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Make Your Data Make Sense

Telematics, GPS, machine control and guidance, cloud computing and that four-letter word—data—are being used more and more often in conversations about managing equipment costs, increasing productivity and improving fuel efficiency. As the possibilities continue to grow, it’s easy to become the victim of information overload. Here are some simple, quick ideas 
for making data make sense for your business.

Take your data to a level that makes sense to you.
Some people think of data like a flood—something so big it can’t really be controlled. According to John Cheney, writing for Construction Business Owner, there is value in breaking it down to more of a “raindrop” level.

“The more detailed and granular your data, the better your cost curves will reflect reality. I’ve seen contractors grouping costs into broad categories such as fuel, repair and preventive maintenance, and I’ve seen their ability to improve when they broke out their costs into more detailed line items.”

Start with something simple. 

One simple way to begin using data is to pick one machine or group of machines and review its performance. You may be surprised at what you find. Saiia Construction, based in Birmingham, Alabama, reviewed the performance data for the haul trucks in its quarry operation. The company discovered that drivers weren’t using the supplemental braking systems (retarders) when traveling down steep haul roads. This practice could have resulted in service brake failures, accidents and unnecessary costs. Saiia avoided these costly outcomes by swiftly training operators on the use and value of retarding systems.

Empower your operators to be more efficient.
One of the great things about telematics data is that it can be broken down by machine and by operator. Operators can clearly see exactly how they are doing in terms of productive work time, idle time and efficiency. Operators report they are consistently surprised by the amount of time they spend idling in a single shift. With fuel prices on the rise, making operators aware of their specific behavior can go a long way toward changing it. Operators who are more aware can directly impact production and fuel costs.

Run available reports.
Most telematics systems display the information they gather via your computer, tablet or smart phone. These applications also have the capability to run various reports so you can see the data in different ways. If you’re new to data-diving, contact your equipment or technology representative and ask them to walk you through the information.

Increase the accuracy of your estimates.
When you have the ability to look at data over time, you can see how different factors are affecting your productivity and costs—both of which impact your margins. If you use data gathered from specific jobs, you have a better chance to accurately predict cycle times, equipment and material costs on your next job. Your next big competitive advantage might just be in 
the data.

Learn more about Cat® Connect technologies and data