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GPS Tracking for Construction Equipment

If you work in construction, your business isn’t just on-the-go—it’s literally all over the place. Depending on your location, you may even have job sites sprawled across different cities or counties. And until they invent teleportation, it’s impossible for you to monitor all of your trucks, equipment, and personnel in person.

The good news is that they—or more precisely, a man named Roger L. Eastonhave invented GPS tracking, which means you can monitor your physical assets from afar. More than that: You can track their movement, receive alerts when they enter and exit specified boundaries, and make more informed decisions about which things to send where.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up to the concept of GPS tracking itself, because to leverage GPS technology to the fullest—and to feel good about embracing it in your business—it’s important to understand how it works. Here’s a quick overview.

 

GPS: What It Is and How It Works

Originally developed in the 1960s to monitor the position of military submarines, global positioning systems (a.k.a. GPS) finally became available for civil and commercial use in 2000. GPS relies on a network of government-operated satellites to calculate data points like location, distance, and speed. While there are thousands of satellites in space, GPS uses about 24 of them at any given time. No matter where you are on Earth’s surface, there are almost always four GPS satellites overhead!

Broadcasting From Space

These satellites constantly broadcast radio signals containing time and location information, which receivers on the ground translate into latitude, longitude, and altitude. With the advent of cellular technology and smart devices, people like you and me can access near real-time receiver information from virtually anywhere. And because GPS originated as a government technology for military purposes, it has been fine-tuned to deliver the most accurate location information possible—we’re talking error margins of mere meters. Pretty cool, eh?

Making Life Safer and Easier

Most people have experienced the benefit and convenience of GPS technology at some point in their everyday lives. Have you ever tracked an activity using your smartwatch? Gotten directions to a new place using your car’s built-in navigation or a mapping mobile app? Deployed your vehicle’s emergency roadside assistance feature? If so, then you’ve used GPS.

 

Top Ways Construction Businesses Use GPS Technology

There are tons of business-focused uses for GPS technology as well. In fact, there are entire GPS platforms built specifically for businesses. These platforms allow businesses to place unique trackers on important vehicles, tools, equipment, and other assets—and then monitor their location and use within a web-based software application. Here are some ways construction companies and other related businesses—like painters, roofers, landscapers, pavers, electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians—can leverage GPS to make their operations more secure and efficient:

Moving Items Between Job Sites

When you can easily view the location of equipment on a map, you can make faster and better decisions about which items to move where. For example, if you know your skid steer at Site A has been sitting unused for several days, and the crew at Site B—which is only a few miles away—will need one in the near future, you can go ahead and arrange to have it moved.

Recovering Lost or Stolen Assets

Theft is a constant worry for any business owner—perhaps even more so for those in the construction industry. After all, at any given time, you have expensive tools and equipment sitting out in plain sight at a variety of locations across large geographic areas. While theft prevention isn’t always possible under these circumstances, theft recovery is a whole lot easier when you have indisputable data on the asset’s location—and when you know a theft has occurred in the first place. Most tracking solutions allow you to create movement or boundary-based alerts, so you know immediately when something that shouldn’t move, does. On top of greater peace of mind, business owners who place GPS tracking devices on high-value vehicles and equipment can often score insurance discounts. A penny saved is a penny earned, am I right?

Monitoring Equipment Use

Historical location and usage data can help you optimize both fleet inventory and maintenance. For example, if past data shows that you’ve been putting a lot of miles on Vehicle A but barely any on Vehicle B, perhaps it’s time to get rid of B and buy another A. Or, if you have two of the same vehicle or equipment type—but one is getting way more use than the other—you can adjust to help balance mileage between the two. That way, one isn’t suffering more wear-and-tear than the other—and maintenance schedules will be more aligned. Finally, you can use data on speed and trip duration to ensure everyone on your team is operating vehicles safely—and using them only for their intended purpose.

Confirming Arrivals and Departures

Need to make sure your assets—or your crew members—arrive on time at the appropriate sites? A GPS tracking platform will help you do just that. You can even create custom alerts to notify you at the precise moment a tracked item or vehicle arrives at, or departs from, a specified location.

Routing Vehicles

If you’re in the construction or residential service industry, you know your day rarely goes 100% according to plan. Delays happen, emergencies pop up, and schedules change. With a GPS tracking system, you can seamlessly route—or reroute—your drivers, crew members, vehicles, and equipment in the most efficient, least disruptive way. And if you’re using the best mobile GPS tracking technology, you can do it all from the palm of your hand—without manually checking in with each individual worker.

Providing Clients with Visibility

Ever get a call from an impatient—er, eager—client who wants to know when you’ll arrive at their location? A reliable GPS tracking solution enables you to deliver more than a broad estimate. You can relay precise information about the location of the vehicle in question. Some applications even allow you to securely send private, temporary map links so clients and other external third parties can follow a particular vehicle’s location and movement in real time.

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Interested in learning more about the many ways a reliable, easy-to-use GPS tracking platform can help you improve business security, efficiency, and overall performance? Request a free, no-obligation demo of the best GPS tracking solution for small construction companies.

About the Author

Brooke Andrus is the Director of Marketing Communications at Spytec GPS. A journalist by trade, Brooke now uses her nose for news to keep small business owners and managers informed on industry trends and best practices.