How GPS tracking systems integrate with all arms of a resource organisation
It’s no secret that times have changed in the energy and resources sector. Money is tight and over the past couple of years, there’s been a ruthless focus on running a lean operation. In this climate, it could be tempting to view GPS tracking as a luxury but this would be a false economy.
As Deloitte notes in its Tracking the Trends 2017 Report, which details the sector’s 10 main issues, cost cutting eventually hits the law of diminishing returns. Once the obvious wastage is eliminated, effective cost reduction means reinventing operations. Embracing digital technologies to improve information flow lets you look beyond numbers on a spreadsheet to make decisions using genuine insight. Real-time and historical data empowers you to act quickly and make decisions based on hard facts.
But you need to collect the right data in the right places. “It becomes time consuming to log into various OEM GPS tracking system software platforms and attempt to consolidate all of this data together.”
Instead, you need a GPS tracking system that integrates with all arms of the organisation to tell you the complete story. You need to look at how you can connect or add sensors to your tracking units and use the wireless connectivity to send this data to the Internet. You also need it to feed information into your resource management or productivity software. That way, you can access utilisation time, location data and other data to measure costs, as well as access remote or historical data. With this in place you can use it to get the most out of your business.
That’s a lot of moving parts and working them in harmony is quite a juggling act. Having the right number of machines for each step and measuring their utilisation and inactive times goes a long way to avoiding costly delays or unnecessary expenditure.
Mine sites are large, remote and manually managed. Having maintenance staff drive to and inspect plant and machinery is a major safety risk. Not only does it put light vehicles in same environment trucks, but it requires navigating through rugged terrain. Sensors can monitor critical components of your operation. Sensors on Highwall water pumps can measure pH levels as well as the speed and volume of flow. “The same can be said with fuel levels and CANBUS faults on generators powering lights that keep a site running around the clock – GPS tracking units will relay this data where and when it’s needed.
Accurate Running Costs
When it comes to financial calculations of how much value you’re getting out of a piece of machinery, it can be difficult to take all the factors into account. With GPS tracking devices that integrate directly with your productivity management software, you can effortlessly add details like engine hours and running costs into calculations for a true picture of your costs.
Sending a mechanic to service machinery is expensive, especially since it means taking that equipment out of circulation. It’s not something you want to do more than necessary. Underservicing is equally problematic as this increases wear and tear, which reduces efficiency over time. By capturing engine hours, you can service as needed and embrace a preventative maintenance approach. With an alert that machines on site are low on fuel, for instance, you can send the fuel truck to avoid delays.
Health and Safety
While the main concern with health and safety is obviously protecting people, there’s also a financial cost to poor worksite practices. Serious incidents can see a mine site closed pending an investigation. Equipment might be damaged or destroyed and there are often legal implications. The resources industry is fraught with the challenges of light vehicle working around heavy vehicles. Not only is there the risks of such a weight disparity, but heavy vehicles have blind spots that make it dangerous to drive around a mine site in a car. Remote monitoring minimises the need for physical site visits and GPS tracking makes sure light vehicles stick to approved routes when they are onsite. It also improves safety in remote areas with features such as rollover detection and duress switches.
The last thing you need is drivers who don’t follow the rules. As an oil or gas company, your business relies on private agricultural roads for access to wellhead sites. If a maintenance engineer doesn’t shut the gate and a farmer’s cows escape, this is going to create problems. Remote monitoring minimises onsite visits while GPS tracking means routes can be optimised for efficiency and compliance to approved paths. Many operators have policies regulating speed and use of headlights, seatbelts or cruise control. But contractors often work for multiple operators and these policies vary from company to company. GPS tracking ensures drivers meet your standards, and can also be customised to comply with industry-specific initiatives like Safer Together.
There’s never been a greater focus on efficiency in the resources industry but it needs to be focused on the right areas. What’s the real value of a cost-cutting measure that saves a little bit of money but creates a lot of inconvenience? The continued success of the resources industry will depend heavily on technology that helps unlock productivity improvements now and into the future.