Further InSight (Blog)

Construction Focus: Using Mobile Applications to Improve Asset Tracking and Utilization

Construction projects require a large number of assets to be mobilized, deployed, and managed at the job site. This includes pickup trucks and other light vehicles, “yellow iron” assets like bulldozers, excavators, compressors, light towers—and all of the resources required to support them.

Keeping track of construction equipment and vehicles at job sites is a persistent challenge, because assets are always moving and the industry has yet to see widespread implementation of sophisticated digital tools. Paper forms and conventional “dots-on-a-map” GPS tracking solutions have always left gaps in the intelligence required to manage a construction site efficiently.

However, rapid growth in the adoption and capabilities of mobile devices is helping to close those gaps by providing an effective way to capture and analyze real-time data covering location, status, availability, and maintenance conditions for all construction assets.

Tracking Construction Equipment Is a Complex Many-to-One Relationship

At any given time, a company could have thousands of assets moving between job sites without any real-time accountability. To find out where a piece of equipment is and what it has been doing, a supervisor might have to make five phone calls or wait for a paper report to hit their desk at the end of the week—and hope that the information they’re getting is accurate.

Typical GPS tracking solutions can show where an asset is at the moment, but fail to answer critical questions about utilization and performance. If a bulldozer needs to be deployed to three separate sites on the same day, the crews waiting for the asset need more than simple location data. They need a complete picture, including:

  • Status: If the asset is still at the previous job site, is it ready to move or still in use?
  • Condition: Is it ready to perform the next job and when will it need maintenance?

Meanwhile, management needs to be able to continuously review how assets are being utilized in the field. If the equipment is sitting behind a garage most of the day or delivering sub-optimal performance due to unaddressed maintenance issues, these inefficiencies will quickly eat away at the company’s profit margin.

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Real-Time Intelligence for Job Costing and Resource Management

Construction projects generally require upfront estimation of costs so companies can submit accurate bids—and there’s never much wiggle room once the contract is signed. This means successful companies have to monitor their expenses carefully throughout the process.

On the job site, there is ample supervision: because the foreman is standing there, he can see what is happening and document it. However, he can’t capture the time a driver left a plant with a hot mix of asphalt, or track the truck’s route to the job site, or record exactly how long he waited until actually dispensing the mix into the paver. All of this detail has to be estimated and compiled later—leading to inaccuracy and inflated costs.

Mobile technology can document that information digitally, either with automated data capture or easy-to-use manual applications. This enables the organization to analyze the whole life cycle of the project and all the activities with associated costs.

Digitizing Workflows and Streamlining Operations

In the commercial marketplace, tracking time and location data for mobile resources is still a relatively young technology. InSight Mobile Data has been in the business since GPS was first introduced for commercial use in the late 90s—and we’ve experienced the development and the evolution of the technology far beyond its original capabilities.

Today it’s easy to put a dot on the map where a truck or bulldozer is located—but this doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. By tracking equipment utilization and performance data in addition to location, StreetEagle provides the complete intelligence that construction companies need to achieve efficiency and accountability at the job site.

At InSight, we understand that every successful company has its own “secret sauce”—and we don’t want to mess with the recipe. The StreetEagle platform is built on flexible applications that can be customized to mirror your company’s existing processes and paper forms. By digitizing your workflows and enhancing them with easy-to-use mobile tools, we make the transition as seamless as possible and help your organization start operating more efficiently right away.

Contact us to learn more about how StreetEagle can give you a strategic edge on your next project.