Real-time tracking helps to optimize rental equipment turnaround, and can deter theft and reckless use by encouraging user accountability. - Photo: Advanced Tracking Technologies, Inc. 

Real-time tracking helps to optimize rental equipment turnaround, and can deter theft and reckless use by encouraging user accountability.

Photo: Advanced Tracking Technologies, Inc. 

Construction contractors frequently rent heavy equipment for big jobs. When renting equipment, job profitability depends on efficiently renting out equipment, keeping it in good working order, and returning it on time, whether that involves tractor-trailers, semi-trailers, moving trailers, dump trucks, and more.

To maximize profitability, contractors need to keep track of equipment to ensure timely return when the job is complete, especially when multiple equipment is being leased with multiple jobs occurring in a variety of locations.

In order to protect and preserve these rented assets, contractors also must deter theft and reckless use, as ultimately the responsibility for the equipment rests on their shoulders. On top of this, if the contractor name/logo is emblazoned on vehicles for the public to see, it is vital to prevent any dangerous actions, such as speeding, that could hurt their brand or even invite liability in the case of serious accidents.

As a proactive response, a growing number of contractors are turning to real-time GPS tracking of their heavy equipment rentals to ensure better fleet management and faster rental turnaround. In addition, the same approach provides clear driver and operator accountability, which helps to reduce asset damage and prolong its usable life.

“Continuous GPS tracking enables contractors to instantly see where all of their heavy equipment assets are at any given moment, so they can know as soon as possible which will be ready to return with minimal downtime,” says Ben VanAvery, director of Sales and Marketing at Advanced Tracking Technologies, a Houston, Texas-based designer and manufacturer of GPS tracking products.

Users can view a display of the real-time location of the entire fleet on a map and zoom in on any specific vehicle via a PC or smartphone app. - Photo: Advanced Tracking Technologies, Inc. 

Users can view a display of the real-time location of the entire fleet on a map and zoom in on any specific vehicle via a PC or smartphone app.

Photo: Advanced Tracking Technologies, Inc. 

Compared with typical GPS tracking devices that may only update every few minutes, a system like ATTI’s Shadow Tracker provides real-time location updates every 10-seconds, as well as location, speed, and idle time alerts if something is amiss. This data is transmitted via satellite and cellular networks to a smartphone or PC on a 24/7 basis. The system has access to nationwide speed limits in its database.

According to VanAvery, dealers can display the real-time location of the entire fleet on a map and zoom in on any specific vehicle via a PC or smartphone app. At a glance, they can see if a vehicle is moving (displays green) or stopped (displays red). If they touch a vehicle icon, the app will display where the vehicle has been, where it stopped, and how long it has idled.

Such GPS tracking, of course, helps not only to prevent the theft of heavy vehicles and equipment, but also aids in its swift recovery, if it is ever necessary. Law enforcement, for instance, could be provided a relatively precise location of anything stolen at virtually any moment in time.

Because supervisors can be notified that the system monitors speed, this capability can also serve as deterrent to speeding and help to minimize the risk of accidents, damage, and excess wear and tear. This facilitates extending the equipment’s usable life, while minimizing pre-mature repair and maintenance.

With better renter driving encouraged by active monitoring, this approach could also reduce tickets and potential liability, and may even help to lower the cost of insurance.

Advanced GPS tracking dramatically streamlines the process of returning rental equipment. It does so by making the entire fleet’s location and availability instantly visible, so no equipment is sitting idle and not in use.

This, in conjunction with the ability to encourage greater user accountability, can significantly enhance profitability, while prolonging the usable life of the fleet.

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