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Trenton, Safety Manager & Field Accountant
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Construction

Complete Guide to GPS Tracking for Construction Equipment


 

GPS tracking can benefit a wide variety of industries. However, an operation may not be more suited for it than construction. With all the moving parts that come with a construction company, GPS tracking can help manage your equipment, maximize efficiency, and cut costs in the long run.

When your equipment constantly moves between work sites, tracking your assets in real-time is crucial. The guide below details everything you need to know about GPS tracking for your construction equipment.

Benefits of GPS tracking for construction companies

  • Locate, track, and recover stolen equipment - Theft of construction equipment is a constant problem in the business, and replacement can lead to unexpected costs to your operation. Luckily, GPS tracking allows you to set geofence alerts or boundaries that notify you when your equipment leaves a designated area or is moving outside of normal working hours. With real-time tracking capabilities, it makes recovery a lot easier. Check the video below to see how to use a live map in Spytec's platform to locate construction equipment.
  • Increased workplace productivity and efficiency – In the construction industry, it is very common to experience logistical problems with several employees, expensive equipment, and countless work sites. In fact, a 2020 National Construction Payment Report states that 70% of projects fail, run over budget, or go past deadlines due to logistical or difficulty managing and tracking workers and equipment. With GPS tracking, you can plan for the most practical routes for your drivers and allocate your equipment and resources accordingly. Knowing where everything is and where everything needs to go in one organized platform makes operating your construction company more efficient. 
  • Minimize fuel and operation costs - To maximize profits, you must minimize expenses in the construction business. GPS tracking can help identify wasteful driving habits and equipment usage that drives up fuel consumption and costs your business money in the long run. By monitoring these items, managers can also get a better handle on maintenance schedules and get ahead of repairs before they become bigger (and more expensive) problems. 
  • Improved worker and equipment safety – Not only is it important to monitor where your equipment is, but it is also just as important to monitor the driving habits of your workers. By offering real-time reports and notifications on driving habits, can help identify costly maintenance and liability expenses and also promote worker safety by streamlining insurance reports.

These are just a few basic benefits GPS tracking can provide your construction business. The bottom line is, with quality trackers and reliable tracking software, you can keep track of all of your assets and gain valuable data insights that help improve operational efficiency.

 

6 ways construction companies can use GPS tracking 

As highlighted above, GPS tracking is beneficial to construction companies for several reasons, but how can you apply GPS tracking in your operation? There are obvious uses, such as the ability to monitor your equipment at all times. Then there are some less common uses, such as providing customers with visibility and the ability to know when exactly you will arrive at their location. Below we give you six specific ways your construction company can use GPS tracking.

Move items between job sites

Easily view where all of your equipment is on a live map, allowing easier decision-making on when and where equipment should be moved. GPS tracking can create a more organized and efficient approach to moving equipment from site to site. 

Example:

Let’s say you’ve had a bulldozer on a job site for two weeks; however, using GPS tracking, you can see that the bulldozer has been dormant for the past four days. Now, instead of leaving that bulldozer at the site where it isn’t needed anymore, you can move it over to a new site where it is needed. That way, you can minimize any downtime. 

Recover lost or stolen assets

As mentioned in the benefits section, theft of construction equipment and assets is a constant worry. Combat this concern with GPS tracking, which lets you know when equipment is being moved at a time, you aren't aware of and allows you to track down that equipment quickly and successfully. 

HQS Construction, a general road & utility contracting business out of the greater Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) area, used GPS tracking devices to recover stolen assets.

“We had a skid-steer and two rollers stolen –all of which are specialty equipment. They're costly to replace and are also hard to find now. The market is competitive for this kind of equipment, especially if they are in good working condition,” explained Trenton Rath, Safety Manager & Field Accountant at HQS Construction.

Read more about how Spytec helped HQS Construction here.

Monitor equipment use

Many tracking softwares provide a wide range of data insights that can help you maintain and optimize your equipment better. Keeping track of vehicle mileage, which vehicles are being used more than others, and having a set maintenance plan are all possible with GPS tracking.

Example:

Your fleet of trucks consists of four different vehicles; trucks A, B, and C get the most use, while D spends a lot of time sitting in the yard. A, B, and C have been running pretty hard for the last couple of months. Using your GPS tracking solution, you notice that truck C is 400 miles overdue for a tire rotation, while truck D still has another 1000 miles to go. With this data, you can ensure truck C gets taken in for maintenance and truck D takes its place.

Here's what HQS Construction had to say about tracking equipment usage:

“We can see exactly where our assets are at all times and know immediately if something is off course, which has helped us avoid costly delays and disruptions. The system has also helped us better manage our maintenance and repair schedules, as we can now track when our vehicles and equipment need to be serviced and plan accordingly.”

Confirm arrivals and departures

This one is pretty straightforward but can be a hassle in construction. You don’t want your crews sitting around on the clock waiting for equipment or supplies. Know exactly when your equipment is delivered or departs from a work site in real-time with GPS tracking.

Routing vehicles

With equipment and assets constantly on the go in the construction industry, there can be unexpected delays with all of this movement. GPS tracking allows users to supply drivers with the most optimal routes to avoid these delays, which can be done from a mobile device.

Example: 

Your crew is on their way to a job site, and a few miles ahead, you see unexpected bridge construction. Instead of the crew sitting in 45 minutes of stop-and-go traffic, you can use your GPS tracking system to seamlessly re-route that crew to make it to the job site on time. Plus, you can do it in the least disruptive way- with GPS mobile tracking, you can set a new route from your fingertips without distracting your personnel on the road.  

