Much of the IT buzz these days seems to revolve around GCs and some of the trades. While there is much going on in their world, there are also a number of technological advancements for civil and heavy/highway contractors. New solutions are quickly advancing and being deployed for trucking, material management, and equipment management.
This article is the first in a two-part series that examines the developments occurring in the heavy/highway marketplace. Part two will look at how and why contractors should be paying attention to these developments.
GPS, mobile, telematics, and cloud-computing are a few of the technologies that have emerged and are in the process of being deployed in Heavy Construction. Application developers are using these technologies to build more efficient ways of getting material to plants and jobsites, track and pay truckers, better maintain equipment, track fuel, operate safely, protect assets, and ultimately handle the accounting. Interestingly, only a few of these developments are changing the underlying processes while most are simply automating an existing (manual) process that has been around for decades.
Quite a number of truck tracking solutions have hit the market recently while some of the older solutions are gaining prominence. GPS-based applications are allowing dispatchers or foremen in the field the ability to “order” trucks to plants to pick up material from the plant and have it delivered. Some of these apps allow for reporting on trucking efficiency while others are concerned more with calculating the obligation or cost of the haul and sending the payable amount to your ERP system for payment. The contractors that have deployed this seem very pleased with the visibility they get into their hauling process, reducing wait time, overtime, and overall inefficiency.