Jordan Foster Construction is a general contractor that operates primarily across the state of Texas. They began their telematics journey in search of a solution to help them improve their current understanding and management of their equipment costs. Working across a large state, like Texas, requires a lot of faith that equipment is where it is supposed to be and is being used as it was intended (not just sitting unused).
“We got into telematics for better Fleet Management,” says Clint Henson, Jordan Foster’s Operations Manager in San Antonio, TX. “We wanted to track maintenance, utilization, keep up with service and repair costs, and track safety inspections. Telematics can drive all of that.”
For a 50-year-old construction company, they had experienced their fair share of fuel loss, and they were hoping that a telematics system could also help them understand how the equipment was being used or misused, and close in on where their fuel loss could be coming from.
While on track with their implementation of HCSS Telematics, an unexpected benefit occurred within their first year of installing their HCSS Telematics devices. One evening, on a weekend, a piece of equipment disappeared from a secured job site. The Telematics system alerted them of an irregularly timed movement of the equipment, and they were able to quickly dispatch authorities to the equipment’s exact location, and recover a potentially large cost to the job.
“A skid steer walked off a job on a Saturday evening, and we had it back in our possession on Tuesday. The Sheriff commented that this was the easiest recovery they’d ever made,” said Clint. “The theft protection was a side note for us. That being said, we returned about $59,000 right back to our pocket recovering that skid steer, and that was within the first year of using HCSS Telematics. We have a long way to go to be where we want to be in the system, but we have a plan to accomplish each goal, and we are already able to show an immediate return on investment.”
Not only did this incident reinforce the value of their newly implemented system, but it also encouraged Clint to increase his use of Telematics alerts, and to learn how to use more advanced features like plotting geographic fences around the job site in the software to alert entry and exit events after hours.
So How Does Telematics Work?
A basic telematics system is capable of using multiple satellites to provide the location, status, and movement of a piece of equipment. With the right software, that information can be used to evaluate equipment behavior, utilization, give meaning to fault codes, notice patterns, and protect equipment from irregular use or theft.
A small HCSS Telematics device can be inconspicuously installed on your equipment, and with a good line of sight to the sky, that device can determine your position using usually 9 different satellites. This level of accuracy can return a global position that could measure within 6 inches from your actual location. This precision is equivalent to 6 decimal places of latitude or longitude.
In this particular case, Jordan Foster had HCSS program their Telematics devices to actively request a ping of the equipment’s location every 4 minutes. The HCSS software allows you to set time parameters for working days and hours so that both movement and an ignition-on event outside those set hours can trigger an alert to you.
After being alerted of the movement, Clint and his office were able to keep track of the device, and where it was going for authorities. They could also check in on the device more often than the 4-minute ping by performing manual pings through the software until the unit stopped responding. At that point, the assumption was that the device was discovered and removed. They dispatched police to the last known coordinates, nearly 40 miles away from the job site. Without the quick and decisive reaction by the Jordan Foster Fleet team, and the automatic alerts from HCSS Telematics, they might not have recovered this equipment.
What Does it Take to Be Successful with Telematics?
Phillip Robinson, HCSS Telematics Technical Product Manager says that where most businesses increase their success with telematics is when they understand what business problem they want to solve. Being able to write down the goals, and your plan ahead often solidifies the purpose of the project for everyone involved. It is helpful to identify the people who need to be involved in the process and communicate the importance of their participation, so they can collectively help push the initiative forward.
When Jordan Foster began working with HCSS Professional Services to implement Telematics, they mapped out what their interaction would look like. “We have a long-term plan to get us to from 20% to 35% usage of the software, from 35% to 50%, and 50% to 80%,” says Clint. “Ultimately, three years down the road we plan on being able to use the software at a 95% level of what the software can do [leaving room to train for updates and new features that come along].”
Telematics Clarity is Addictive
One long-term benefit of Telematics is that it often reveals issues that you may not have known about. Jordan Foster found out with this incident that they could protect their equipment better from theft, and increase their chance of recovery. The unintended success encouraged Clint to increase the software alerting capabilities by drawing more accurate geofences around his jobs and setting up larger geofences to alert when equipment crosses certain borders.
Jordan Foster also realized that by being able to easily access reports on equipment utilization they could save time if they needed to find equipment from one site to be used on another.
“From an operational standpoint, Telematics has made it easier for us,” says Clint. “If I am running short on some equipment for a new job or another phase is starting on an existing job that requires a motor grader or a loader or an excavator, I know where I can move something from. In the past, I would have to call a job to find a particular excavator, and the project manager might respond, ‘I can’t let it go, I’ve got to have it.’ With Telematics reports, before I even make a phone call, I can see that that machine has run two hours in the last five days. My call is now, ‘I’m going to come pick up your 305.’ If the response is that they cannot do without it, I can show them it hasn’t been started in three days.”
Clint says engaging with their HCSS implementation team with a list of goals helps them use their training time wisely. They also log into the HCSS Academy regularly looking for new ways the program can help them that they did not originally imagine. His attitude and hunger to push the system further is encouraging and has spread to how his team evaluates how they are working.
“The team has gotten real effective at running their utilization. They look at all the big Iron, and discuss anything that they’re running under 80% utilization,” says Clint proudly. “They sit down as a team and look really hard at whether they can get rid of that piece, and save some money or not. Having the data makes them think through processes and understand things a little bit more. Our approach is -Let’s learn what it can do and figure out how it can help us.”
How Can I Learn More?
HCSS Support analysts create help articles for every new encounter with a topic. There is a library of thousands of these articles that were each used to solve a support call with other HCSS customers. If you cannot find what you are looking for, and it is taking you more than a few minutes, we have designated support for Telematics experts that can be reached at 855-231-7877.
The HCSS Academy is an online learning classroom that is available to any user with an active HCSS Credentials login. We encourage you to explore the space, take the courses, and provide feedback within the Academy if you need more content in a certain area.
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