So, are you looking for a heavy equipment fleet management software for your heavy equipment fleet? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This article covers all there is to know about equipment management solutions for construction.
We hope you find this article early in your research efforts, as you’ll likely come across many providers offering heavy equipment fleet tracking while you search. How do you know which one is right for your team and your business?
Since we assume you are visiting us early in your buying journey, we’ll start with some quick, but important hints and research tips before we dive into the details around heavy equipment fleet management.
Hint #1. Ensure the provider has a sole focus on construction.Beware of tracking providers that simply say “yes, we track heavy equipment.” If it’s not clear from the moment you land on their website that they track heavy construction equipment only, then they’re not for you. If they’re tracking heavy construction equipment in addition to a fleet of school buses, limousines, police fleets, and other non-construction focused assets, move along.
Why? Because their product is not focused on you, the contractor. If the product is not solely focused on the construction industry, then the provider is not solely focused on the uniqueness and nuances of construction that matter to your business. Behind the scenes, the designers and developers are building systems that are all things to everyone and not specifically for construction needs and your teams on the front lines. Also, the support representatives will not be fully knowledgeable on what you need in the system. These providers are spread too thin and can’t offer you a total construction solution. In theory, sure, GPS tracking devices can be used for a variety of asset types, but there’s so much more to it than that.
Hint #2: Ensure the system supports all assets in your fleet.You’ll also want to make sure the system tracks more than just heavy equipment. But wait – didn’t we just say to make sure the provider tracks heavy equipment only? We did, but in addition to using a provider that does heavy equipment tracking for construction, you’ll want one that supports the rest of the assets in your fleet such as mid-sized and small assets (i.e. generators, light towers), heavy trucks and fleet vehicles, tools, parts, attachments (i.e. busters, fork sets, consumable inventory (i.e. supplies, materials), and so on, scattered about your yards, shop and jobsites. Whether or not you want or need to implement a total solution at once, it makes the most sense to implement a heavy equipment management software that can do a thing or two for the rest of your stuff. It’s the most efficient move you can make to ensure you’re pursuing a single-platform system that can work for your whole fleet (as well as your whole business, but more on that later).
Keeping those two important investigative tips under your belt, we’ll let you get on with your heavy equipment management system research. Or read on for more valuable information and insights below.
Heavy Equipment Fleet Software Features to Look For
Now that we’ve covered how it works, and the hardware devices you’ll need to track your heavy equipment with, we’ll get into the features and functionality you should look for in a heavy equipment fleet software to bring value to your heavy equipment fleet management workflows and, really, your whole construction business.
Software allows you to digitize and automate your heavy equipment fleet management processes, taking them from pen and paper, white boards and spreadsheets to your phone or computer and streamline your workflows for efficiency.
Without a system to aid in heavy equipment management, you’re simply not doing it as well as you could be. Not knocking on the good old spreadsheet or saying that didn’t get the job done, but just because that’s the way you’ve always done it doesn’t mean it’s still the right way. Technology has given us a much simpler, automated, more efficient, further reaching, and all-around better way of managing your equipment now, and it’s a solution that really makes sense for us as an industry.
If you’re just starting out on your heavy equipment management technology journey, you’re jumping in at a great time because there are providers today that offer heavy equipment management systems built specifically for the construction industry, and that’s where the real value is for you. As noted earlier, these are also the only systems you really want to consider for this process.
Below are a few of the main features and functions we’ve chosen to highlight that a good heavy equipment fleet software for contractors should include because, as you’ll remember, its more than just location. For a fuller list, try this resource.
Heavy Equipment Maintenance
A good heavy equipment management system will offer a heavy equipment maintenance program.
Obviously, in your construction business, your crews are in the field. You need a high-functioning, no-nonsense Heavy equipment maintenance solution and preferably one that incorporates a heavy equipment maintenance app that connects your field teams to your shop teams seamlessly from the jobsite for transparent communication to get your maintenance and service needs taken care of. A good provider will couple their maintenance functionality with your heavy equipment GPS tracking app for an efficient, full solution for your construction operations.
From the shop’s perspective, your fleet manager and mechanic team uses the app to stay informed of maintenance that is upcoming so they know which machine needs service and when, can coordinate uptime and downtime with the project teams accordingly, and can pre-plan to supply projects with substitute assets as needed to ensure equipment gets serviced on time while projects stay unimpacted. They also use it to receive service and repair requests from the field and share progress updates with project teams.
The field teams can use the app to submit detailed repair requests, see which machines may be down for maintenance and see the status of work orders against assets they need. This is great to have in addition to their standard heavy equipment tracking and inventory management needs.
