Aggregates Manager

August 2013

Aggregates Manager Digital Magazine

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OPERATIONSExperience ILLUSTRATED Voices of Todd Ewing G t PS-based telematics has been around for roughly 15 years. According to Todd Ewing, director of product marketing for Fleetmatics Group, people moved beyond concerns about 'Big Brother' watching as they realized that telematics increase production and improve maintenance. The technology is fairly simple. A small device, installed under the dashboard of an asset, sends second-by-second calculations on distance, time, speed, and direction to the provider. The provider turns that raw data into a report customers can understand. Customers then determine how best to incorporate that information. "It's best not to take immediate action when the service first goes into place in order to avoid the 'Big Brother' feel," Ewing says. "Employers should watch for trends and activity over a course of several weeks or a month. Then they should pick a few areas to focus on and find ways to positively incentivize people to achieve the goal they want. By using incentives, employers can get the result they want, save money, and they haven't upset anyone. How big the brother is, is up to the employer." Outside the quarry, telematics is about tracking the location of delivery trucks. In the quarry, it's more about tracking hours and scheduling maintenance on equipment. A number of binary sensors can be incorporated with the GPS device so that equipment can be closely monitored. That information can be integrated into an asset management plan to help determine when service is needed. "We've moved past a place and time of relying on the driver's feedback about what happens each day," Ewing says. "We've moved to a world where objective information is available. If you're not making informed decisions based on objective information, you're ultimately going to be at a loss from others in the industry that are." Karen Heller O t ttawa, Ill.-based Silica Sand Transport Inc. has been in business since 1967. It has specialized in transporting silica sand, exclusively, since 2004. When business was at a peak in 2007, Karen Heller, CEO, decided it was a good time to invest in something that could help improve control over its fleet of sand delivery trucks. Cell phones for the drivers were considered, but the potential danger of the distraction did not seem like a good trade for instant availability. Heller was aware of what GPS-based fleet intelligence had to offer and decided it would be the right investment to make. Heller says she saw immediate results. Not only was she able to prove to customers that a load of sand had been delivered on time by presenting a readout showing the truck's location at delivery time, she was also able to tackle difficult problems regarding the truck drivers themselves. "When you download the readout, it shows when a truck has been speeding," Heller says. "If the driver's speeding had resulted in a ticket, it would have been bad for the company, as well as the driver. I bring it to the driver's attention, telling him that I'm glad we caught him first. I don't penalize him for it, but I let him know that, if he gets caught, it's his ticket, his fine, and his CDL. We have an almost pristine safety record, and I want to keep it that way." The technology also helps coordinate maintenance. Service companies located along the corridors that delivery trucks use on a regular basis were keyed into the software program. If a delivery truck gets a flat tire or breaks down during a delivery, the company can see where it is located, find the nearest service provider, and send them to help, saving a lot of time and aggravation, and, ultimately, increasing production. John Walker W t alker Sand and Stone Inc. has been using GPS-based telematics for the past five years, It is mainly used for dispatching the company's 25 highway dump trucks and dump trailers, consisting of everything from tandems to quad axles to six axles to tractor-trailers. "Telematics makes the dispatching for delivery very efficient," says John Walker, vice president of the King George, Va.based company. "We know where every vehicle is at all times. We know when the deliveries will be there, when the vehicles will be back, and if they have time for another delivery. It helps us get out as many loads per vehicle as we can on a daily basis." A large flat-screen TV in the main office displays a map showing every truck. The live feed updates every 30 seconds. If a driver gets lost or can't find a job site, the map will show exactly where the truck is and where it's supposed to be, office personnel can give the driver turn-by-turn directions to the desired location. The mileage of each truck is tracked, which helps Walker determine service intervals for maintenance. Tracking mileage also helps the company figure fuel taxes for each state in which it makes deliveries. Though the company is located in Virginia, deliveries are made across state lines to Maryland and Washington, D.C. Those states charge a fuel tax for each mile trucks travel on their roads. Telematics allows the company to track the mileage and break it down by state, to determine what it owes. "Improving dispatching efficiency is the main thing we're after, that's why we have it," Walker says. "But it is also a tool to address drivers who are speeding, stopping too often, or going off route. The knowledge that GPS tracking is there is just as good as the GPS itself when it comes to the employees. It keeps them honest." Aggregates Manager OperationsIllustrated_AGRM0813.indd 22 7/12/13 9:48 AM

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