When it comes to the technology trends and what contractors need to think about as technology rapidly changes; top of mind will be: How do I make my fleet safer and become more efficient without having a bunch of disparate systems haphazardly trying to work with each other?
That said, two overarching trends will dominate 2017 and beyond. The first will be the continued adoption of technology to smarten construction fleets. Companies will adopt technologies that help them to streamline operations and see beyond what’s right in front of them. They are looking to have greater visibility into their operations and be able to identify which pieces of equipment are underutilized and which are being overused.
As this trend continues to catch on, everybody will get leaner. There will be even less room in margins to overspend and you will see companies leveraging technology to save money and condense operations where possible.
With utilization data in hand, fleets will increasingly have the power to communicate and share information to make jobs easier and more efficient. The data will come from the equipment itself communicating with larger systems and with organizations possibly outside of their immediate project and possibly outside of the construction project scope.
The goal will be to move closer to where operations can ensure that the right piece of equipment is always at the right job; having the ability always to track equipment and material cost in real time; and making sure that everyone gets home safe every day.
The second trend that is going to affect construction fleets and will be paramount for them to prepare for in 2017 will be the rapidly approaching effective date (12/19/2017) of the ELD (Electronic Logging Mandate) from the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). Many see this new compliance initiative as only impacting commercial trucking, but many vehicles within construction fleets will be subject to compliance with the mandate.
For many construction fleets, the ELD mandate is foreign territory. This naturally leads to the need of education on the mandate and the partnering with an appropriate solution provider.
Companies will look to do more with their technology investment than just address the ELD mandate. ELD solutions will need to integrate with other systems to avoid having a bunch of disparate solutions haphazardly trying to work with each other. Fleets mangers want one system where their solutions work in unison.
In addition to solution integration, a key component to ELD adoption will be change management. Equipment operators don’t always identify as such. They identify as trade workers, but as long as the technology doesn’t distract them from the job they need to do, it will make things easier and safer while holding them more accountable for the operation of that equipment.
As ongoing adoption of technology continues to move the needle towards improved efficiency and safety, the industry will be lead to better decision-making capabilities based on actionable construction business intelligence. Additionally, the ELD mandate will be the impetus of other new trends, and those who can provide fleet management solutions that integrate ELD compliance with additional solutions will lead the way.
Ian McKerlich is the president and CEO of Zonar Systems.