5 reasons asset tracking should be part of your digitalisation strategy.

So, why should you be thinking about asset tracking as a key strategic priority? Here are 5 pretty great reasons.

Article · 5 min read

When it comes to digitalisation, you’ve got a lot of options. Just about anything and everything can be hooked up to a sensor, connected to the internet, and used to generate data about your worksite.


So, why should you be thinking about asset tracking as a key strategic priority? Here are 5 pretty great reasons.


Reason #1: It’s a quick win.

Let’s face it: digitalisation isn’t easy. Often, you need to hire external consultants. Build complex IT infrastructures. And hire people to maintain the whole system. It gives us a headache just thinking about it.


So no wonder Industry 4.0 adoption is slow. But unfortunately, many companies want to implement IoT on their worksites because they think they should, not because they have a clear business case.


Which leaves employees feeling frustrated, projects left unfinished, and business goals unrealised. The World Economic Forum (WEF) even coined a term for this state. Pilot purgatory.


And more than 70% of companies in the manufacturing ecosystem are stuck there, according to the WEF. With new developments in IoT technology though, slow implementation is becoming a thing of the past.


Thanks to end-to-end solutions, subscription-based business models, and affordable satellite connectivity, it’s becoming easier than ever to get IoT technology out in the field. Asset tracking is a great example of a quick win that you can achieve with IoT. Several companies now produce trackers that you can quickly install, connect to satellites, and get results from in a matter of minutes.


Reason #2: Know where to cut costs.

Asset tracking can cost anywhere from $15-$150 per asset, depending on the situation. But the return on that investment is knowledge that can help you cut costs, significantly. Take vehicular tracking, for example. Right now, almost one-third of all maintenance is unplanned, and vehicular maintenance can make up as much as 35% of the operating costs for a mine.


Because specialized assets are so expensive, you often don’t have backup vehicles if breakdowns occur. And spare parts aren’t easy to come by, especially in remote areas. Both of these factors mean that if a machine breaks down unexpectedly, it can seriously derail productivity until a new part can be delivered to a worksite.


If you track your vehicles, you can keep track of how frequently they need maintenance. And if you generate driver scorecards and attach specific drivers to specific machines, you can know which machines may need maintenance faster. And that preventative maintenance?


It can be 3-4 times less expensive than reactive maintenance. With asset data, you can know what’s happening in the field. And when you know what’s happening with your assets, you know where you can cut costs.


Reason #3: Increased productivity.

Knowing what’s happening with your assets doesn’t stop at cost-cutting. It also helps you increase worksite productivity. Because with more data, you can see where there’s waste on your site.


Vehicular idle time is a great example of productivity that you can reclaim through asset tracking. With GPS tracking, you can see where your vehicles are moving around a worksite. You may discover that they spend significant time sitting and idling. If you discover that there are patterns to idle time, chances are you can probably redesign your operations to reduce that idling.


Say, for example, there’s one area of your worksite that has a lot of traffic, which causes a bit of a traffic jam. When you know this problem area exists, you figure out how to run your operations more efficiently. Another example of productivity gains can be found in maintenance. Simply by creating a proactive maintenance program, you can better prevent assets from breaking down.


That means your operations run more smoothly, and you never lose working hours waiting on a spare part to arrive.


Reason #4: Safer people.

At the end of the day, your employees’ safety and wellbeing is at stake. And many worksites are just downright dangerous, especially in remote areas where access to medical care is limited. Asset tracking technology makes worksites safer.


The trackers can automatically gather important data, show when an asset is behaving out of bounds, and help you build better safety plans. Driver scorecards are a great example of the kinds of initiatives that can be powered by asset tracking. With asset data, you can see which drivers are speeding, stopping too quickly, turning too fast, or driving too slow.


Each of these behaviours can indicate that the driver may need more training on how to handle the vehicle.


Reason #5: Scalability.

With asset tracking, there are two ways to scale: across brands, and across types of assets. When it comes to brands, let’s look at vehicle monitoring as an example. Most worksites end up as mixed-fleet sites, meaning there are multiple brands of vehicles.


There’s no inherent problem with a mixed fleet site, but it can become frustrating if you want to track your vehicles. Each manufacturer generally has their own system. There may be some interoperability, but in all, it’s a pain to integrate systems across brands.


The key to making your mixed fleet work together lies in fleet-agnostic tracking systems. Fleet agnostic systems can gather data from every brand of vehicle, then collect it all in one system. You can either integrate all the data into an existing monitoring system. Or you can use an entirely new environment for your data insights. In the end, you get one centralised location with all of your vehicle data, and you can scale across your entire fleet.


Asset tracking isn’t just limited to vehicular monitoring though. And this is where scalability gets exciting, because with an independent asset tracking solution, you can track any asset on your worksite, powered or non-powered.


So not only can you track the truck that’s driving around your site, you can also track the boat it’s hauling behind it in the same system. Pretty neat, right?