How to Make Telematics Work for You

EMSolutionsA lot of people think of telematics as just a way to find your machine and know how many hours are on it. Duane Gabehart, Stowers’ EMSolutions manager, said telematics can provide much more than that basic capability to customers, such as being able to track fuel usage, schedule maintenance and streamline site management for more efficiency.

“This technology really allows the user to truly become a fleet manager, and that’s what it all boils down to with these logistics,” Gabehart said. “It’s about managing the number of assets and the types of assets you have for a job and knowing how many machine hours are projected for a job so we can predict downtime and fuel costs.”

Don’t Let the Term ‘Data’ Scare You

In principle, the information you get from built-in equipment hardware isn’t any different … it allows you to “see” things you otherwise wouldn’t. Because you’re not manning the controls. Because you’re not staked out at the jobsite to thwart would-be thieves. Because there’s no way you’re getting inside the engine to know if it’s over-speeding.

The way you “see” this stuff is through reports and visualization software, which securely receive the information transmitted from the machine itself. That combo—sense it; see it—is what the construction industry has come to understand as the term “telematics.”

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Compared with other industries like utilities and transportation, construction is behind the curve in telematics. A 2014 survey by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers found:

• 62% of U.S. construction companies have no plans to implement telematics anytime soon.
• 15% aren’t sure.

Big data could transform the way companies do business, delivering the kind of performance gains last seen in the 1990s, when organizations redesigned their core processes. According to research by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT, companies that inject big data and analytics into their operations show productivity rates and profitability that are 5% to 6% higher than those of their peers.

Shifting Gears and Attitudes
Even though our industry isn’t breaking land-speed records to tap telematics systems for all they’re worth, we have advantages that others don’t. Much of the equipment we buy (including most Cat® equipment) is telematics ready, right from the factory. All we have to do is activate the built-in capabilities.

“Contractors run their operations a certain way. So just giving them access to all this data won’t necessarily help them if doesn’t relate well to how they run their business,” said Gabehart. “That’s why we’re always thinking about telematics in terms of ‘What are the benefits? What can you do with this data? What’s possible?’”

With telematics and other world-class product support capabilities, Stowers Machinery can do more than hook you up with a reliable piece of equipment—we offer services to help you get the most mileage out of equipment, too. Remember: Telematics is just another component of good equipment management.

To learn more about EMSolutions from Stowers, call Duane Gabehart at 865-595-4967 or email him at

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