The Importance of Construction Equipment Data & Predicting Downtime
Few things are more disruptive on a construction site than unplanned downtime. Work comes to a halt – typically when you most need that piece of equipment. It’s frustrating and costly, even if you can get a backup machine in place relatively quickly. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were possible to predict construction equipment downtime instead?
That way, you could head off problems or deliberately schedule maintenance/repairs at the least inopportune time. It may sound like a pipe dream, but in the trucking industry predictive data analysis is making noticeable headway. Applying the same concept and process to construction equipment cannot be far behind, and that should excite your dealership and your customers, too.
When regularly scheduled preventive maintenance isn’t enough
Every equipment owner and fleet manager understands the benefits of establishing a regular preventive maintenance schedule. And the importance of operating machines within their OEM-recommended performance parameters. But even the most diligently followed program cannot eliminate the fact that sometimes things go wrong.
Today’s telematics give you a tremendous leg up on detecting impending issues, but the amount of data available can be overwhelming. How do you marshal it so you can get the most from that information? And since you can’t reasonably be expected to track and study every detail, which details should you prioritize?
One thing experts recommend is that you invest in a software package that enables you to automate data gathering, sorting, and reporting. Professional data analysts use a suite of sophisticated technology tools that include statistical modeling and machine learning. Your dealership doesn’t need all that, nor do your individual customers – the software you’re already using to collect your construction equipment data should suffice.
However, the other key is data analysis is freshness. Old information helps plot trends, but it won’t help you in the near term. So study the data you’re gathering on a regular basis, frequently. Track all of the items/issues on your regular inspection and preventive maintenance lists, plus details of engine and hydraulics performance data. Over time you’ll be able to see where early intervention is most critical, versus times when a needed repair can wait a while.
That insight can improve production scheduling as well as jobsite productivity. It can prolong machine lift, and give you the ability to bid jobs more accurately (and profitably).
Doing everything you can now
Complex scientific data gathering and analysis may be well beyond your dealership’s grasp today. And equally out of reach for your construction customers. Nonetheless, the concept is readily adaptable to whatever your current capabilities are, and it’s well worth the investment of time and effort.
Rather than waiting for that disastrous severe fault to “alert” you to a serious problem – by this point an expensive problem — you’ll be able to see it coming. At least some of the time. Think of the savings you can realize, in reduced downtime, out-of-pocket costs, and frustration. In the trucking industry, using predictive analytics is delivering an 8-11X ROI for every dollar spent and a 2-3% annual reduction in TCO.
The more you know, and the sooner you receive information, the easier it is to make better-informed decisions about scheduling preventive maintenance, too. But the Big Win comes from what you can learn over time, giving you the ability to actually predict severe problems by spotting trends in machine performance and failures:
- For your dealership, less chance that a machine out on rental will go down in the midst of a job.
- For customers, that same benefit plus the ability to schedule construction equipment more efficiently and confidently.
There’s a competitive edge to that.