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What to ask When You’re Switching Telematics Software Providers

Whether you’ve been using a factory-installed telematics solution or a third-party solution that your business has outgrown—the time may come when you need more capability out of your fleet and asset management platform and need an upgrade. There are hundreds of solutions on the market with varying degrees of capabilities, tailored to a variety of industry needs. In order to make the best decision for your operation, a careful evaluation of your business requirements is needed. The most common considerations we hear from our customers are around three key areas: Mixed-fleet capability, actionable data, and ease of use and scalability. 

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Six Important Questions to ask When Switching Telematics Software

Mixed-Fleet Capability

1 - What kinds of assets do you want to monitor and track?

  • You may have a mixed fleet of on and off-highway vehicles and equipment, or you may have assets from a variety of manufacturers. Your fleet could also be a mix of company owned assets and rental equipment. Your projects and jobsites are an ever-changing mix of workers, vehicles, and equipment. If this is the case, the ability to actively monitor many types of assets will be an important factor for your business.
    • Here are a few examples of what our customers track across their fleet
      • Equipment and vehicle location
      • Attachments and non-powered asset location
      • Engine hours and running status
      • Movement history
      • Equipment operator history
      • Vehicle mileage and driver history
      • Inspection and maintenance history

2 - What should you expect from a solution that supports mixed-fleet operations?

  • Many solutions boast mixed-fleet capability, but that can mean a lot of different things. Consider your current fleet, but also how you see your business scaling in the future. For example, do you envision your business increasing the percentage of rental versus company owned equipment? Or do you have plans to expand your truck fleet and driver teams, so you have less dependence on contract haulers?
    • Here are a few examples of more complex mixed-fleet requirements
      • Rental equipment location and engine hours
      • Monitoring assets from multiple manufacturers in one interface
      • A variety of telematics hardware options to connect different types of assets
      • Driver behavior and safety metrics for trucks and vehicles
      • Driver compliance with electronic logging mandates
      • Vehicle incident reporting and video capture

Actionable Data

3 - What data do you need to make better decisions on each project?

  • From understanding your fleet’s fuel utilization to minimizing downtime or on-road incidents, it’s important that the telematics solution you choose is able to provide you the data that makes the biggest impact to your business.
    • Here are a few examples of the types of data telematics software can provide from your equipment and vehicles
      • Fuel and fluid levels
      • Fuel utilization
      • Idle time and run time
      • Health and fault warnings
      • Geofence entry/exit alerts
      • Upcoming maintenance alerts
      • Harsh accelerations and braking history
      • Speed limit violation alerts and history

4 - What data-informed actions are important for your business?

  • Having complete and accurate data is one thing, but being able to turn that data into critical insights for your operation is another. When you can make informed and timely decisions for your operation, you will be one step closer to minimizing downtime, maximizing uptime, and taking your productivity to the next level.
    • Here are a few examples of the process improvements our customers have put into place based on telematics data
      • Proactive fleet maintenance planning
      • Optimized equipment and vehicle allocation across sites
      • Efficient refueling and lube runs
      • Coordinated equipment pickups and deliveries to sites
      • Truck and loader matching for material hauling
      • Advance warning of possible equipment failure
      • Remote diagnosis and minimized downtime for unplanned repairs
      • Rental versus purchase decisions based on utilization needs

Ease of Use and Scalability 

5 - Can your telematics solution scale with your business and from project to project?

  • For a newly implemented telematics solution to be successful, it needs to be easy to configure and use. As you grow your team and your business, you’ll need to add more users and more assets to the organization. This process should be an easy one.
    • Here are a few examples of what you should expect out of telematics software 
      • An easy-to-use and intuitive user interface
      • The ability to quickly and easily configure your operation, and add new jobsites, drivers, vehicles and equipment
      • The ability to integrate with multiple manufacturer telematics data feeds
      • Actionable dashboards and reports that you can configure based on your business needs
      • A cloud based application with the ability to run on any type of desktop or mobile device
      • A variety of telematics hardware options to connect different types of assets
      • Online training and tutorials, and a responsive support team
      • Simple subscription and billing options that bundle hardware, software, and data services into one monthly or annual payment

6 - Is your telematics solution part of a bigger operating system?

  • In order to maximize productivity over time, you’ll likely want and need greater control into each phase of the construction process. Many telematics solutions are solid solutions for asset tracking, but that is also what they are limited to. Considering a solution that easily plugs into a bigger set of offerings, can help give you visibility into everything from managing your fleet to monitoring job site productivity and project cost.
    • Here are a few examples of the power behind a telematics solution that is part of a broader suite of construction software
        • Each project connected through common jobsite boundaries and definitions across solutions
        • One dashboard to monitor productivity, predict downtime and maximize uptime across all your sites
        • Integrated site design, survey, and as-built information
        • Real-time cut, fill, volume, and compaction data
        • Live daily volume and compaction quality metrics
        • Ability to adjust daily work targets at each site to stay on schedule
        • Accurate site and project cost rollups based on utilization
        • Accurate takeoff and cost estimates for future bids

There is a lot to consider when choosing the right software for your construction operation. The good news is that the technology keeps improving, the data keeps getting more accurate, and the capabilities keep broadening. What this means for you is that once you find a provider that shares the same vision of how construction management software should work, you'll be on the same roadmap to adapt and grow with that vision.