Bonus points if the system incorporates heavy equipment inspections that can be completed on the app in the field and automatically connect to a maintenance request if something is wrong. This combo is a win-win: your team can easily complete inspections to make sure the machines are operating safely, and issues get floated to the shop automatically for quick attention. This helps your teams avoid future breakdowns due to excess wear and tear without adequate service and improve overall safety for your operators (and your safety record).
A heavy equipment fleet management system would simply not be complete without a utilization feature. Utilization is critical to effectively managing your equipment fleet.
A system that shows utilization for individual assets that can also roll up to each project is insightful and gives you tremendous visibility and control over the way your fleet assets are operated and how many hours they routinely log.
Beyond normal operations, it can help you make informed business decisions about what really needs to be in your fleet and what can be liquidated to offset other costs. For example, understanding utilization helps:
- avoid excess rentals
- automate maintenance by scheduling maintenance activities on a utilization-based scale
- get equipment off the jobsite that is racking up costs for your project
- get underutilized machines out of your fleet and off the balance sheet
Make sure the system you choose allows you to view utilization at the asset and project level, and also run customized reports for targeted utilization data.
No heavy equipment management software is a true solution without integrations with other heavy civil construction software. More and more integrations are being developed based on contractor requests to share data between the systems they rely on and have invested money and time in.
There are two main types of integrations that are beneficial to have in a heavy equipment management system:
- OEM/AEMP Integrations. If you own and operate heavy equipment, it’s possible that some of your manufacturers are already collecting telematic data on your machines on their own systems. You’ll want a heavy equipment fleet tracking system that supports OEM/AEMP integrations so you can consolidate all your fleet tracking data onto one system for ease and efficiency. An OEM integration feeds AEMP data from one heavy equipment management software to another. So, if your fleet is made up of a mix of CAT, Komatsu, John Deere, Volvo or other manufacturer that maintains telematic data for you, you’ll want it to feed into your main heavy equipment tracking software so you can see that data alongside the data for the rest of your construction fleet assets.
- Heavy Civil Construction Software The various teams in your construction business likely use multiple different types of heavy civil construction software in their daily routines, from project management systems to ERP and accounting systems, to other software platforms for maintenance or other functions. Heavy equipment management software should be able to speak to these other systems to support the sharing of heavy equipment data to other teams who need it for operational or financial visibility. In addition to OEM/AEMP integrations, look for a system that supports ERP/Accounting System integrations, project management integrations, maintenance integrations and other Software as a Service (SaaS) integrations.
Speaking To a Heavy Equipment Management Software Provider
So, now that you’ve learned the basics about heavy equipment management, you’re ready to begin reaching out to Heavy equipment management software providers to get an inside look at their system. That’s great! You are armed with the right things to look for based on the above discussion.
We have a few more tips as you get ready to talk further with providers you uncover during your research. Before you can get on board with a heavy equipment tracking system, make sure of two things that are key to getting started with implementation:
- Your provider knows what heavy equipment is, what kind of data it gives, etc. and that they have the correct hardware to generate the information you want to see.
- Your provider’s installation mechanics know the ins and outs of specific pieces of heavy equipment, what the difference is and nuances are between different types of machines, and how their trackers should work with each piece in your unique fleet. Word of caution: If they use third-party installers, run away!
These are good questions to ask when you are doing your system demos to make sure your implementation gets off on the right foot. If you fail here, your chances of long-term success are slim.
A final parting thought.
Just like we noted in the intro, when the system is designed and fully built for construction, the benefits you glean and your overall experience using an equipment management platform will be night and day compared to using a basic tracking system for all types of assets. You want a partner, not just a provider, and you’ll only get that connection with a provider that can speak your language and know your industry inside and out.
Beyond just heavy equipment fleet tracking, a heavy equipment fleet software built for construction offers a lot of valuable data about the workings and performance of your equipment fleet that other systems don’t offer (because they don’t know what you need to know).
Without the contextual construction knowledge, other systems provide tracking data in a “one size fits all” fashion which doesn’t translate well to construction or requires extra steps to make sense of it all and apply it to construction businesses. Without a purpose-built system, data reports will require extra steps to interpret and apply to your operations or other construction business office workflows.
You could use a generic system, but you’re not going to see great results.
We love talking with contractors about these topics and we’re experts in tracking heavy equipment, so we welcome any questions you might have. Book a Demo with one of our consultants to get your questions answered today.
About Jose Cueva
Jose applies his knowledge and first-hand construction experience to deliver innovative platform solutions to a growing number of companies. His involvement in both architecting solutions and delivering them enables him to cross over functional roles.