You might think equipment is just a tiny segment of the construction industry, but it’s actually a sector in itself. And, with a multibillion-dollar market, it is far from small.
That’s a massive figure, especially when you think about long-term or commercial projects. Looking at that value, it shouldn’t surprise you that construction equipment is expensive. So, it makes sense for it to require consistent and efficient monitoring.
Today, we live in a telematics-driven world where manual supervision isn’t always necessary. A comprehensive system of telematics and IoT devices coupled with equipment management software like Trackunit can give managers the insights they need to run a job site.
Where does equipment monitoring fall in this whole process? How does it help? We discuss all of this below.
What is equipment monitoring?
Equipment monitoring simply refers to tracking and keeping an eye on all equipment on a job site. Fleet managers are responsible for equipment or machine monitoring.
The process typically has the following components:
- Telematics and IoT sensors: These could be GPS tracking systems or engine diagnostics sensors. The point of telematics and IoT devices is to know an equipment’s condition, performance, fuel consumption, location, and maintenance requirements.
- Connectivity: Another component of this system is connectivity, which comes from Bluetooth, WiFi, satellites, and a cellular connection. After all, the data collected by the sensors has to be communicated to a computer or the cloud.
- Data processing: The final component of equipment monitoring is data analytics and processing. When your on-site software or the cloud receives the data from in-vehicle or on-site devices, the next step is to analyze this data. What does this tell you about the site and equipment? Data analysis is what helps you in decision-making and resource planning.
Importance of equipment monitoring
The importance of equipment monitoring is evident through its benefits. So, we’ll explain them to give you an idea of why investing in equipment monitoring is essential for businesses.
Uptime is the measure of how often equipment is working properly. Ideally you would obviously want a 100% uptime, but that’s not always the case. The equipment may be unavailable because it has gone for scheduled maintenance. Similarly, if it breaks down or malfunctions, you’ll face downtime.
Equipment monitoring is imperative to minimize downtime. How does this happen? First, when you keep an eye on your equipment throughout the work process, you can conduct predictive maintenance.
That way, instead of waiting for the equipment to break down and then take reactive measures, you can take preventive steps to prevent breakdowns and subsequent downtime.
Historical data access
Modern equipment monitoring tools and software let you keep a historical record of all machinery on your job site. You can check when a piece of equipment was last serviced or repaired.
These diagnostics give you an idea of future maintenance needs and help you create a better resource plan. You may also compare the trends of different equipment to see which is more efficient.
Since construction is an ongoing process, it only makes sense to have real-time and immediate visibility into operations. Let’s say you use IoT for geofencing to minimize equipment theft.
What’s the point of receiving information once equipment has been stolen or has left the site? With equipment monitoring software you’re notified as soon as the equipment leaves the ”geo-fenced” area.
Which equipment can you monitor with equipment monitoring technology?
Equipment can mean anything from a forklift to a hand-operated tool. Which of these tools does equipment monitoring technology track?
- Unpowered equipment: It refers to equipment that is not powered by an engine or motor. Instead, you have to move this equipment across the job site using battery-powered trackers. Examples include portable toilets, shipping containers, generators, and light towers.
- Powered equipment: Such equipment is powered by a motor. For example, it could include custom machinery, pumps, loaders, and skid steers.
- Heavy equipment: Usually, most equipment on a construction site falls under this category. The most common heavy equipment are cranes, forklifts, backhoes, scrapers, excavators, and bulldozers.
The technology used for equipment monitoring
Now, let’s come to the ”how” of equipment monitoring. We’ve already explained the basics above, but here’s a little more description of how these systems work.
Telematics systems let you monitor all three types of equipment listed above. All you have to do is install telematics devices on your equipment. Once that’s done, you have real-time tracking of your vehicles at all times.
For example, telematics sensors in your construction fleet will tell you about:
- Engine diagnostics
- Driving behavior
- Fuel consumption
- Maintenance alerts
- Theft or misuse
- Speed, location, and idling
Nowadays, most fleet managers use IoT as a part of their equipment monitoring. The sensors are installed on the heavy machinery and powered equipment to give you real-time alerts and performance data.
Similarly, IoT devices can be useful for employee attendance monitoring. It can help make sure that operators aren’t working overtime and thus stay alert.
Equipment monitoring software integrations
Remember how we mentioned ”connectivity” as a part of equipment monitoring above? That connectivity comes with equipment monitoring software.
All the information your IoT and telematics devices collect gets stored in the software. Then, you can see charts and analytical trends to make decisions about the fleet and drivers.
Equipment monitoring software can also integrate with other tools, like a customer relation management (CRM) platform. That way, it’s easier to access customer data in a unified place.
Learning about equipment tracking is just the beginning. Following this, you will have to adopt best practices to make the most out of modern technology for your business.
For example, it’s imperative to train equipment operators so that they know how to use the technology. Also, regular maintenance and calibration are must-haves.
Even with all the right measures, you should be prepared for issues in the technology. That’s where a good customer support team can help you. The key is to combine functionality with proper adoption and scaling to streamline your equipment tracking process.