Western Earthmoving is using the internet of things to track utilisation and determine maintenance schedules for 150 heavy earthmoving assets it has on civil sites.
The Sydney-based civil engineering business’s fleet is worth over $30 million and is deployed primarily to residential and industrial subdivisions.
The company is two years into a technology-based transformation that has seen it address many operational challenges by implementing a construction industry-specific configuration of Salesforce.
Salesforce acts as a single platform to resolve many of Western Earthmoving’s business challenges, “managing site processes (e.g. site induction), contract management (e.g. notices of delay), workplace health and safety, asset management, job management and field service,” according to technology partner Carnac Group.
Western Earthmoving recognised profitability could be improved by optimising utilisation of its assets and by using data to better forecast future trends in civil contracting and construction.
Prior to using IoT, Western Earthmoving relied on machinery operators to manually log engine usage hours, which did not always occur.
It was performing maintenance on heavy earthmoving equipment mostly based on the last service, and did not have visibility into whether the machinery was over- or under-worked.
Through its work with Carnac Group, a “proprietary API” was introduced to “draw actual engine running hours directly from each machine.”
“All new equipment purchased is now installed with this technology and older machines are retrofitted,” Carnac Group said.
“We have since iterated further by developing the capability for field staff to log machinery faults which automatically creates workshop service tickets.”
The project now means maintenance is tailored to each machine based on usage. And a dashboard makes it easy to plan that work, said Ivan Bate, technology transformation manager at Western Earthmoving.
“The mechanic workshop manager can have a look at all the service tickets coming up over a week, over two week, or the next month, and start to plan his servicing activities,” Bate said.
IoT data could also help Western Earthmoving sell used machinery. "We have a complete trail of our servicing of equipment that’s really easy to find. If we want to export that information because we want to sell that piece of machinery, we can really easily spit out an auditable service record, which increases resale value,” Bate said.
The change from the broader transformation is profound.
Two years ago, Western Earthmoving did not have a technology program or an IT team.
But its managing director Graham Ragg saw the need to transform, leading a push from the top down that has driven a 20 percent growth in revenue despite contracting market conditions within the construction industry.