Telematics systems are a relatively new addition to heavy equipment like excavators and bulldozers. Telematics systems are basically remote monitoring systems for construction and mining equipment. The technology allows construction and mining businesses to monitor machine usage, capture data on the overall health and performance of the machine, track life cycle of individual parts, plan maintenance schedules, and more.
Telematics are diverse across manufacturers
Each manufacturer that offers a telematics system delivers different features and benefits, and markets their technology under a different name. Komatsu, for instance, offers a telematics system known as KOMTRAX, which is factory integrated into their equipment.
In order for you to make the most out of this technology, it is important to first understand the many features they offer, and the steps you can take to ensure optimal performance – and benefit – from your telematics system.
The benefits of telematics systems
Telematics systems can vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, most systems will offer the same or similar core functionality and benefits. For this discussion, we’ll use KOMTRAX as our example. Remember, your equipment’s telematics system may offer different features or functionality.
KOMTRAX uses cellular or an optional satellite-based connection to capture and transmit data from your equipment. The system offers:
- On-demand, live reporting of equipment status
- Real-time equipment health monitoring, including performance and energy consumption statistics for individual equipment and your fleet as a whole
- Customizable dashboards and reporting of historical data, allowing you to track the specific statistics you are most interested in
These features greatly help reduce downtime by enabling proactive maintenance of equipment. The information the system provides also makes it much easier to manage individual job sites and allocate equipment based on productivity and efficiency metrics. For example, if you compile your data and find that a piece of equipment is struggling to keep pace with the rest of a project, you can assign a second piece of equipment to the job to pick up the slack, Conversely, the data might show that two pieces of the same equipment on the same job site are unnecessary, allowing you to reassign one to a different project.
Komatsu offers their KOMTRAX system as a complimentary service to their equipment owners. This is not always the case with every manufacturer.
Make the most of your telematics system
In order for telematics systems to be truly worthwhile, it’s important to make the effort to ensure your organization is using them in the right way.
Configure your systemFirst, configure your system to your specific needs. These systems offer a wide range of features and functionality and are often very flexible. Set up the system to transmit and track the specific data that you need or want. This helps to ensure that your reports contain the information that is most critical to your operational planning.
Know your dataSecond, know how to use the data the system captures. Data alone isn’t all that valuable, it’s what you can do with it that makes it really worthwhile. Learn how to interpret the data and apply it to your business, whether that’s in operational planning or proactive maintenance scheduling.
Keep up-to-dateThird, stay on top of the data at all times. Checking your telematics system’s data once in a while is fine, but it’s much better to maintain continual awareness of equipment performance and other KPIs. Run reports at regular intervals to track performance changes over time. Adjust your dashboards and reporting as necessary to meet your changing data requirements and goals.
Integrate your systemsFourth, find ways to integrate the data from different telematics systems. If your equipment fleet consists of various equipment brands, you are likely capturing data through multiple telematics systems. Talk to your equipment manufacturers about integrating systems, or leverage a third-party data management platform to consolidate all of the different data streams into one.
Finally, remember that help is available. Each manufacturer likely offers support for their telematics systems. Komatsu, for example, offers hands-on demonstrations, an on-demand webinar and other great resources to help users make the most of KOMTRAX. Leverage these resources to their fullest.
The experts at Road Machinery & Supplies Co. can also help you understand the benefits and best practices for working with your telematics system. Give us a call to learn more about putting telematics systems to work for your business.
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