Provide clients with visibility 

In the construction industry, it isn’t just enough to know where your vehicles are; you also want to provide your clients with the ability. Giving clients a clearer picture of delivery times will improve customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

Example:

A client calls asking where the crew is, as they were supposed to be there 20 minutes ago. You are currently out of the office, but with your mobile device, you can see the crew had to re-route around an accident. Now you can relay this location data to the client and give them an accurate arrival time. Some applications even allow you to securely send private, temporary map links so clients and other external third parties can follow a particular vehicle’s location and movement in real time. 

Cons of GPS tracking for construction equipment

As we have highlighted above in this guide, there are several benefits that GPS tracking can provide construction companies, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any drawbacks that come with it. This section will discuss the cons of using GPS tracking for construction equipment.

  • Expensive installation – There are several GPS tracking providers out there, and they all have different price points and different pricing philosophies. The bottom line is these devices can be expensive to install and replace, especially depending on the size of your operation.
  • Ongoing fees – Most GPS service providers require that you pay a monthly fee to use their software and access the data. This can annoy business owners, but if used properly, it can save you money in the long run.
  • Transporting trackers from equipment to equipment – Some businesses can’t afford or choose not to buy enough trackers for their equipment. This can create a constant shuffling of devices which can be a hassle to coordinate.

There are pros and cons to everything that goes into running a successful business. Doing your due diligence in researching different GPS providers and looking at the cost, benefits, and ways they can save you money is essential to making the proper decision.

How to track your construction equipment

tracking devices for construction equipment

GPS tracking uses a combination of hardware and software to bring you complete visibility into all of your construction assets. When deciding on the right GPS tracking device, it’s important to pick the device that is geared toward your tracking goals. 

GPS tracking hardware

Different types of GPS tracking hardware include:

  • Battery-powered GPS trackers - Running off batteries, this type of hardware can be placed virtually anywhere - to track equipment, assets, and personnel.
  • Hardwired GPS trackers - This hardware is wired to and powered by a vehicle's electrical system. If you’d like to learn more about hard-wiring your GPS tracker to your equipment, check out this article – here.
  • On-board diagnostic (OBD) GPS trackers - OBD trackers that plug directly into and are powered by a vehicle's OBD port.

Choosing the proper GPS tracking hardware is crucial. If you want to track fleet vehicle diagnostics and have the liberty to move the tracker between different vehicles- then an OBD tracker is probably what you need. 

If you are looking for a device that can be moved from vehicle to equipment to personnel, you will want a battery-powered GPS tracker that isn’t limited to specific assets. Let’s say you want to track your fleet vehicles and nothing else; a hardwired GPS tracker would be a tool you can install into each one of your vehicles.

Curious about using Airtags for tracking equipment? We’ve got you covered here. 

GPS tracking software 

When choosing a GPS tracker, it’s important to understand what the software can offer and if that will fulfill your tracking needs. GPS tracking software can offer tools such as:

  • Live Tracking – provides real-time data on your physical assets and allows you to act immediately if something is wrong.
  • Smart Boundaries – you can set up geofences around locations that contain your business's physical assets and be alerted if the boundary is broken.
  • Time Machine – allows you to see a map of each tracker's movement during a specific period which is useful in various business situations.
  • Vehicle Diagnostic Data – Monitor the speed of your fleet vehicles to ensure the safety of your personnel and equipment. Leaving a vehicle idle when it’s not in use causes wear and tear that could put your driver in danger and lead to higher fuel and maintenance costs; monitor all this and more.
  • Set Driving Routes – Different routes sometimes take drivers into high-risk areas. Whether the concern is driver safety or asset theft–easily manage which routes you want your personnel staying away from.   

Knowing the differences in tracking software when choosing the right GPS tracker is important. If you want to access tracking data at the palm of your hand, ensure the software allows you to easily monitor data from your mobile device. Some software offers cross-platform monitoring, so if you want to monitor data from more than one device, ensure cross-platform monitoring is offered.

Tracking rental equipment 

Do I need to track the equipment I rent out? 

Yes, you should put GPS trackers on your rental equipment. And that’s simply because you don’t want any surprises. You want to ensure that customers use the equipment properly and in the allotted time they pay for. With a GPS tracking system, you’ll instantly know about any overages, maintenance needs, or other updates required to run your business more effectively.

Learn more about tracking rental equipment here. 

 

Best GPS tracker for construction equipment

best gps tracker for construction equipment

 

There is a wide range of GPS tracking solutions on the market, and they vary in price, device reliability, and the software they provide. Multiple tracking solutions will surely fit your business depending on the size of your operation, your budget, and how important trackers are to you. Luckily we have done some of the research for you and come up with the seven best GPS trackers for construction equipment. See the list below.

  1. Spytec GPS
  2. Samsara
  3. Verizon Connect
  4. Geotab
  5. Trackunit 
  6. Solar-Trak
  7. GPS and Track

Read the full article here. 

Gain peace of mind with GPS tracking for your construction equipment

Managing a construction company can be hectic with all the different workers and moving parts. GPS tracking is a solution that can help make your day-to-day operations run more smoothly and, maybe more importantly, give you peace of mind. GPS tracking services can help monitor and gain visibility of your equipment, protect your assets, and keep your employees accountable. 

Spytec offers top-quality GPS tracking devices and easy-to-use, intuitive tracking software to help your construction company streamline operations.

Interested in learning more or trying Spytec for free? Get in touch with us today.

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