Your Guide to GPS Fleet Tracking for Equipment

December 17, 2020

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Key Takeaways

To alleviate any risks of misplacing assets—while surfacing important insights about their usage and ROI—read on to learn how GPS tracking for equipment can improve your fleet management and help your fleet operate more efficiently.

If you’re a fleet manager, or part of an operations team that oversees heavy or light-duty equipment, you might want to consider GPS fleet tracking for equipment to help ensure the security of these valuable assets. Whether your fleet uses construction equipment, heavy equipment, or a mix of the two, these assets can be an integral and costly part of your operations. This means losing or misplacing an asset can be hurtful to your company’s bottom line, not to mention a large inconvenience for day-to-day operations.

To alleviate any risks of misplacing these assets—while surfacing important insights about their usage and ROI—read on to learn how GPS tracking for equipment can improve your fleet management and help your fleet operate more efficiently.

What is GPS equipment tracking?

GPS tracking devices are one of the more popular types of tracking systems available to businesses and consumers today. A GPS tracker is a device that uses the Global Positioning System to determine and track the location of its carrier, typically a vehicle or piece of equipment. This enables location data to be collected and displayed on a map which can then be used to locate that item. GPS equipment tracking leverages this technology to protect assets like containers, compactors, dumpsters, and more.

What types of assets can you track with equipment tracking? 

Here are three examples of common equipment types that can use equipment tracking for various needs:  

  1. Unpowered equipment: Tracking unpowered equipment, like dumpsters or generators, can help prevent theft and streamline inventory management with ruggedized battery-powered trackers across job or construction sites.

  2. Powered equipment: Tracking powered equipment, like trailers, can help track usage and ensure equipment is being utilized effectively before your fleet rents or purchases additional equipment.

  3. Heavy equipment: Tracking heavy equipment, like loaders or excavators, can help keep these assets out of the shop and address issues instantly with remote access to engine diagnostics and fault codes.

What are the benefits of GPS fleet tracking for equipment?

A GPS tracking system can be an advantageous tool for your equipment for a number of different reasons. Most notably, tracking devices provide visibility into the whereabouts of your equipment—but the benefits extend beyond just location information. GPS fleet tracking for equipment can also help your fleet:

1. Detect and recover lost or stolen equipment

If your business regularly misplaces their assets, fleet tracking for equipment can provide operational savings by simplifying inventory management, detecting unauthorized movement, and increasing the likelihood of recovery. Plus, some telematics providers like Samsara include geofence alerts to identify and mitigate theft and unauthorized use of equipment.

Public agencies such as governments and schools have a wide variety of equipment that is needed at peak community times, like snowstorms, and community events. Knowing their location, their condition, their status, and ensuring they aren’t stolen, are key to delivering efficient citizen services. Protecting equipment—including but not limited to; generators, speed signs, and dumpsters—from theft is critical.

2. Plan maintenance around usage

GPS fleet tracking for equipment allows you to schedule and receive preventative maintenance alerts based on engine hours and track historic diagnostic data to identify trends in performance. Some telematics providers can also track usage for power take-off (PTO) equipment that’s connected directly to your vehicles (like street sweepers or garbage truck compactors). 

3. Increase equipment ROI with automated reports

Before your business invests in new equipment, you can use GPS equipment tracking to analyze existing equipment downtime and utilization. This can help you identify underused assets and make procurement decisions using reports backed by real-time data. 

Discover the benefits of Samsara real-time GPS equipment tracking for your own fleet

Samsara offers customers real-time equipment tracking information, unlike many asset tracking solutions that provide breadcrumb-style trails with location updates that refresh every several minutes. And with live-to-the-second tracking, you have the flexibility to either have real-time location information or be alerted via ping at specific intervals.

Samsara’s Asset Gateways use cellular networks to connect with Samsara’s fleet management software, creating a complete asset tracking solution in a single platform. Whether you’re looking for ways to collect equipment data or need tracking technology to keep an eye on equipment, Samsara’s Asset Gateways can provide valuable information for both your powered and unpowered assets. And with their compact size, Samsara Asset Trackers can attach to almost any piece of equipment and are built to go everywhere your equipment goes. Each device is outfitted with:

  • A durable, waterproof shell built to outlast the harshest conditions

  • Anti-theft screws and a custom screw bit

  • Long-lasting replaceable or rechargeable batteries 

3 Ways to Use Samsara Asset Gateways to Track Your Equipment 

Losing track of a skid steer or a dumpster can be the difference between completing a job on time and losing a job. The more visibility you have into your equipment inventory, the better you can run and scope projects. Samsara makes it easy to schedule and track equipment in 3 steps:

1. Consolidate your equipment into a single dashboard

Staying on top of inventory and the location of equipment can be a full-time job. By using tracking devices for powered and unpowered assets, you can view and manage everything from light to heavy equipment in one dashboard. And with Caterpillar 9-Pin and 14-Pin cables, you can install trackers on your Cat equipment as well. Beyond asset tracking, you can view diagnostics in real time and ensure your yellow iron is ready for work without manually checking fuel levels, battery life, or engine hours.

2. Keep equipment on a strict schedule 

Confusion around which equipment should be at which job site can cost you valuable working time. Without knowing equipment availability, you could be missing viable projects while your equipment sits idle.

With GPS tracking and Samsara’s Asset Schedule tool, you can schedule assets for a job and easily view and monitor your equipment using the most up-to-date information, in an easy to read chart. When assigning equipment, your dispatchers can review jobs, assign specific assets, and mark them as pending or onsite. This provides visibility into equipment management for your entire team and eliminates risks of double booking equipment.

3. Ensure equipment is replaced at the end of the day

Yard hunts to track down equipment needed for the day’s work can be time-consuming. This slows down projects and impacts the utilization of rented or owned equipment, driving up project costs.

With Samsara asset check-in scheduling, your equipment shares its location at the start and end of the day, giving you a consolidated report of your equipment locations. When it’s time to lock up the job site, you can set alerts using geofences and battery powered GPS trackers that wake on motion. If there is any unauthorized use or stolen equipment, you are automatically alerted via mobile app to ensure your equipment is safe and your employees have peace of mind.

Learn how Ghilotti Bros. leverages Samsara equipment tracking to maintain visibility into their assets

Regarded as one of the most forward-thinking construction companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ghilotti Bros. has been involved in hallmark construction projects such as the iconic Golden Gate bridge, Lombard Street, and runways at both the San Francisco and Oakland airports.

Service Manager Victor Miral was impressed by Samsara’s real-time capabilities and the benefits that came with GPS tracking. Using live location information from Samsara's vehicle gateways, Miral is able to keep up with the constantly moving parts of his white fleet. With Samsara asset gateways, he is also able to track high-value construction equipment including generators, trailers, and large machinery.

The company uses Samsara equipment tracking to save dozens of hours each year by avoiding lengthy yard hunts and unnecessary equipment transfers to and from different job sites. Geofence alerts also help Ghilotti Bros. prevent theft by sending a warning when an asset is moved from a particular location.

“We have a lot of vehicles and equipment spread out across multiple job sites,” said Miral. “If my generator or backhoe isn’t where it’s supposed to be and I need to find it, it only takes two clicks for me to track my machines down.”

Learn more about Samsara fleet tracking for equipment today

Samsara equipment tracking is part of an integrated fleet management and ELD solution to help your fleet stay compliant, efficient, and sustainable. To learn more about Samsara equipment tracking, reach out to our customer service team for a free demo or pricing information. Or, read more about how Samsara’s telematics and vehicle tracking system can help prepare your fleet for the future