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How does the construction industry use GPS tracking?

By Verizon Connect Team April 9, 2024

Most people were introduced to GPS many years ago via portable dashboard devices that guided drivers with turn-by-turn directions. But the technology has evolved to offer far more benefits than simple navigation.

In fact, GPS tracking is now an extremely valuable, multi-faceted business tool for construction companies. It helps them track and manage their construction equipment, from towers and mobile cranes to earth moving equipment, service vehicles and heavy trucks. Beyond that, GPS tracking is often used for all types of assets that are expensive or difficult to replace, such as generators and compressors, as a key component of heavy equipment management programs.

How does GPS asset tracking work?

So how exactly does an asset get tracked? Here are the basics:

  • A small GPS tracking device is installed on the asset, usually in about 15 minutes. Tracking devices for commercial fleets and construction equipment are designed to withstand use on rugged terrain and are sealed from the elements. They can handle a wide range of temperatures and rough working conditions. In most cases, the GPS device will use the equipment’s power source; however, battery-powered asset trackers which do not require an outside power source are also available.
  • For hardware with its own power source, such as vehicles, bulldozers and cranes, the asset tracker can be wired directly so a wealth of usage information, such as engine hours utilized, can be gathered. Age of equipment does not matter, and even older construction hardware can be outfitted with a tracker.
  • The device is registered with a fleet management platform program. Information that identifies the device is recorded so the right signals are matched in the database to the correct piece of equipment.
  • The construction equipment tracker will transmit status updates when certain events are triggered (such as starting the engine) as well as location updates at regular intervals.
  • The equipment appears on the dashboard of the GPS tracking software showing its location and status (e.g., idle, off-duty, moving, etc.).

How does a fleet manager use GPS tracking information?

Fleet managers using a fleet management platform with vehicles and assets to oversee a large array of equipment don’t have the time to weed through a high volume of status updates to find the actionable information they need. 

For example, Verizon Connect Fleet can instantly parse the huge amount of data being generated from a few or thousands of tracked assets and give managers the specific insights they need. The solution has a one-screen dashboard that pinpoints all the assets on a map. From there, a manager can zoom in on a particular asset for more detail or review reports and alerts.

This is also where customers can see dashcam data from Verizon Connect’s Cloud AI (Video Analytics Engine) to gain additional context about exactly how the equipment is being used as its movements are tracked via GPS. In this way, managers can quickly obtain the insights needed to make informed decisions for deploying and safeguarding their drivers and vehicles. 

Fleet managers can configure customized alerts to make sure their construction GPS systems provide the data that’s most relevant to them on any given project. Here are a few examples of how exceptions and customized alerts help managers make sense of the huge amount of GPS tracking data that is collected.  

Hours of service

Asset tracking enables operators to record engine start and stop times. The fleet management platform can also record which employee was assigned to the crane so managers can easily monitor an employee’s working time. 

This allows managers to track whether crane operators are complying with relevant HOS rules and simplifies compliance at the site. Any exceptions are highlighted on the dashboard and management reports for easy review.

Asset battery status

Monitoring the battery levels of hundreds to thousands of asset trackers, one-by-one, is time consuming and cumbersome. Fleet managers who work with advanced asset tracking technologies can monitor all the battery levels of all their asset trackers at once, in near-real time,  instead of checking each tracker individually.

With this, they save time and they know when an asset tracker needs to be replaced ensuring the continued protection of the asset. Also, fleet managers identify which asset trackers batteries are starting to run low well in advance in order to pre–plan maintenance schedules.

Safe driving speeds

Some forklifts become dangerous when driven over a certain speed. A fleet manager needs to know if they are being driven dangerously as part of their construction equipment safety program. That way, workers can be given appropriate training, helping to protect the company’s safety record.

A customized GPS asset tracking alert can be set up for a specific asset speed, triggering an alert when there is a speeding incident. For fleet managers on the move, these alerts can be sent to an iPhone or other connected device.

Complying with construction working hours

Here’s a common issue in heavy equipment management: a company has a contract to construct a new building in a remote city. It is required by local laws to only work at certain times and on specified days to avoid disrupting residents. It’s critical for the firm to comply with these requirements to avoid bad publicity, costly fines and losing the chance to bid for future work in the area. 

While the city is located several hundred kilometers away, the company wants to monitor the fleet’s activity closely to make sure they are complying with these local legal requirements. Enter vehicle and asset tracking in a fleet management platform. 

Managers can group all the vehicles, machinery and other equipment on the site that are required to adhere to the allowable working hours into a single team. Then, they can configure a single GPS tracking alert for the whole team that notifies them whenever any equipment in this team is being operated outside of the allowed hours, so they can contact the foreman for an explanation and adjustment.

Past, present and future of fleet management

As construction companies evaluate construction fleet management platforms to determine their best GPS tracker for heavy equipment as well as vehicles, these examples show how such assets can be effectively tracked to make management easier. Beyond the ability to monitor equipment for compliance and security from unauthorized use, GPS tracking provides historical data as well, which can assist with accurate billing, timesheet verification and even better warranty recovery.

Data can also be used for planning future heavy equipment management, including costing new jobs, determining projected ROI or setting work schedules. Managers can use it to keep track of maintenance or get notifications when insurance or licenses need renewing.

Accurate, reliable, and designed for construction equipment tracking 

Verizon Connect has valuable know-how and experience in fleet management and tracking of remote and mobile fleet assets. A wide range of construction equipment can be monitored and managed, including older machines that can be installed with GPS technology and tracking.

For fleet managers, having that sort of control over their construction equipment means peace of mind even at long distances.

Verizon Connect Team

We drive a connected world in constant motion! We automate, optimise and revolutionise the way people, vehicles and things move around the world.

Tags: Cost control

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