Asset Tracking, Fleet Management, Maintenance, New Features, Efficiency

Improved Insights Into All Your Heavy Equipment

March 10, 2020


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It’s more expensive than ever to be a contractor. Construction companies across the US are facing increased operational costs due to growing insurance rates, rising tariffs due to trade disputes, a protracted skilled labor shortage, and more. To combat rising costs, successful construction companies are leveraging technology to streamline their operations and improve efficiency. 

At Samsara, we're committed to building solutions that give construction fleets a single, unified view of their fleet so they can be as efficient as possible, which is why we’re introducing two new tools to bring heavy equipment into view alongside our customers’ white fleet. First, we’re introducing a new cable, the J1939 cable, that tracks GPS and diagnostic data for all makes and models of heavy equipment. Second, we’re rolling out new software integrations with major equipment manufacturers, such as John Deere’s JDLink, that connect embedded telematics solutions to Samsara’s cloud-based dashboard. 

These hardware and software solutions are designed to reduce operational overhead for companies with mixed fleets. Greg Jones, Equipment Asset Manager at Mach Energy Services, is leveraging both the JDLink integration and J1939 cable to track all of his equipment and assets in one place. As Greg explains, “Samsara makes it easy for us to manage our mixed fleet, with both embedded telematics and Samsara’s gateways, all in one unified platform.”

Introducing the J1939 cable

Today we’re rolling out a new heavy equipment cable that connects all yellow iron to the cloud and tracks real-time GPS, engine performance, and diagnostic data. This new J1939 cable is designed to consolidate data from all makes and models of heavy equipment in the cloud for easy accessibility. Having heavy equipment data alongside data from trucks, trailers, and unpowered assets means construction fleets can make critical decisions to positively impact their bottom line. Heavy equipment engine data, like fuel level, DEF level, and coolant temp is captured in real time, giving your team the information they need to make quick equipment management decisions. 

As part of Samsara's unified platform, the new J1939 cable helps construction teams:

  • Bring all their models into view in one system so fleets can always access Samsara’s real-time GPS, alerts, scheduling, maintenance tools, and usage reporting regardless of equipment make or machine types.

  • Maximize asset usage with scheduling tools and utilization reports to ensure the machines are used to maximize revenue, especially for leased equipment.

  • Improve machine uptime with preventative maintenance schedules based on real-time engine logs, diagnostic data, and fault codes, whether your machines are in the shop or on the job. Analyze information like fuel level, DEF level, battery voltage and more—all in real-time.

How the J1939 cable streamlines operations

As companies look to incorporate new fleet management technologies, they often find themselves solving multiple problems with multiple tools. For example, many construction companies have mixed fleets consisting of trucks and heavy equipment of different makes and models that rely on a variety of technology solutions to get a full picture of their operations. As a result, back office teams waste time switching between systems, tracking down equipment across job sites, or scheduling repairs. Worse yet, reliance on manual engine hour logs results in missed maintenance checks and unplanned machine downtime.  

Joe Frigo, Senior Business Analyst at Bragg Crane, explained that paper logs made equipment tracking across multiple job sites and equipment types difficult and time consuming, “When [pieces of equipment] go to a different job site or a different yard, we might not actually really know where they were. So there was always a manual effort of trying to locate missing equipment.” 

The operational challenges of siloed and manual systems can cause job delays and lost revenue opportunities, but by using Samsara’s J1939 cable your fleet can see the positive impacts of one system immediately. “There’s been several instances during our installation phase that we’ve plugged in a Samsara unit and we pull an engine fault code immediately. So when it’s in the shop, we’ll fix it up right away,” says Frigo, “Getting our heavy equipment operational is our revenue stream. It’s getting the equipment out there and so, the maintenance aspect expedites that process.”

New OEM telematics integrations for powered equipment

In addition to the new J1939 cable, we’re excited to announce that we’re also field testing direct software integrations with original equipment manufacturers’ (OEMs) telematics platforms, including John Deere’s JDLink Telematics System and Caterpillar’s VisionLink system. For our customers with prior investments in OEM telematics, this makes it easy to bring location and diagnostics data from John Deere and Caterpillar models directly into Samsara’s unified platform, to streamline maintenance and maximize equipment usage.

These integrations allow our customers to make the most of their existing technology investments while taking advantage of Samsara’s robust and easy-to-use tools and reporting. With the development of these integrations Samsara continues its commitment to creating consolidated solutions that are flexible and customizable enough to meet the needs of every construction fleet.

With a unified platform for all your machines, construction companies can get the insights they need  to make operational improvements that meaningfully impact the bottom line. Construction fleets that leverage technology to make smart, data-driven decisions can turn any challenging environment into an opportunity to grow and thrive.

The J1939 cable is now available for all Samsara customers. For more information about this cable contact your Samsara representative. 

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