As equipment is becoming smarter with high-tech advancements in controls and sensors, equipment users must leverage the data being generated to be more productive, safe and cost effective in their operations.
In this day and age, data is king. But with equipment generating mass amounts of data, how does one utilize it to their benefit and not be overwhelmed or distracted?
Telematics is not new; it has been around since the early 2000s. It started with tracking some basic equipment information like location and hours of service, but it has advanced so much beyond that now.
Telematics standards. The Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) has been synonymous with telematics due to the fundamental role it played in developing the data standards commonly referred to as the AEMP Telematics Standard 1.0 and 2.0. More recently, there has been a globally recognized ISO standard developed for telematics data: ISO/TS 15143-3:2020 Earth-moving machinery and mobile road construction machinery — Worksite data exchange — Part 3: Telematics data.
AEMP published “AEMP Telematics for Fleet Managers,” a book that can serve as a resource for fleets connecting their equipment with telematics. Learn more at aemp.org/resources.
Most OEMs now have their own telematics platform and the hardware comes pre-installed in new equipment. The purpose of the telematics standard was so operators of mixed fleets could pull all the data into one single database. This required the OEMs and third-party telematics providers to get onboard to define common data points and report on those data points in the same format for ease of aggregating data. The data standards will assist rental store owners implementing telematics across their fleets using a single software platform with pre-existing hardware from OEMs.
Most large fleet operators across the globe rely on rental equipment to support their projects and operational requirements. The justification to rent rather than purchase or lease equipment has proven to be more cost effective in the right circumstances.
Equipment rental also can be the preferred option to meet short-term project requirements or when there is lack of available capital to purchase equipment. Equipment managers already are leveraging the data of their own assets and want rental assets to be viewed as an extension of the fleet.
As such, there is demand from equipment managers to have the same level of data provided from their owned assets and to have the data integrated into existing software for ease of reporting and analyzing metrics. To stay relevant, the equipment rental industry needs to respond accordingly.
API feeds. Going forward, we need to think of technology products as stackable. Therefore, integration with other software packages or telematics platforms through application programming interface (API) feeds is extremely important for both adoption and expanding the use of the technology. Rental store owners need to be aware of this when picking their desired telematics partner. This will assist their customers today and allow for easier implementation of new technologies when they become available.
Equipment triangle. The equipment triangle, composed of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), is the cornerstone of AEMP’s philosophy towards the continuing relationship between the end user, distributor and OEM in the life cycle of a piece of heavy equipment or product. The use of telematics highlights the importance of the equipment triangle as the end user, distributor and OEM all have access and are seeing the same data. This facilitates a team approach to equipment operation and maintenance resulting in improved design and support of the equipment. If all parties work together, this will ultimately lead to more productive, safe and cost-effective equipment operation for the end users and sustainable business models for both distributors and OEMs. The rental store owner can be seen as the “distributor” in this scenario as they quite often sell equipment and provide service and support. Rental store owners will hence play a pivotal role in the relationship between the end user and OEM.
Non-powered devices. Advancements in non-powered devices used solely for location tracking also are being adopted. The price of hardware has been reduced and battery life has increased. These devices are a good fit for many smaller pieces of equipment or tools in rental fleets. As a project manager in charge of a facility or construction project, it is important to have good visibility of all equipment, owned and rented, on a job site. On the flip side, it also makes sense for the rental store owners to have good visibility of their assets including small non-powered equipment. Rental store owners and their customers should both benefit from sharing the data to optimize key metrics like utilization to drive efficiencies for both parties.
The future. At AEMP, we are seeing a growing trend of OEMs and other companies investing large resources, using the telematics data, to develop predictive analytics modeling. This will drive the next wave of optimization in both equipment operation and maintenance. It will be achieved through autonomous equipment operation and predictive maintenance. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is the key to analyzing the data and reporting insights without needing an army of data scientists to sort through the enormous amounts of data being generated.
The benefits of predictive maintenance are well documented with the main objective being to optimize the use of equipment, increasing productivity and reducing costs for companies. In order to achieve this, timely verification of data points is required. Telematics supports this requirement and is the key to the advancement of this relatively new maintenance philosophy.
There is a lot of excitement and buzz around autonomous equipment. OEMs and third-party companies are investing heavily to be first to market. It ties into the whole connected job site or smart city concept where we are leveraging technology and integrating equipment into construction projects or facilities. The rental industry should be working closely with OEMs and third-party companies in the development of this technology to better support its customers. Telematics data will play a key role in advancing this technology.
Dave Bolderoff, CEM, is the fleet manager at the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts and chair of the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP). AEMP is a professional association for equipment managers and their teams. To learn more, visit aemp.org.