How telematics and fleet management tools can make work easier and save you money

October 13, 2021

You no longer need to make a phone call to reserve equipment from a rental equipment provider, you can do it yourself 24/7 at your convenience

Keeping track of every piece of equipment you own and rent is a logistical challenge as well as a cost concern. Knowing where everything is, which machines need to go off rent and when, and staying on top of service and utilization is a big job.

Fortunately, there are digital tools that can help by providing the information you need, when you need it, and giving you the ability to take action, right from the job site. The results can include more productive worksites and greater profitability.

Digital technology - including telematics, online self-service tools and fleet management - can help contractors of all sizes to better manage complex projects and address underutilization of equipment including excavators, loaders, aerial work platforms and more.

“In today’s world, harnessing the power of digital technology to manage construction equipment just makes sense,” said Ty Campbell, director - sales, managed services, United Rentals, which offers a mobile app to help construction companies manage their assets. “There is plenty to worry about on the job site and digital tools should be an important part of managing complexity.

“This approach can help contractors streamline processes, save time and gain greater control so they can deliver better results and have fewer safety incidents. Crews can find and order needed equipment, and manage rented and owned assets exactly when and how they want, without wasting a moment and with just a few clicks.”

Locate, rent and return machines

You no longer need to make a phone call to reserve equipment from a rental equipment provider. Do it yourself 24/7 at your convenience with a desktop or mobile app whether you order one forklift twice a year or 100 boom lifts for a single project.

With a few clicks, you can find the equipment that’s needed, order and off-rent equipment. You can also request a pickup, track equipment deliveries, adjust rental dates, access leniency windows to reduce rental costs and see the location of all telematics-enabled equipment and assets.

If a maintenance issue arises, you can request service directly from a mobile app and even upload photos to help diagnose the issue. Digital tools are expected to keep evolving, adding capabilities such as saving favorites and providing equipment recommendations based on the type of work being done.

These tools also open the door to alerts that can help manage equipment rentals more easily and effectively. For example, you can receive alerts via email or text message when equipment is due back and potentially save thousands of dollars in late returns.

Manage rented and owned construction equipment

Digital tools can help manage rented and owned fleet all in one place, in ways that save time and money. For instance, they can arm you against the significant problem of underutilization.

The longer an asset or piece of equipment sits idle, the more it costs you, whether it is owned or rented. Many companies don’t regularly track utilization and aren’t aware how much underutilization is costing them. But utilization is easy to track in a fleet management application through desktop or mobile access.

Running utilization reports and leveraging real-time low-utilization alerts are smart ways for companies to meet their utilization goals and beat industry benchmarks. Some contractors have seen annual rental costs cut by a third by improving utilization.

Another potential money saver is an equipment management system. This type of system can facilitate equipment sharing by letting users share equipment costs across multiple purchase orders.

You can also upload owned equipment to a rental provider’s fleet management solution to take advantage of fleet maintenance tools. These tools include viewing preventive maintenance history and current maintenance status of every piece of equipment, seeing fault codes and managing work orders. You can receive alerts when preventive maintenance is overdue.

“With the right digital tools in the toolbox, it is possible to work smarter and accomplish more in less time with fewer resources. Best-in-class rental platforms accessible by desktop and mobile are making it faster and easier to find, choose, rent and off-rent equipment,” said Campbell.

“Rental providers that offer a digital fleet management solution give contractors even more power, providing visibility into both rented and owned equipment. That visibility can help companies save money by helping boost utilization, eliminate hoarding and reduce duplication.”

For more tips on best practices from fleet managers, click here.

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