Even when a business is doing well, margins can be razor thin, so keeping track of your off-road equipment fleet is an important job. Providing your project managers and crew with actionable data obtained from an IoT solution allows them to adapt to the situation immediately, help them control costs, and keep work orders on schedule. Reducing paperwork related to tracking utilization is priceless for any off-road equipment fleet manager.
The more closely you can analyze your spending on a project, the more efficient your operations can be. Real-time and historical data can assist in job costing by providing objective results, which improves the bottom line for fleet managers and prevents unexpected expenses. Accuracy in projecting and monitoring costs is essential, not just for current jobs, but also for bidding on new contracts. Half the battle is collecting detailed, historical data on all aspects of a project, from materials and labor to vehicles and equipment.
IoT solutions for off-road equipment help fleet managers collect the information on equipment, vehicles, operators and tools required for estimating and managing job costs. The right fleet management tools provide access to advanced real-time equipment data that can help increase visibility, expose blind spots, and optimize fleet operations through more efficient cost management.
Unlike a simple GPS or telematics solution, an IoT solution is more than a single technology - it is a combination of sensors, devices, networks and software that work together to unlock valuable, actionable data. For instance, Parker’s IoT solution for off-road equipment works by creating a digital link from traditional on-machine networks to a secure Parker cloud, and then presents information via a brandable, customizable, easy to configure digital interface that provides full visibility and advanced data insights.
These different IoT enabled components are placed in the equipment's diagnostic port and use GPS and accelerometer technology to gather information in real-time. For instance, with GPS tracking and geofencing, a user can be alerted the moment a piece of heavy equipment leaves the job site or when equipment is being operated outside scheduled work hours. Furthermore, in the case of Parker’s Mobile IoT solution, there is a customizable, web-based dashboard that enables fleet managers to analyze the collected data and identify different trends in driver behavior, as well as other metrics such as:
- Fuel economy (idle times)
- Driver behavior (seat belt usage, over-revving, quick accelerating)
- Hours of service
- Maintenance records
- Warranty information
- Towing and hauling activity
- Tire tread
- General engine diagnostics that can be used for predictive maintenance
Access to this type of data has transformed the way fleet managers track and maintain company vehicles and equipment as well as how they manage drivers. With IoT technology, managers have complete visibility of their workforce, assets and costs. The visibility using data from an IoT solution for off-road fleet managers can reduce operating costs in the following areas:
- Maintenance and repair schedules: Proactively schedule and perform preventative maintenance and repairs
- Insurance premiums: Reduce or eliminate deductibles with geo-fencing alert capabilities
- Fuel tax refunds: Businesses that use fuel for off-road purposes are eligible for refunds on the federal level and by many state governments
- Job estimates: Improve billing accuracy by combining machine hours and fuel usages with labor costs from historical data
- Operator utilization: Improve the efficiency of equipment operators and identify bad habits to extend component lifecycles and reduce the frequency of preventative maintenance
- Theft: Eliminate unauthorized usage of vehicles with geo-fencing coupled with GPS as well as enhanced features such as remote shut-off capabilities
- Fuel consumption: Identify operator behavior that contributes to fuel wastage
- Productivity: Increase employee accountability by logging driver inefficiency
- Equipment utilization: Identify underused assets that they can divest or whether it’s time to invest in more equipment
Using sophisticated reporting tools and alerts available in an IoT solution for off-road equipment enables fleet managers to make faster decisions as well as help optimize routes, control workforce hours, integrate compliance tools, minimize regulatory violations and reduce fuel and maintenance costs. If the initial cost of procuring a monitoring system is giving you pause, think about the ROI you’ll get in the long run.
Delayed deliveries and slow service technicians will not only frustrate customers, but negative experiences can also cost you thousands in potential business. If you need help figuring out if an IoT solution like Parker’s Mobile IoT is right for your business, request a demo today.
Article contributed by Clint Quanstrom, IoT general manager, and Kyri McDonough, marketing communications manager, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
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