GPS Tracking for Construction Equipment: To Install or Not to Install?

October 20, 2020 | Elizabeth Oberg

When your business owns expensive construction equipment, it makes sense that you’d want to keep track of these valuable assets. GPS tracking for your construction equipment allows you to monitor your vehicles, know your drivers’ location, optimize routes, and prevent unauthorized use (or worse, theft). 

Despite the benefits, there is a growing debate within the construction industry whether construction equipment owners should install GPS tracking. While many owners want the visibility, weariness from drivers, and the set-up and ongoing logistical maintenance leave them on the fence. In this article, we’ll walk through the pros, cons, and a solution that can help you get the insights you want from GPS without the headaches.

Pros of Tracking Construction Equipment

Before diving into GPS tracking as a solution, it’s important to understand the business case, which is the ability to track and gain visibility into your vehicles’ usage and resource management. As technology begins to seep its way into the construction industry, contractors have the ability to manage and optimize their equipment usage like never before.

Here are the ways that vehicle tracking has created an opportunity for contractors to take control of their fleet and assets:

Real-time visibility

If you know where your equipment is at all times, you can better manage your resources. With some tracking equipment, you’re also able to view route history by date, hauler, and shift.

Cost optimization & analysis

Tracking allows contractors to complete cycle-time analyses by providing data such as time in plant, transit time, and job site turnaround time. Cycle-time can have big impacts on your bottom line. It can help identify a job that is over or under trucked in real-time so that you can adjust the flow of trucks to the job site. When you’re trying to make the most of each hour, this type of insight is crucial. 

Unauthorized use and theft prevention

Construction equipment is expensive to use and maintain, so unauthorized use or mis-use of that equipment is risky and can lead to costly accidents. Tracking alerts you to unusual activity, and in serious cases, theft. Estimates show that as much as $1 billion is lost nationwide annually from the theft of construction equipment and tools with a 20% recovery rate. If you can’t afford to lose your equipment to theft, tracking your equipment is a must.

Cons of GPS Tracking Implementation

With all of these cost-saving benefits, why are some contractors reluctant to make the switch? Some of the market solutions make the task seem daunting and can quickly become a huge drain on logistics resources.

Costly Installation & Set-Up

Due to the trend toward equipment tracking, some construction equipment manufacturers have started adding GPS as a built-in feature. When you purchase equipment with GPS built-in, you are limited to the tracking available through that company, and it can become expensive to replace or repair. 

Some contractors may invest in GPS systems that can be installed independently but find the trackers themselves are a costly investment and require logistics resources to ensure equipment is installed properly and maintained.

Ongoing Costs

Once you install a GPS tracker, you are beholden to the GPS tracking company and usually have to pay to access GPS data every month. If you are renting your GPS trackers, you also have to pay for the equipment rental.

Moving Equipment from Truck to Truck

If you can’t afford to purchase a separate GPS tracker for each piece of equipment you own, you may find yourself having to coordinate the use of the trackers, keep track of which tracker is being used for which vehicle, and perform the work of uninstallation/reinstallation into new equipment.

Hand-Off from Drivers

Depending on how you use trackers, you may have to collect GPS devices from your drivers at the end of the day if you don’t want to invest in buying one for each truck. If you use hired hauling and they agree to have you install a GPS device while they are on the job you also have the added headache of installing and uninstalling each day they are on the job.

Driver Morale

For truck drivers who aren’t used to GPS equipment, starting with tracking can feel like an inconvenience and an added pressure. Installing a piece of equipment in their vehicle can feel invasive or may feel like they are being singled out.

A New Way: Tracking Without the Hassle

So what’s the solution? A few years ago, it was very popular for drivers of all kinds to use Garmin and other GPS systems to get from Point A to Point B, until phone apps like Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps made it possible to access the same benefits without buying an extra piece of equipment.

In the construction industry, that app is TRUX.

With TRUX, you’ll get the key benefits of equipment tracking without the logistical nightmare.

Instead of a GPS tracker, you can use smartphones or tablets to keep track of your equipment. This means no complicated installations and every vehicle on every job can be tracked with a smartphone.

To dispatch your own trucks through TRUX your drivers will need to download and sign up for TRUX on their mobile devices. To have them enrolled as a driver for your company, you will need to provide them the 8-digit code found in your account. Then, you can manage your fleet from the road or in your office.

With TRUX, you’re not limited to your own haulers, either. You can use TRUX to track your hired hauling, too. 

As new technology enters the industry and changes the way contractors work, it can be difficult to evaluate and keep track of all the different types of solutions for all your different needs. With TRUX, equipment tracking is just one of the dozens of features that keep your business running smoothly and costs down.

In addition to equipment tracking, you can give your dispatchers easy-to-use dispatching tools, tell your finance team they don’t need to worry about processing hauler invoices, and you can use bulk communication tools to contact all drivers on a job at once. 

Haulers like TRUX, too. While GPS tracking can make haulers feel like they’re being watched, access to TRUX empowers them. With over 20,000 truckers using the app, they know the benefits of TRUX. Truckers like getting paid fast and accessing TRUX Chrome, where they can get great rates on insurance, loans, and more. 

Ready to get started? Sign up for TRUX today!

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About The author:

Elizabeth Oberg

Elizabeth Oberg is the Marketing Director at TRUX. Since joining the company in 2018, she has worked to introduce new features to the TRUX platform -- helping haulers and contractors shape their businesses with the adoption of logistics technology. With over 10 years of marketing experience, Elizabeth brings her passion to this innovative tech platform.

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