How to make your assets as productive as your people
3Locate is Three’s asset management solution that enables companies to monitor both powered and non-powered assets
3Locate offers a range of tracking devices to suit business needs, combined with a sophisticated management portal that gives businesses the information it needs to make better decisions, and operate effectively.
For many businesses, productivity has been one of the driving forces in 2020. As the coronavirus restrictions took hold, companies needed to make sure their employees could keep working even as offices closed. But productivity doesn’t just apply to people. Many businesses have valuable assets like trailers, pallets, stillages and skips, or heavy machinery, delivery vans, and company cars. At a time when demands on businesses are increasing, getting the most from those assets is more important than ever.
Let’s consider a few examples. This year, many businesses had their operations disrupted for long periods of time, so they understandably want to run as efficiently as possible. One of the ways to improve efficiency is to know where their assets are – whether that’s a fixed position or on the move.
Improving internal operations
Lots of businesses have challenges with inventory tracking, so there’s a lot of value in being able to quickly locate an item. Today, businesses that don’t have a way of tracking assets can lose a lot of admin time in finding their location in a warehouse. Alternatively, a trailer that has extra unused capacity can now be more productive when the business knows where it is, and whether it’s carrying a full load.
Combining location information with a monitoring feature can increase productivity even further. Let’s consider plant and machinery on a site: if the engine is running while a crane or digger is not being used, this idling uses up fuel and drives up costs. It also adds to the wear and tear on the equipment, reducing its effectiveness over time. Better asset management could identify this overspending and increase usefulness.
Exceeding customer expectations
Another challenge for businesses this year is increased customer service expectations. Most of us will have experienced the frustration as consumers when we expect a delivery or service call, and the best we’re told is “they’ll be with you this week”, or “sometime today”. Companies that don’t have visibility over where their service engineers or delivery trucks are will always struggle to keep customers informed about when to expect a visit. This is brand new territory for many companies, but it’s the world we’re living in now.
Finely-tuned logistics providers can text their customers to tell them when a driver will arrive, down to the exact hour. Today, lots of companies have no choice but to do this manually. They assign more staff to take calls from customers with delivery enquiries who then contact drivers to find out what route they’re on and then they try to work out how long it will take the driver to get from their current location to the destination and call the customer back with a best-guess estimate. This admin is a drain on valuable staff time; it’s resource-intensive, error-prone and slow.
Businesses that manage fleets of commercial vehicles, or provide leased company cars, often need to calculate mileage. Many do this manually, relying on drivers’ memories of their journeys when filling out timesheets, and removing any personal travel. A lot of effort and admin time goes into this, with a high potential for unintentional human error that comes from estimating or rounding.
Cracking the productivity puzzle
All of the scenarios described above have one theme in common: productivity. As long as businesses have no way of monitoring the assets they have, or where they are located, they can’t be sure they are operating effectively. Asset tracking and telematics technology can address that business need.
It can identify unnecessary spending and save on valuable time and resources that’s currently used up in trying to manage the assets manually. It lets companies monitor and detect their assets in real time or get alerts if an asset that should be in one place is moved. It provides reports so businesses can quickly see any change in their state over time.
Fitting the asset with a device that allows it to be tracked opens up a range of possibilities for business. The devices are designed for sending data over the mobile network, which the business can then see online with a management portal. Straight away, this saves time from having to take a reading directly from a vehicle, or to do a manual inspection.
Seeing is believing: how visibility leads to efficiency
Depending on the sophistication of the tracking unit, it can report on how often the asset is used every day, and the amount of time it’s being used. With this information available through the portal, the business can easily see if the asset is being used as efficiently as possible. That knowledge can then support a decision to move the asset to where it will be more productive.
Even something as simple as vehicle tracking can improve productivity. It lets a business identify the closest and most appropriate vehicle, driver, location or point of interest for a job, whether that’s a service call for a plumber, or collecting a parcel. Using vehicles and fleets smarter can lead to typical savings of between 20 and 30 per cent in business mileage.
For heavy machinery use cases, remote monitoring of inactive equipment can double productivity and asset use. Transport and logistics companies using the technology have saved on fuel costs by reducing idling time by up to eight hours per HGV per week. Companies using asset tracking in trailers for example have seen an increase in their trailer utilisation levels of up to 50 per cent using this technology.
Safety first: taking care of drivers
With units which can record when a van is travelling faster than the speed limit, or events such as harsh braking, these devices help monitor driver behaviour and identify training needs. Some types of tracking or telematics devices are connected to dashcams, so they can monitor driver behaviour in more detail, or review footage from a journey. This helps companies to reduce their claims – by as much as 60 per cent in some cases – while showing a duty of care for their employees’ safety.
The old property market cliché of “location, location, location” used to describe the value of a property. The same is true of a company’s physical assets: being able to locate and monitor them quickly and easily is the key to making them cost-effective, and maximising value by ensuring they are as productive as possible.
3Locate is Three’s asset management solution that enables companies to monitor both powered and non-powered assets. It offers a range of tracking devices to suit business needs, combined with a sophisticated management portal that gives businesses the information it needs to make better decisions, and operate effectively.
If you would like to discuss how 3Locate can help your business, call us on 1800 200 017