Dedicating Resources to Build Value Through Telematics
Having identified the need for telematics, Black Diamond Equipment Rental began installing hardware into its fleet of rental machines. With the units installed, it was time to start generating valuable insights that would give Black Diamond Equipment the ability to make data-driven decisions to improve business processes.
Providing contractors and the gas and oil industry with heavy machinery in a high-growth area of the US means that Black Diamond Equipment Rental is also seeing constant growth in its business. It has led to an increased number of employees, more equipment, and more customers. These are positive improvements, but without the right processes, scaling the business could become difficult.
What initially drew Black Diamond to telematics was the need for a dot on a map and the realization that it was hard to perform utilization reporting without access to more data. This data would support some of the assumptions made by service managers or technicians and start to illustrate the value of the data.
As the business grew, the main focus was to make sure that processes ran smoothly and that customers were satisfied. However, this led to less emphasis being put on running and maintaining the telematics system, leading to problems with non-reporting units, broken units, mistakes in the data, and no alignment on how to use the system.
“There was no one assigned to maintaining the telematics system. There were some non-reporting and broken units and data that needed cleaning. The value of telematics was clear, but we needed to dedicate resources to it.”
Oliver Herndon, Applications Admin
The misalignment led to:
A lack of understanding for the system internally
Limited information about the utilization of the equipment that was out on rent
Difficulty in setting up valuable service intervals for machines
To reestablish the value of telematics, a few processes needed to be changed. The turning point for Black Diamond was hiring Oliver Herndon, the Applications Admin, to man the software solutions that it had in place.
Bringing Oliver Herndon onto the team was a necessary step in the right direction. It allowed Black Diamond Equipment Rental to invest time and resources into telematics.
The first steps in this process involved cleaning up the existing data and identifying the non-reporting or broken units so they could swap those out for functional hardware. Cleaning up the data was also an important step. For example, the hour meter data can ensure that service intervals are respected.
Cleaning the data and swapping out the hardware was a joint effort between Trackunit and Black Diamond Equipment Rental. Working together to overcome these problems resulted in a quicker resolution time so Black Diamond could get the value they were expecting.
In addition, the added resources to manning the software platforms at Black Diamond meant that a two-way integration was possible between Black Diamond's ERP system and the Trackunit platform.
“It’s all about spending time to understand the tool that you have. By setting a strong foundation, you’ll set yourself up for the future. Now, I don’t spend much time on maintenance or clean-up. But Trackunit is providing the value that we expect.”
Oliver Herndon, Applications Admin
As a result of the data clean-up combined with investing more time and resources into telematics, Black Diamond Equipment Rental can get the value it expects from telematics.
Trackunit Manager lets Black Diamond know what is happening with its machines. Making assumptions based on experience and expertise can be convenient in certain situations. But having the data to back up these assumptions can improve processes around servicing and maintaining equipment.
Getting insight into the utilization of equipment has allowed Black Diamond to streamline how it services equipment. Using the hour meter data, technicians can determine whether or not a machine on the rent needs to be serviced. For example, if the equipment has been out with a customer for 6 months, the assumption is that it needs servicing. However, in reality, it has only been used for 10 hours, so there is no need to send a Technician to do a service. Instead, they can focus on doing other important work elsewhere.
This is not only good for Black Diamond and its Technicians, but it can also be a great benefit for customers. If Black Diamond can see that a machine has not been used, it can relocate the equipment to another customer. Ensuring that customers are never paying for equipment that isn’t providing them with any value.
The integration possibilities with Trackunit have also allowed Black Diamond to create a two-way integration with the ERP system that it already had in place. This gives a better overview of which customers have which machines are on rent and makes it easy for equipment to come and go from the yard.
Dedicating the time and resources allows Black Diamond Equipment Rental to get the value out of telematics that it expects. In the future, it expects to keep using Trackunit because of all of the integration possibilities that allow Black Diamond to provide exceptional service as it grows and adds additional software to its arsenal of tools.