Utility Contractor

MAR-APR 2018

As the official magazine of NUCA, Utility Contractor presents the latest information affecting every aspect of the utility construction industry, including technological advancements, safety issues, legislative developments and instructional advice.

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How do contractors react to using technology? Robinson – It varies but a common para- digm is the benefits of technology are being recognized at the executive level, especially now as time progresses and we are getting a younger and younger workforce. Typically what happens is that there will be buy-in at the executive level, and where we see re- luctance is on the front lines – the foremen, mechanics, etc. Oftentimes, however, once those people on the front lines start using the software and understand it and the ben- efits, they start to embrace it and you can't take it away from them. Tarkington – One of the things we have done is set up software so that it mimics how a customer currently operates. For ex- ample, it can be set up so that forms are similar to the paperwork that the customer currently uses. This makes the learning a curve a little easier. Cain – Ironically some of the most re- luctant users are sometimes the best users of the software because they are the most diligent in putting information into the sys- tem. They want to make sure they are doing it right. What future developments can we expect to see? What is HCSS work- ing on? Robinson – From my perspective, deal- ing with the hardware side of things, we have had GPS available for about a decade now. Virtually every OEM has the same technology available. So what we are hear- ing from our customers is: How can they integrate all of the standalone data coming from their GPS? How can the data be put into a context that helps drive business de- cisions? That is an area that a lot of compa- nies are focusing on. Cain – On the equipment maintenance side of the business, utilizing the available data from GPS and telematics can help per- form predictive maintenance and predic- tive fueling. Knowing what the fuel level is without having to go out to the jobsite can streamline scheduling. The data can show how efficiently operators are running the machines and what trends may be devel- oping related to maintenance and repairs. The more data that we have, the better po- sitioned we are to perform predictive ana- lytics. Tarkington – One of the biggest benefits I see in technology implementation is the benefit to the entire company. All of the data can be used to help all aspect of decision- making from bidding to scheduling to job management to fleet management. Technol- ogy can have a positive impact on all as- pects of the business. The construction industry is poised for a technological revolution. As technology becomes more affordable and effective, construction companies across the country are distinguishing themselves from the competition by adopting digital solutions that locate assets, stream- line operations, increase productivity, and improve safety. San Rafael, California-based general contractor Ghilotti Bros. Inc. is one of the companies leading this charge and has seen the benefits of these solutions firsthand. When Ghilotti Bros. started looking for a new fleet management system in 2017, they knew that they wanted more than GPS location tracking. They also wanted to find an integrated solution that would help protect their employees, their equipment, and their brand. Ghilotti Bros. found an answer and a partner in NUCA member company and National Sustaining Partner Samsara, an IoT company that makes internet-connected sensors and software. By combining data from sensors, real-time GPS, dash cameras, and mobile apps into one straightforward interface, Samsara's platform provides Ghilotti Bros. with unprecedented levels of visibility into their operations and creates opportunities to make the company safer and more efficient. One of the biggest advantages is real-time location tracking. Us- ing Samsara's vehicle and asset gateways, the company is able to see the location of every vehicle and piece of equipment. "We have a lot of vehicles and equipment spread out across multiple job sites," said Victor Miral, Service Manager. "If my generator or backhoe isn't where it's supposed to be and I need to find it, it takes two clicks for me to track my machines down." This feature helps the company save dozens of hours a year by avoiding lengthy yard hunts. Mean- while, geofence alerts help prevent theft by proving a warning when an asset is moved. In addition to efficiency gains through asset tracking, Ghilotti Bros. also achieves an edge with Samsara's predictive maintenance reports and alerts. Samsara's sensors track the usage of vehicles, pow- ered assets and unpowered assets and automatically reminds com- pany personnel about oil changes. The company uses this feature to service vehicles and assets in a timely fashion, helping to reduce costs and avoid breakdowns. But for Ghilotti Bros., the distinguishing feature is Samsara's safety tools. With drivers crisscrossing job sites, safety is key priority, and the company is constantly searching for better ways to protect its team. Samsara's safety reports provide another tool in its arsenal by detecting and capturing information about driver behavior, includ- ing speeding incidents and harsh driving events. The company can then provide feedback and coaching to drivers, as well as incentiv- ize better driving performances, helping to build a culture of safety across the company. Since many employees sit behind the wheel of a vehicle with a company logo, driver behavior also represents the company. By pro- moting better driving, Samsara, in turn, helps Ghilotti Bros. safe- guard its company and 100-year-reputation. These advances have forged a strong relationship between Ghilotti Bros. and Samsara and helped the company become more efficient in a short period of time. And Samsara's commitment to innovation ensures that the company will be well-positioned for continued suc- cess in the future. A New Blueprint for Safe and Efficient Worksites

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