Telematics: Top 10 Mistakes When Buying an Asset Management Solution

Posted: 7/11/2013

MISTAKE #2: BUYING UNITS THAT SOLVE ONLY TODAY'S NEED... WITHOUT CONSIDERING WHAT ELSE YOU MAY WANT IN THE FUTURE.
    Many times you may not know what features you will want in the future, which can make this decision difficult. Will you want to tie into the equipment's CAN BUS system? Will you want to track miles, hours, or some other metric?
Often times you can purchase products that have the ability to upgrade the unit either through a simple change in service plan or hardware allowing for future growth and utilization of several added features. Ask if the service plan can be changed without adding to the term of service plan and often spending an extra $100 now on an upgradeable unit, rather than buying completely new units for your entire fleet later is often the right choice.

MISTAKE #3: BUYING A SYSTEM THAT IS LIMITED IN HOW OR WHAT IT TRACKS
   Some equipment is better suited to tracking by mileage, other equipment by hours that the equipment is running. The information required to track trucks for example is very different from the information to track generators or skid steers. Having a system that can track either type of equipment will allow you to use the same units, on different equipment and customize your tracking and reporting!

MISTAKE #4: NOT TRACKING ALL TYPES, AND ALL BRANDS OF EQUIPMENT ON ONE SITE
    Many manufacturers provide telematic solutions. However, the information that they provide is generally ONLY for tracking their brand of equipment. If you have equipment in your fleet from several manufacturers, as most companies do, you are generally required to go to several different sites to try to get the information you need. This is not only inefficient, but often times the same information is not available from site to site. It may also be difficult to combine information gathered from different manufacturers onto a single sheet. You MUST find a solution that will track all equipment, regardless of manufacturer... so all of your fleet's information is available in one place, on one page, in one format, and exportable to YOUR office software!

MISTAKE #5: NOT BEING THE "OWNER" OF THE INFORMATION

    One additional issue with purchasing telematics from the manufacturer... is they have access and ownership of the information. Most equipment manufacturers use the telematics on YOUR equipment to keep track of service records and how the equipment is being used. On the positive side, it helps them to improve their equipment based on how it is used in the real world applications. On the negative side, they can use that information to deny warranty claims! There are many examples of warranty claims being denied because the manufacturer has information that YOUR machine was not serviced correctly, or worked more hours than recommended etc. If you do nothing else, do not purchase telematics where you are not the sole owner of the information!

MISTAKE #6: TRAINING: LEARN HOW TO USE THE SYSTEM YOU PURCHASE!
    This sounds obvious, but so often companies do not train on the system. They know how to do one or two basic things, and they ignore the included options that are built into their telematic system. By learning how to use the options (or by retraining when you need to use additional features) you can maximize the savings to your company's bottom line.

MISTAKE #7: TRAIN MORE THAN ONE PERSON TO USE THE SYSTEM.
Again, this seems obvious but generally companies will have only one "point person" that runs the analytics for a telematic solution. If this person is "hit by a bus" or leaves your company for some reason, the units often are "left on the shelf" and not utilized. Nothing hurts profitability more than NOT using equipment you have already purchased! Generally training two employees at the same time cost the same as training a single employee.

MISTAKE #8: NOT PURCHASING A SYSTEM THAT "MANAGES BY EXCEPTION"
    There is a lot of information that can be harvested from telematic solutions available on the market today. If you are forced to look at all of the information provided by an asset management system, for every vehicle, in every fleet.... You will be overloaded. If you feel overloaded, you will stop looking at the information and any benefit from using telematics will be lost. Be sure to find a solution that "manages by exception." Generally, managers do not care to read about hundreds of machines in their fleet that are working exactly as they are supposed to. Managers want to see the "exception" to the rule... the equipment in their fleet that are under performing, underutilized, over used or due for service. The better telematic solutions have the ability to set your own metrics for what is "normal" and then allow you to see what units are performing above or below these designated thresholds. Having a simple alert sent to you when equipment is due for service, stolen or not conforming to your optimal standards can be the difference between adding profit directly to your bottom line and adding to your expenses with additional equipment your company is not using.

MISTAKE #9: BUYING A SYSTEM THAT WILL NOT "PUSH" REPORTS
    The idea behind telematic solutions is to save time and to save money. If you have to jump through hoops or separately download information to get the information you need.... Over time you will stop doing the "extra" work, and stop using the information. That is not to say that for a more in depth look into something you will not want to be able to dig deeper... but for basic reporting, if you are not able to get the information you need quickly and easily.... It will NOT be worth it to you in the long run. Look for systems that can automatically send alerts and send scheduled, customized reports directly to you and your staff.

MISTAKE # 10 BUYING A SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT GIVE INFORMATION IN "REAL TIME"
    "Time is money" and if you do not have access to information as it is happening... in real time... you may not be able to make the correct decisions for your business. Accurate real-time information is critical for any telematic solution. Asset management systems that require on-site downloading or travel out of your office to complete the process are often a deterrent for both ease of use and productivity.

SUMMARY:
By planning ahead a little and thinking about what information both you and the other departments within your company want to track and have reported, it is easy to find a telematic solution that will work for your company. Avoiding these ten mistakes will save you time and money for years to come.

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Positioning Solutions Company is the technology leader providing cutting-edge products and solutions for the construction, survey and engineering industries. We are located throughout the Midwest with offices in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin. We are a Topcon & Sokkia Master Dealer and serve as the Midwest Regional Service Center for all Topcon & Sokkia Products.

To find out more about telematics or any of our other positioning products and services visit us at www.1psc.com or call us at (855) 289-1772