The Unique Fleet Management Needs in Construction

By Don Lewis, Verizon Connect
A comprehensive fleet management solution can help track utilization, maintenance and compliance.
Fleet management in the construction industry differs from traditional fleets. For businesses in this industry, vehicles and equipment are working, profit-making assets, right along with the people operating them.

Measuring utilization

In construction, the vehicle or equipment is the tool to get work done, so tracking goes beyond location and driving time. Companies must measure utilization to know that those assets are being maximized.

A fleet management solution helps you track utilization accurately by providing a baseline for company activity, including:

  • How often equipment is used on individual or multiple job sites
  • The numbers of hours an engine is on/off
  • Which sites equipment was used at for a multi-site project

Once a baseline is established, the business can look for ways to improve utilization, including:

  • Reducing idling between jobs
  • More efficient planning of where resources go and for how long
  • Accurate, time-based invoicing of customers for rental equipment

Fleet management software captures data on vehicle, equipment and driver/operator behaviors and use. This includes how long an engine is on/off, how the vehicle is being operated by the driver,  and where the asset is located.

Monitoring expensive equipment

Construction is unique in that their vehicles and equipment tend to be more expensive than a typical light-duty truck or work van. Because of their high value, bulldozers, backhoes and other pieces of rolling construction stock are attractive targets for thieves.

The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) receives reports of nearly 1,000 pieces of stolen commercial equipment every month.  Fleet software and asset tracking tools can help fleet and job site managers keep tabs on this equipment after hours with automated alerts. The data collected by these systems protect valuable company assets and, more importantly, gives visibility into their location, so you can keep them healthy and available to do the money-making work they’re designed to do.

Maintenance and ROI

A proactive vehicle and equipment maintenance program is a crucial component for improving ROI for a construction fleet. Many vehicles are highly specialized and require expensive upfits and other modifications to perform their jobs. Because these vehicles travel fewer miles than a typical service vehicle, they may have longer life cycles, making proactive maintenance critical.

A fleet management platform can help:

  • Track preventative maintenance to keep vehicles and equipment healthy and ready for use
  • Avoid the need to rent specialized equipment, which is expensive and rarely available
  • Improve uptime and the overall lifecycle of the vehicle.
  • Ensure routine servicing and repairs are handled on OEM recommended schedules (helping to preserve the warranty)
  • Set up schedules and alerts, so fleet managers can anticipate and accommodate downtime
  • Alert mechanics of a maintenance issue as it occurs, such as a component failure, before it becomes an  even more costly issue

Tracking Compliance

With the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate now in effect, construction fleets are required to have ELDs on all their trucks that fall under the rule to adhere to the reporting requirements.

In addition to this new ELD compliance requirement, there are other compliance issues that construction fleets face, and a fleet management solution can be the tool to help them manage the complexities of regulatory compliance.

Construction-specific regulations add to the complexity of compliance for companies in the industry. Local municipalities may set limits on access roads that can be used to enter a construction site or the times when work can be done, due to noise or other ordinances. Fleet and site managers can be alerted if a parameter has been violated, but, more important, a fleet tool collects data to document that the fleet is complying with these requirements. This could help resolve any complaints by the public or enforcement agencies that the company is not adhering to the rules set by local governing bodies.

Monitoring safety. More than just monitoring unsafe driver behaviors like speeding and harsh breaking, fleet technology can report on when equipment safety features are engaged, for example, whether a boom was properly stabilized before the boom was extended. If a question arises of whether equipment was used correctly, the fleet and job site manager can look back at a report from the system to verify how it was used. This helps ensure assets and equipment are being used in the manner intended.

A comprehensive fleet solution can store and adapt to specific safety and compliance parameters in the system. For example, a truck would be redirected when it approaches a road that commercial vehicles are not allowed to drive on.

 

Tax considerations

Because construction fleets do most of their  work off-road, they may be eligible to receive  off-road fuel rebates. However, these can be difficult to collect because fleets need to show that they worked off road and how many on- and off-road miles they traveled.

A fleet platform can identify:

  • What road a vehicle was traveling on
  • The classification of those roads versus an off-road job site
  • How many miles the vehicle traveled on a public road versus off-road

The savings could be substantial depending on how many miles are traveled and the cost of fuel locally.

Coordinating with critical partners

Construction companies depend on collaboration to get work done. With a fleet tracking system, construction businesses can now share information with contractors or other agencies.

Construction fleets can use their fleet platform to:

“The fleet and individual assets are also part of a greater operations ecosystem. How they are managed has a major impact on crews, materials, planning, dispatching, project schedules, safety and, ultimately, the ability to deliver projects on time  and on budget.” SOURCE: Understanding Holistic Fleet Management (Construction Business Owner article by Kathy Wells, March 26, 2018)

Let’s talk about your fleet management needs.

With the pressing need to monitor and maximize the utilization of vehicles and equipment across numerous job sites, construction fleets can significantly benefit from using a fleet management solution.

Verizon Connect offers comprehensive fleet management and asset tracking tools to help construction companies of all sizes better manage their vehicles and resources to help improve business outcomes.

To talk to one of our San Diego based experts on fleet management for construction, contact Don Lewis, Marketing Manager at 858.465.7986 or donald.lewis@verizonconnect.com.