Fleet Management: Ways to Gather Data

Apr 22, 2019 | News, SJCC, Software, Technology

Executive Summary. Several means exist in the way of gathering data from your operating fleet. Here are the basic ways and then a quick explanation of current technology.

The Basics of Data Collection. Many contractors, or companies with large on/offroad fleets and/or construction equipment, use somethingto track their assets’ location and/or performance:

  • Clipboard
  • Spreadsheets – hourmeter/odometer readings
  • Texting – sending photos of receipts
  • Fuel cards – using odometer entry
  • Current technology
    • QR code on-demand scanning with or without NFC technology
    • OBD (On Board Diagnostics) – i.e. “telematics”

The last two items above are worth briefly explaining.

  • This is a QR Code:  You can scan this label with your phone (go to the App Store on your phone and download the Runasset app). Simply take the label and adhere it to an asset. When the asset is scanned using an Android or iPhone, your phone returns data on the asset. The user can receive or send data (like photos, project information, odometer readings) via this label. NFC stands for Near Field Technology. It is virtually the same technology as the FOB you use to enter your condo building – you can actually read some  NFC FOBs using your phone!

  • OBD stands for On-Board Diagnostics. This technology is available to virtually all automobiles manufactured after 1996. The user of this technology buys a plug-in about half the size of a Rubik’s Cube and plugs it into the port under their steering wheel. Data gathered from the equipment and is then sent to the cloud for access by the user. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can get all sorts of different data.

The number of available softwares with their associated hardware (i.e. handheld scanners) can be daunting.

The Cost.QR codes are usually charged by the label, per the implementation, and then on a monthly subscription. Labels are a consumable product and usually go for $0.50 to $3.00/each, while subscriptions start at $100 to $1,000/month. Of course, this is variable depending on the needs of customer.

OBD technology usually costs $30 to $100 per OBD unit plus a monthly fee from $15 to $75 per unit.

My Story. I’ve used QR codes with and without NFC technology. It’s simple to use and provides immediate data. NFC technology is good to use on assets where the label gets dirty (like concrete tools).

The OBD technology is now becoming more and more prevalent in the large equipment manufacturer’s product offerings. If you buy an excavator, you likely will have the option to get regular usage reports using this technology. The best thing about OBD technology is it removes the human aspect.


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