced to find alternate routes to work for the estimated 3 months that it was going to take to rebuild it. Now, imagine how thrilled they were when the highway opened back up one month ahead of schedule.
The worst day on the job is when someone on site gets injured. The 2nd through 500th worst days are the legal battle that follows many of those injuries. Nobody expects accidents to happen, but it’s best to be adequately prepared if one does. That not only includes knowing how to react to injuries with a safety plan, but also making sure your company’s documentation is in order in case lawsuits start flying.
Tracking employees instantaneously is a dream scenario for employers. It gives them tons of data to analyze to determine where money can be saved and where resources can be placed to be most efficient. The struggle is convincing the employees that tracking their every move is not going to get them in trouble or fired. There’s a balance in there somewhere and that’s the challenge facing both employers and tech companies right now.
There’s no doubt that the construction industry is behind when it comes to technology, but things are beginning to change. In the past few years, our industry has seen millions of dollars poured into new technology, including smartphone apps, advanced construction materials, and advanced safety equipment. One of the struggles –and perhaps the main struggle- with introducing new technology to the field staff is that many of them have been managing their jobs the same way for a long time. It can be difficult to convince them to change, especially if they have been successful with their current process.