GPS systems have proven invaluable for mobile units by providing features like real-time fleet tracking, route optimization, and driver safety analytics. Most businesses report a rapid return on their investment in the technology.
GPS systems are also exceptionally valuable tools for construction companies that use expensive equipment and have valuable assets in the field. Keeping track of diverse assets in multiple locations (and with varying job requirements and strict deadlines) requires careful planning and long-term strategies.
However, plans can, and do, often go awry, and strategies need to be modified for unexpected mishaps with personnel, equipment failures, or even theft. Lengthy delays in a project’s timetable can be financially disastrous.
A construction equipment GPS system provides a unified platform that allows a manager to monitor all equipment 24/7, make changes on the fly, and stay within budget. The following are two important ways your construction equipment GPS system can save you money.
1. Fuel Consumption
Fuel consumption varies dramatically depending on a variety of factors, including engine size, vehicle type and design, and vehicle/equipment load weight. GPS systems give fleet managers essential information about fuel use in two major areas: driver/operator performance and maintenance issues. These two variables contribute significantly to whether fuel is being efficiently used or costs are just going up in smoke.
Rapid acceleration and speeding are behaviors that increase fuel usage. GPS tracking systems can monitor aggressive driving behaviors and speeding, and alert fleet managers to their occurrence, so that performance issues can be immediately addressed.
Some businesses report seeing up to 25% in savings in fuel consumption when aggressive driving habits were reduced. The operating RPM is another factor that should be considered when calculating fuel usage, since lower RPMs use substantially less gas.
Construction GPS systems help fleet managers know when vehicles and equipment are being used in the most efficient and effective manner for a job. For maximum fuel efficiency, the accelerator should be pressed gradually and gently, and then pressure should be increased without straining the engine.
Excessive idling is very costly. If just one gallon of diesel is burned in idle per day, over the course of a year for one unit, the cost could easily exceed $1,000. Multiply that amount by the numbers of operating vehicles and equipment in your fleet, and it becomes clear that excessive idling can significantly impact your bottom line. Large engines with big displacements burn fuel very quickly in idle, further increasing costs.
Unwarranted engine idling also shortens the life of construction equipment. Engines that are idling do not produce adequate heat for good combustion, and therefore deposits tend to build up along pistons and cylinder walls. These deposits contaminate the oil, triggering friction that deteriorates engine components. GPS tracking systems send alerts when a vehicle is idling, along with detailed reports about idling duration and history.
Improved fuel economy and properly maintained equipment are strongly linked, according to The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). One important capability of construction equipment GPS tracking systems is their ability to monitor predetermined maintenance intervals and provide consistent schedule alerts to fulfill proper maintenance checkups.
The report, published by NACFE, describes ten components of preventative maintenance that can bring about 30% to 50% savings in fuel consumption. These ten components include:
- Wheel alignment
- Engine cooling
- Engine oil and other lubricants
- Intake/exhaust system filters
- Air compressors
- Air conditioning
- Fuel filter systems
- Aerodynamic devices
- Electrical systems
2. Theft Prevention
Theft of contractor equipment is still a serious problem for the industry, and the total value of stolen equipment across the nation continues to rise annually. Add in the varied indirect costs attributable to equipment theft, such as project delays and short-term rental costs, and theft prevention strategies become significantly more important.
The construction industry is desirable for thieves for many reasons. There is a low recovery rate for stolen equipment and, often, little security at construction sites, particularly during off hours. Also, construction equipment and spare parts are in high demand.
Along with registering and securing equipment (when possible), tracking equipment is an important method to prevent or reduce theft.
Construction equipment GPS systems can alert fleet managers when any asset has left or entered a permitted area. Alerts can also be triggered if a vehicle moves during specific time periods. GPS systems can be linked with software that allows managers to remotely disable or enable a vehicle’s engine. If construction equipment has been stolen, its real-time location can be pinpointed by the GPS system, substantially increasing the odds of recovery.
While some expenses cannot be mitigated, others can be, and those may be costing you more than you think. A construction equipment GPS system allows you to take back control of minor and major details that impact your bottom line.