In industries around the world, technological advancements continue to bring greater cost and productivity efficiencies to business owners. Yet, in the construction industry, when it comes to non-destructive testing (NDT), many continue to use tools – pencil and paper – that were introduced hundreds of years ago to collect data that is vital to their businesses.  

Doing so costs heavy duty equipment owners countless man hours, ultimately impacting their bottom line. Given that, isn’t it well past the time for owners to begin taking advantage of the hardware and software innovations available to improve efficiencies across their fleet workforce, increase visibility into potential problems, and better manage ROI on what amounts to very large capital investments?

It’s no secret that fleet operators see the value in fleet management. As a result, shouldn’t it follow that they would want to update their undercarriage measurement and management technology to expedite information gathering and decision-making on critical fleet operations, maintenance and financials? 

It’s time to phase out the flip phones and even laptops and start focusing on long-life, multi-functional tablet devices and smartphones. This both reduces the cost of equipping a staff member and helps to minimize the risk of sensitive data loss when a laptop is lost or stolen. Today, most mobile data is cloud-based, and phones and tablets can be set to erase after a number of failed login attempts or remotely erased if necessary. Such capabilities offer tremendous peace of mind. 

Savings Realized

Dealers know they have siloed systems, so capturing and incorporating all information under one roof to provide more transparency and analytics to fleet systems is just common sense. Sports franchise owners and fantasy sports participants aren’t the only ones realizing the importance of data and analytics these days – heavy-duty construction equipment owners and sellers understand the impact and now want as much data in their hands as possible. 

For RECON Services – a national environmental remediation, geotechnical construction and civil construction contractor that has successfully completed more than 6,000 projects across North America – implementing the latest undercarriage measurement and management technology has resulted in improved equipment utilization, and more importantly, cost savings. 

“I recently used a complete mobile undercarriage inspection solution to inspect a rental return that should have had 50 percent life and instead was 90 percent burned up,” says Dave Wagner, equipment manager with RECON. “With the mobile solution, in 20 minutes I was able to achieve substantial savings for our organization.”

Fast and Accurate

When testing heavy construction equipment, you don’t want to sacrifice accuracy for speed. With state-of-the-art technology, you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Operators can gather accurate measurements more quickly – projects that traditionally took 45 minutes to an hour can now be done in 20 minutes. Best of all, those measurements can be aggregated to determine how much longer a machine can be used before maintenance is required. Such information is vital to all stakeholders. 

Accelerated data gathering and entry offers greater opportunities to increase the number of sales, thanks to the expedient delivery of reports – giving operators a broad and immediate overview of how the entire fleet is performing.   

“Facts and data are what we use to assist in lowering owning and operating costs, which allows us to gain the trust of all stakeholders and ultimately make better decisions,” says Mike Kucharski, product support sales manager with MacAllister Machinery, a leading heavy equipment supplier. “Today’s technology allows customers to know and manage the financial impact in real-time.”

Updating undercarriage measurement and management technology comes with immediate benefits, as well as long-term potential benefits that have yet to be realized. Aside from shortening the inspect-quote-repair loop – a frustrating experience all around – and reducing the cost per hour to operate a machine, long-term data collection will provide insights into wear patterns and trends that will directly inform the purchasing decisions and suitability of particular equipment for a given application. 

On top of the obvious benefits, one of the benefits that is hardest to measure is the impact on field service morale from having the latest technology at hand. Everyone wants to work for the “cool” company and not the one with the caliper while your competitor is working with an iPad and souped-up software applications that make data collecting so much easier. 

With an understanding that change isn’t always easy – especially when seeking to integrate technological improvements – seek out a solution that will appeal to your workforce demographic. If possible, implement a product that is comfortable for most, if not all, of your labor force demographics. 

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