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Control & Prevent Heavy Equipment Downtime: Use GPS to Improve
Maintenance Schedules

Certain business models benefit greatly from integrating GPS tracking data. The construction sector is a perfect candidate, as GPS technology is often already built into heavy construction equipment, or can be retroactively installed on each machine.

One of our construction customers decided to leverage the GPS installed on their John Deere equipment to help manage not just where the machine was located, but it’s maintenance schedule. John Deere’s GPS tracks location, speed, and engine hours. The desire was to tie this information from each machine into one system in a more useful reporting format and simultaneously be able to push it out to field mechanics with tablets.

The business challenge was staying on top of equipment maintenance. For example, let’s say a bulldozer needs an oil change every 300 engine hours. Before development of their new system, the crew would track machine maintenance, like oil changes, in spreadsheets based on days in service, then they needed to find the equipment, and bring the tools and needed fluids on the job site. Finding large equipment may sound easy due to their size, but it is no easy task when construction sites are massive large quarries or highway projects hundreds of miles long. Other times, a crew will be called out if a machine breaks down and needs new parts, and it would be nice to know if that machine is also due for a maintenance check, such as an oil change, so both can be done at the same time.

Bright Software helped integrate the GPS system and web-based DoForms, into a database that field maintenance crews use on their tablets. Now management and repair crews have one interface to see all upcoming required maintenance. They know exactly where the heavy equipment is located, as it appears on integrated maps. No time is lost to mechanics looking for a machine. They know when it is due for maintenance because they have exact engine run time hours transmitted from each machine. They also know its repair history. Using a tablet in the field, employees fill out timestamped, equipment maintenance forms. They can attach pictures of repairs, needed engine parts, problems or questionable unexpected vehicle damage, like dents. The form even captures if a repair is thought to be from Operator Error verses normal wear and tear. If Operator Error is ticked off, management will get a PDF of that form for investigation. We also recently worked together to add equipment manuals so mechanics can pull up the PDF manual and diagrams of the equipment in front of them. 

In construction, keeping costs down, reducing downtime, and staying apprised of any ongoing issues across a large, expensive fleet of equipment is crucial to operations. In this case, we worked with our customer’s desire to leverage and integrate existing technology and they now have moved their maintenance needs to a more proactive schedule.

Give us a call if we can help you implement your business idea.