It's true to say the UK construction industry faces a tricky landscape to navigate. The ongoing threat of theft and vandalism remains very real, with the cost exceeding the 2020 figure of £800 million by the end of this year, as well as shouldering the financial burden of rising fuel and material costs.
But with margins already so tight in construction, ABAX UK is increasingly aware that telematics is one of the sector's go-to routes to combat the risk theft poses.
There is another important change within the industry; the Connected and Autonomous Plant (CAP), first of its kind scoring system. National Highways recently unveiled and demonstrated the new standardised scoring system, which is based on a machinery's level of automation, at this year's Futureworx event.
Visitors to the industry event received a first look at the CAP framework, which will offer clarity and a clear way to compare different types of machinery to suit different tasks, and which ABAX believe will revolutionise decision-making in the industry.
It also highlights the growing acceptance of new technology and software as well as changing attitudes within the sector. The CAP introduction is one element of a wider process when it comes to turning data into information and information into decisions in construction and heavy plant.
Information allows for better decision making
Plant and construction machinery tracking, via telematics, is something the sector is already familiar with. Its use has been somewhat one-dimensional until recently, successfully combating high theft rates, aiding recovery post theft and increasing visibility of machinery usage and tool location.
However, the capabilities of telematics solutions such as ABAX has become complex with in-built machinery tracking leading to sites no longer having to juggle different types of brand-specific tracking software at any given time.
When used and utilised efficiently, tracking has huge potential, not only in reducing thefts but in helping to monitor fuel consumption and machinery usage.
As with any tool, it needs to be time efficient, as well as holistic to be of value. A good starting point is to consider what information the construction industry needs to collate to generate impactful outcomes.
Multiple systems for mixed fleets can be a drain on resources
If your fleet consists of one piece of plant or machinery or multiple pieces from one OEM, you have a smooth ride ahead. However, in reality, most construction or plant hire companies are operating mixed OEM fleets.
While each piece has its own fantastic software solution, a mixed fleet means that you are required to use multiple systems, logins, passwords, as well as the time and resource to collate the data from each system and find a unified way to report and analyse the information.
That's not to say there isn't a consistent standard across these systems, but what happens if you have machines that aren't covered by the ISO data standard, or other assets such as vehicles and tools? They refer to this as asset compatibility.
True and full visibility over mixed OEM fleets can impact your bottom line
Construction firms can often run into difficulties over asset location, particularly when operating fleets that include vehicles, plant and tools. Logistical challenges arise over staff delivering or collecting items, arriving on site with the right tools and equipment, quickly locating and collecting misplaced tools across sites.
Today, asset tracking is not only a good idea, but business critical. It saves the cost of replacing lost tools and time for searching, additional travelling to depots or merchants, and project delays.
With asset compatibility and asset location in mind, ABAX created ABAX Smart Connect. This is a software solution that provides businesses with full control over a mixed OEM fleet, all while reducing risk and increasing efficiency, and importantly, being incredibly user friendly.
ABAX Smart Connect complies with ISO 15143, connecting data across your ENTIRE fleet from assets both with and without OEM connectivity. This includes all types of plant and machinery, vehicles and tools, to give you instant access to a sustainable, consistent format that allows for easy analysis.
All of this happens in one platform with one interface, one log in and one set of reports that pull together information that covers a range of information points.
With all the data you need in one platform you can easily see fuel consumption, spotting potential cost-drainers like unnecessarily idling machinery.
On average, ABAX tracking solutions save users 18.5 per cent on fuel costs alone. Staff punctuality can also be improved, saving you admin time and costs of overclaimed timesheets. Finally, plant and machinery usage can be monitored too, so you can quickly identify issues and keep an eye on servicing and maintenance intervals.
Rapid plant hire visibility
Plant hire businesses can benefit hugely from the technology, gaining greater visibility over an entire fleet while also being able to confirm details of plant and machinery for customers, saving countless admin hours.
This greater visibility also ensures that the high-value plant fleet is all where it should be, helping to reduce theft. Telematics is one of the sector's go-to routes to combat the risk theft poses, particularly with margins already so tight in hire & rental.
GPS tracking devices brings live positional updates every 60 seconds and are available 24/7, with customisable geofences and usage reports also to hand, allowing construction sites and plant hire companies complete visibility of assets.
Finally, companies can use the software for accurate usage logs for invoicing and maximising the value of each asset while on hire.
Realising the full potential of telematics with just one screen
Imagine trying to track plant and machinery in a theft situation across multiple platforms. Not only does is become a lot to juggle, but there is a greater chance that some misplaced or stolen items could remain untracked, leading to financial loss.
This is where Smart Connect brings huge benefit to sites and companies managing multiple brands of plant and machinery. The in-built telematics technology can still be utilised, but Smart Connect can save time and reduce any risk of error by pulling all the vital data needed to have visibility over the entire fleet in one platform.
By harnessing technology to do the 'heavy lifting' of tracking, monitoring and reporting on all of the assets with the right information, companies are more equipped to meet business needs such as improved efficiency as well as contractual and regularity obligations.
The power of telematics is critical for many businesses as margins remain tight in the current climate.
If you're looking for a solution that will save admin time, simplify plant and machinery tracking and help you realise the full potential telematics can bring, from cost-savings through to reduced fuel consumption, to better visibility of equipment to combat the risk of theft, then a solution like Smart Connect could be perfect for your business.