With almost 2 million hectares of commercial plantation across Australia, the forest industry certainly has its work cut out for it. Expensive heavy-duty equipment, dangerous and remote sites fraught with hazards, make operating at sites a strenuous exercise for even a seasoned fleet manager.
Yet telematics can help ensure you get the most of out of each job. By integrating a GPS tracking system into vehicles and machinery, you are able to gather valuable data automatically about driver behaviour, vehicle utilisation and equipment usage to ensure you can get the most out of every job.
Your worksites generally have many machines on the go at once. With vehicles working on felling, extraction, loading and delivery, you’re one wrong move away from a collision or accident. GPS fleet tracking means that you know the when and where of everything onsite to minimise risks. It can help ensure you can view vehicle locations and access their data remotely, then it can work with sensors to create geofences to act as virtual barriers that alert drivers and base when they move off approved tracks. All this can reduce the risk that vehicles will go onto unsafe terrain or a light vehicle such as a ute will cross paths with a heavy vehicle that might not be able to see it. Location data, braking and vehicle speeds can be accessed remotely, allowing you to take immediate action in the event of unsafe behaviour.
In Australia, almost $4.4 billion worth of wood products is imported every year and around $400 million of that comes from a source that involved illegal logging. Both regulators, and increasingly, the public want to know that timber is harvested is in a way that is up to standard. GPS vehicle tracking can also collect data to prove that vehicles are operating on the right roads, not causing unnecessary harm to protected areas and logging in the correct areas.
Vehicle Use and Cost Saving
It’s expensive to operate machinery in forestry and ensuring optimum utilisation is imperative. Machines parked up cost your business money, and those left idling excessively increase wear and tear on engines and burn fuel needlessly. With the ability to know where a piece of equipment is and access engine hour data in real-time, you can make informed decisions on whether or not equipment should remain on-site or be relocated. This data helps ensure vehicles and machinery are maintained when they are due for servicing.
Taking advantage of a location-based solution with a built in maintenance module will not only let you know what’s getting used and how often, but remotely alert you when they need attention. This means, you’ll know immediately when a machine is low on fuel to schedule a tanker on site without disruption. It all creates an efficient workflow and relieves some of the pressure on the back office, saving time on making countless phone calls and arduous data entry.
Driver Health and Safety
Unfortunately, industry statistics show that plantation forests are a hazardous workplace. Working in remote locations with limited access to the rest of the world, intense weather, dark conditions and complicated machinery is challenging in itself. To ensure risk is minimised, it’s an essential requirement to be able to monitor the vehicles, the driver’s behaviour and the condition of machinery. Remote monitoring means you don’t have to be onsite to understand what is happening. Duress buttons mean managers can act quickly in the event of a problem such as vehicle roll, while Electronic Work Diaries make it easy for everyone to ensure work/rest requirements are being met to lower fatigue while on the job.
Integrating GPS tracking and supporting technology with your fleet gives you real-time access into information previously unavailable or otherwise difficult to obtain. Jobs are completed safely with increased efficiently and compliance across the operation.