Perfecting the Equipment Triangle Using Telematics

Manufacturers can strengthen their dealer network and improve communication with end-users through the real-time use of telematics data. See how a supporting a stronger equipment triangle with telematics benefits all angles.

Most equipment manufacturers are tackling the same issue when it comes to product support: how can they make their dealer network more efficient? Manufacturers know that efficient dealerships lead to an increase in sales, revenue, and the overall well-being of the organization.

However, many struggle to find common ground between themselves, their dealers, and equipment end-users. By giving each party access to detailed equipment information and telematics data, manufacturers, dealers, and end-users all benefit from what’s called the Equipment Triangle: the ability for manufacturers, dealers, and equipment end users to work together and benefit from greater insight into equipment performance and service needs.

To further illustrate this point, a recent Construction Equipment article highlighted the concept of the Equipment Triangle, and how dealers are making changes to support their leg: “The Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) has long espoused the Equipment Triangle (end-users, manufacturers and distributors work together for their mutual benefit), but distributors have been the weak leg, with only a couple regularly participating with the organization.”

The article goes on to illustrate how that may be changing as more dealers recognize the importance of engaging with equipment managers who are actively involved in implementing telematic in their fleets. Dealers are realizing that rubbing shoulders with end-users and implementing telematics solutions will pay off in their ability to sell more service contracts and build stronger, more lasting relationships with customers.

In a study on how equipment businesses use telematics, “half of respondents said their distributors offer fleet-monitoring services via telematics. Of those who do, fault code alerts and notification of preventive maintenance are most used. A small percentage of fleets use their distributor to schedule and perform PM and field service calls.” As more dealers offer equipment monitoring services and service contracts, telematics will become a key ingredient in making the process successful for all sides of the triangle.

equipment triangle

How Telematics Work

Telematics is the use of wireless devices and “black box” technologies to transmit data in real time throughout an organization, as defined by Gartner Glossary. Today, many equipment intensive businesses – manufacturers, dealers, and end-users – rely on telematics to connect them to the status of their equipment in the field in real time, typically through a service management system.

While they do very different types of work, manufacturers, dealers, and end-users can support each other’s efforts when they have access to the equipment performance and operation information.

For example, dealers can use the incoming equipment data to trigger alerts when the equipment isn’t working as it should. With this information they can sell more accurate and proactive service contracts to end-users. End-users benefit because they don’t have to worry about their equipment breaking down. Dealers benefit from new service sales revenue. And manufacturers benefit from having more profitable dealers and loyal customers.

By improving the communication and fluidity between these three key members of the equipment triangle, the organization will earn more service revenue and the end-users will be happier and likely renew their service contracts, creating a virtuous cycle for all three parties.

Telematics Unite at Three Levels:

    Manufacturers Access Real-Time Data

    Manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to streamline their organization and increase sales. Specifically, they want to see how their equipment is performing in the field, how successful their preventive maintenance programs are, and general end-user complaints.

    By having a direct line to equipment performance and service information through telematics data, manufacturers have access to real-time data from machines and customers. With this information in hand, manufacturers can encourage a consistent service experience across all dealerships. They can also use the new insight to inform development of future products and equipment design.

    Dealers Offer Consistent Service Experience

    Manufacturers see an opportunity for dealers to capitalize on increasing revenue from service by using telematics to inform the service programs they sell. Access to telematics data helps dealers meet increasing service demands and quotas from manufacturers. They gain insight into when equipment needs to be serviced, and use that information to inform proactive preventive maintenance visits.

    If all dealers in the network are held to the same service standards and utilize similar telematics technology, they’ll offer a more consistent service experience for all customers. With access to resources and data, dealers can build stronger relationships with customers, become their trusted advisors, and prevent unscheduled downtime.

    End-Users Gain New Equipment Intelligence

    End users benefit from every angle through the emergence of telematics data. On one side, they’re given access to equipment intelligence that they never would have had before. They can see data like how long a machine sits idling during a given day rather than relying on stats like hours on an operator’s time card to determine how long a machine’s been operating. With telematics, they have an accurate measure of actual work and can make strategic business decisions based on that information.

    In addition to gaining insight into their own equipment performance and data, end-users also gain the support of more informed dealers and service teams to maintain their equipment in the field. Dealers and end-users share telematics data in a sense. End-users delegate some analysis to the dealer and are also able to demonstrate their own knowledge of the telematics system so they get the big picture benefits.

Conclusion: Telematics Strengthen the Equipment Triangle

Technology is becoming a platform through which the entire triangle – contractor, dealer, equipment manufacturer – can communicate and come together to reshape expectations about how equipment intensive businesses run and how equipment intensive projects get built.

With more insight into the workings of equipment in the field, manufacturers and dealers can analyze when and under what conditions equipment is most efficient so end-users can accomplish more work and expand their equipment’s lifespan.

The way contractors and dealers monitored equipment before telematics is pretty unsophisticated. So anything that’s reasonably reliable is going to improve that process. Inevitably, all manufacturers will have to follow suit in order to compete.

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