Why GPS is Important for Construction Companies

April 17, 2020

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Key Takeaways

Using GPS technology in construction projects has a variety of benefits both for you and your clients. Learn how GPS technology for construction sites can save time, reduce expenses, and improve customer satisfaction of your construction projects.

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Locating assets on a large construction project site can be both inconvenient and time-consuming. Repeated jobsite searches could possibly even result in delayed operations. With comprehensive GPS software for construction sites, there is no need to call around the site searching for equipment. GPS technology allows construction companies to track and locate construction equipment in real-time. Furthermore, when connected to cloud technology, GPS systems can gather and analyze important location-based data on a company’s heavy equipment. 

Using specialized construction technology has a variety of benefits both for you and your clients. Read on to learn more about GPS technology for construction sites and how it can save time, reduce expenses, and maximize the client satisfaction of your construction projects.

How does GPS work?

A GPS tracking device interacts with satellites that are continuously transmitting signals to pinpoint locations. GPS systems may use over eight satellites at once. This allows the location calculation to be accurate to within 100 feet. Construction sites require this high level of accuracy because they are complex, highly active workplaces. Site managers cannot afford to waste time wondering about the location of various assets.

4 reasons why GPS technology is important for construction

Operational efficiency can be the difference between a successful construction project and one that suffers from delays and unforeseen expenses. With the right technology, construction site  managers ensure the entire team benefits from higher productivity and improved safety. 

In order to efficiently manage a construction site, different types of GPS technology are needed for different types of equipment. Specific GPS solutions are available for vehicles, powered assets, and unpowered assets. Regardless of type, GPS technology is important to successful construction projects for following reasons:

1. On-site vehicle and equipment location tracking: With GPS, you can monitor the real-time location of your assets and oversee all the moving parts of the jobsite remotely. This can enable you to monitor how effectively you are utilizing fuel, vehicles, and employees. GPS solutions can also provide you with automated inventory reporting, giving you access to a visual map of all your assets on one platform. 

2. Proper equipment maintenance: GPS technology lets you monitor the usage of your construction equipment and helps you reduce downtime or prevent breakdowns of frequently used equipment. These systems will not only track your equipment’s usage, but can also provide customized preventative maintenance alerts for specific equipment and vehicles.

3. Theft: In the unfortunate event of a theft from your construction site, GPS technology can help you locate and retrieve the missing asset. Furthermore, when using GPS solutions with geofencing capabilities like Samsara’s, you can instantly receive alerts when a tracked asset leaves a certain perimeter. Not only is having real-time GPS location important in removing any guesswork regarding an asset’s location, it can be very helpful to have this information to share with authorities in case of theft. 

4. Data-based resolution of client disputes: In the event of a disputed invoice, construction GPS technology can provide data to prove that your team was on site and on time for the job. Having digital evidence is a simple and effective way to ensure that everyone is paid fairly for their work.  

What features should your GPS tracking solution include? 

To receive the maximum benefits of using GPS for construction sites, your GPS tracking solution should include the following features: 

  • Maintenance Alerts: It can be difficult to determine and keep track of when your equipment needs to undergo maintenance. GPS technology products like Samsara’s VG34 Vehicle Gateway allow you to schedule preventive maintenance based on factors such as engine hours, mileage, or time period. By using remote vehicle diagnostics, engine utilization, and fault code alerts, it is possible to both prevent breakdowns and reduce downtime. In addition, idling alerts can lower fuel costs and also identify behaviors that cause breakdowns. 

  • Asset Utilization Reports: Asset utilization reports enable you to optimize your assets and reduce overhead costs. Tracking data such as fuel consumption or idling time not only allows you to rightsize your fleet, but also lets you easily determine which of your assets are underutilized and should be moved to sites with higher demand. 

  • Geofencing: Geofencing uses GPS to create a virtual boundary of a real geographical location. These boundaries, known as geofences, allow for the detection of theft and unauthorized asset movement. Products with geofencing capabilities, like Samsara asset trackers, send an alert when your equipment crosses a geofence without authorization. In the event of an emergency, Samsara’s Live Sharing Links also provide an easy way to share location information with officials in real time. 

  • Anti-theft properties: When equipment goes missing, having a way to recover your assets quickly is imperative. Selecting a GPS solution with anti-theft features can help with theft prevention and recovering assets in a timely manner. Samsara’s GPS tracking solutions have customizable ping rates, which means that you can remotely adjust the frequency of ping rates to best meet your current requirements. Each tracker is also manufactured with an easily camouflaged surface that will bond with any standard spray paint. This allows the device to be discreetly attached to valuable assets, making it difficult for unauthorized removal or use. 

  • Long-lasting battery with solar power backup: A GPS product with solar power backup like the Samsara AG24 Asset Gateway gives you peace of mind so you don’t have to worry about constantly recharging your asset trackers. 

How Ghilotti Bros use GPS Tracking to improve operational efficiency and protect their employees 

Construction company Ghilotti Bros., Inc is regarded as one of the most forward-thinking construction firms in the San Francisco Bay Area. To protect their 175 employees, equipment, and brand, the company found an integrated management solution in Samsara. Combining real-time GPS data with that of sensors, dash cameras, and mobile apps, Samsara’s platform provides end-to-end visibility, allowing Ghilotti Bros. to increase safety and efficiency. 

Reliable GPS tracking in Samsara Vehicle Gateways and Asset Gateways allow Ghilotti Bros. to improve their efficiency with real-time fleet and asset tracking. Despite having many vehicles and pieces of high-value equipment spread out across multiple jobsites, the company can track down their machines quickly and conveniently with Samsara. This saves Ghilotti Bros. dozens of man-hours by avoiding time-consuming yard hunts and unnecessary equipment transfers. 

Samsara also tracks the usage of Ghilotti Bros. vehicles, powered assets, and unpowered assets in order to provide customized preventative maintenance reports and alerts. For example, vehicles driving over dirt or gravel on jobsites will need relatively more tire changes than a vehicle that mainly drives over paved roads. Using these preventive maintenance features, the company can both cut maintenance costs and maximize equipment uptime. 

The Samsara platform’s safety tools are another huge benefit for Ghilotti Bros., who consider worker safety a top priority. The company has logged 375,000 accident and injury-free man-hours since March 2017. 

 With their commitment to safety and operational efficiency, Samsara helps like-minded businesses such as Ghilotti Bros. to reach and maintain their success. 

GPS solutions for construction firms 

The uses for GPS in construction are numerous and increasing. GPS solutions like Samsara’s can assist you in managing every stage of your construction projects by tracking equipment, monitoring asset utilization, and ensuring the safety of everyone on site. Thanks to Samsara’s real-time GPS tracking systems, you can have peace of mind knowing the exact location of your vehicles and equipment, save time avoiding yard hunts, and optimize your operational efficiency with automated inventory reports.  

The construction industry involves countless moving parts. Keeping track of these parts while also maximizing safety and efficiency can be a difficult job. GPS technology is a cost-effective solution that enables your construction projects to be highly efficient and ensures the security of your assets. 

For more information, reach out to Samsara for a free trial, or learn more about our solutions in the construction industry.

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