Posted April 22, 2020

Rental Solutions: Harness the power of technology to keep moving forward

Self-isolation. It’s the new reality for people, equipment, job sites and rental yards.

Amidst the fear of illness, business survival and an uncertain future, companies across the globe will need to consider how they’ll adapt. Achieving long-term sustainability may rely on how well we embrace and apply the power of technology. 

Industry challenges
The construction industry faces a number of challenges including skilled worker shortages, time and resource inefficiency, infrastructure demands and competitive market threats. More than ever, technology adoption will play a key role in helping to increase fleet visibility, anticipate maintenance requirements and better manage productivity. 

Adapting to change
The emergence from seclusion, whether mandated or self-imposed, could be tenuous at best with customers expressing trepidation, firms navigating the inefficiencies associated with operational interruption and the reality of having to adopt new ways of doing business. 

More than ever, technology adoption will play a key role in helping to increase fleet visibility, anticipate maintenance requirements and better manage productivity. 
ZTR M7 unit
ZTR M7 telematics units can gather machine data, allowing fleet managers to remotely monitor equipment. ZTR Telematics works with more than 125 OEM companies to gather equipment operation data.
T15 and T25 tags
ZTR T Series tags.

According to FactMR, the construction equipment rental market is projected to grow 1.6X over the next decade in response to the high procurement cost of next-generation construction equipment and expensive maintenance services. Rental companies that focus on predictive maintenance and monitoring support programs will gain considerable and sustained revenue. 

“The industry will be crying out for productivity gains, accountability and traceability of activities that are taking place so they can stay on budget, on schedule and keep workers safe. Technology enables companies to evolve their work processes. Without data, you’re flying blindly,” says Paul Wilson, ZTR senior commercial director.

Internet of Things (IoT) technology and telematics data can fuel a rental company’s digital strategy. Here are some tips to help you forge ahead:

  • If you have equipment that’s parked for extended periods, battery drainage is a concern. With the click of a mouse, you can get alerts to ensure your equipment is maintained, available and ready to run, reducing battery replacements and service. 
  • Overall fleet health is another important consideration right now, so you’ll be in the best position to rebound. Make sure your telematics solution gives you the information you need, when and where you need it. If you’re not sure how to get the insights you want, ask for help.
  • Machine theft is on the rise and is of particular concern as sites have closed down due to lockdowns. In the United Kingdom, reports indicate there has been a 50 percent increase in stolen construction equipment. Risk management provider National Equipment Register (NER) says equipment owners should take preventive measures by applying the telematics technology to locate and track assets.

There are great lower-cost options to help you get the information you need if you want to expand your eco-system to include tools, attachments and material. Choose a provider that has a proven telematics portfolio.

Connection and continuity paramount 
Consider the gaps in fleet management and what equipment can be included for a clearer picture of inventory, location and potential use. 

Use any downtime to address any machine issues or faults. Be proactive with service and maintenance tasks.

IoT can help your business run more efficiently and cost-effectively. This is a good time to explore them.  

Choose the right telematics provider
ZTR specializes in engineering solutions tailored to equipment and business needs. Included in its telematics portfolio are a number of basic and advanced solutions. Equipment is unique, with specific controllers and specific uses that demand a customized fit with telematics hardware. This is where ZTR hardware capabilities shine. ZTR has proven experience in:

  • Telematics devices designed for rugged, industrial use
  • Integration with equipment controllers
  • Global compatibility
  • Working with OEMs on factory installations
  • Wireless carrier/coverage evaluation and certification
  • Custom-designed solutions
  • Installation kits and harnesses

OEM partner programs often provide telematics-ready solutions to rental companies. ZTR is in the unique position to manage this for you with more than 125 OEM partners across the globe. If you need to retrofit, we have you covered. We supply installation services to tackle retrofits in the field.

Tying it all together
Telematics data needs to come together in a single, proven, flexible and secure platform. A platform needs to be visual, user and mobile-friendly and provide insights to data to create outcomes and action for the rental and site operation. 

The ZTR ONE i3 solution provides all the elements of the Industrial IoT in one Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. It allows you to connect to suppliers, partners, and customers. As a complete solution, it includes hardware, equipment integration, platform, user interface with ZTR GeoZone adaptive reporting, wireless management and support. With its maps, fault codes, alerts, machine controls, reports, new dashboards, and enhanced data from machines, the platform enables informed and educated decisions, proactive service and better customer experiences.

Business interfaces and integrations enable information to be accessible throughout your rental management system. Rental systems can provide data to the ONE i3 program to provide rental context with the machine data in asset and map views. Telematics interfaces solve mixed fleet problems by collecting all equipment data so it can be seen in one place.

Value of the sharing economy
As the industry moves forward, it will be important for OEMs, rental and construction businesses to work together to serve the industry at large, supporting growth and positive change.

The ZTR Data Brokerage service is available through the ONE i3 platform. ZTR programmers have re-invented customer account structures to create virtual communities so multiple clients can securely share in the benefits of data from the same machine. ZTR manages the trust factor through data governance and brokerage services. 

“We have built our platform with the concept of information sharing and security down to the data point level. The net result is that community members increase their value efficiencies using IoT data, all while realizing reduced costs and fostering brand loyalty,” says Sam Hassan, ZTR CEO and president.

Fueled by collaboration
Delivering telematics innovation is about working collaboratively to recognize and solve customer challenges. 

Now is the time to have conversations with your telematics provider about the problems you’re facing and how to derive greater insight with a digital strategy that works for you. 

The rental industry faces challenges as it navigates current market conditions. While it’s impossible to accurately predict how well it will fare, we can apply technology in more targeted and consistent ways so we can emerge stronger, backed by the power of insight and data-driven decisions.

This article was sponosored by ZTR Telematics and was originally published in the May-June 2020 issue of Pro Contractor Rentals magazine. ©2020 Urbain Communications LLC. All rights reserved.