Finding your fleet

Three reasons why telematics is important for the construction industry. By Helena Ferraro

According to construction industry knowledge base, Designing Buildings, construction output in the UK is more than £110 billion per annum and contributes seven per cent to the GDP. This is no small contribution, yet the sector faces many challenges, including a worker shortage and rising fuel costs.

It is therefore becoming increasingly important to adapt to the changing economic environment in order for businesses in the industry to remain innovative and profitable. Considering that an integral part of the construction industry is vehicle-centric, such as moving equipment on and between sites, and for actual building operations, adopting and integrating telematics technologies and services can play a key role in shaping this transition. From a construction industry perspective, telematics can certainly benefit machinery fleets and vehicles, both on- and off-site, in helping to achieve more streamlined, profitable operations that are safe, compliant and responsible.

What is telematics?
Telematics is rooted in three independent modern technology advancements; machine-tomachine (M2M) communications, GPS and the internet. It goes as far back as the 1960s when the US Department of Defense first developed GPS systems to track asset positions and improve communication in the battlefield.

Where does telematics fit into construction?
Today telematics is highly sophisticated and a vital part of fleet management across a wide range of sectors, with efficiency benefits that extend to analysing routes and journeys to save time and money, while facilitating safety and compliance.

Here’s how telematics works to benefit the construction industry:
Safety and compliance
Health and safety is a major priority for both company owners and managers, irrespective of the type of construction business in which they operate – nobody can afford to overlook their safety and compliance procedures in this sector. All construction companies have a legal responsibility to undertake regular risk assessments, but they also have a duty of care to their employees. Installing GPS tracking systems improves both the safety of the staff and safety of the asset. With 360 vision available through CCTV, site managers are able to witness any malpractice and monitor their workforce in order to encourage safety on site. Some construction companies even use CCTV on their machinery to help the machines manoeuvre through the site.

The development of advanced telemetry has created the ability to monitor how compliant a construction company is. With telematics solutions such as service breach alerts and Power Take Off (PTO) usage reports, construction managers nationwide are able to be proactive instead of reactive and ensure their plant hire is being used in line with the Construction Products Association (CPA) terms. This type of visibility can help managers identify any repeat breaches and improve the company’s overall compliance.

Asset protection
Expensive machinery and materials that are left on construction sites are easy targets for opportunistic thieves. In most circumstances the chance of recovering a piece of stolen machinery without the use of tracking software is minimal. GPS tracking is often used in the plant and construction industry to ensure that there is a better chance of the assets being recovered. By using a small, inconspicuous piece of tamperproof tracking hardware, many construction managers can quickly notify law enforcement of the machine’s location.

Asset management
Telematics also allows for easy asset management by allowing fleet managers to monitor the fleet’s inspections, collections and deliveries, as well as any out of hours’ usage for a company’s specific plant and machinery. This allows them to track how they are being utilised, highlight where the use of machinery is not being optimised, and assess the total usage of the machinery.

The construction industry is extremely important to the economy. Taking advantage of telematics solutions can support and help the industry adapt for change in the face of evolving work environments and increasingly tighter safety and compliance regulations.

Helena Ferraro is Group Marketing Manager at Verilocation. Verilocation offers a wide range of vehicle tracking solutions aimed at improving the efficiency and productivity of its customers’ fleet operations. Thriving off the challenges that the modern-day logistics and services industry brings, Verilocation provides forward-thinking solutions to help customers achieve greater operational efficiencies.

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