For Aaron Miller, the shop manager for Capital Construction in Linn Creek, Mo., the results of his relationship with EquipmentShare were made clear on a rainy fall morning. It was a big win.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever had anything stolen that we recovered the same day,” Miller said.
Miller is responsible for the Linn Creek location’s expensive fleet of paving machinery and other gear. They use EquipmentShare fleet management technology solutions to track, monitor and manage their equipment assets, trailers and vehicles. On this day, that technology helped save part of his fleet.
“We have a mechanic that comes in really early in the morning,” Miller said. “When he came in, he noticed the gate was busted open. He knew that something was stolen.”
Shop Foreman Nick Parcel was tasked with checking the EquipmentShare tracking software, which immediately provided Parcel with the equipment’s location. By using EquipmentShare’s fleet management dashboard tool, Parcel could see a record of the GPS coordinates that followed the truck, trailer, pavement roller and other gear that had been stolen. There was an added challenge in this case: Cell service is spotty in the rural, rolling hills of mid-Missouri where the thieves fled.
“This is where the truck’s cell signal stopped,” said Parcel, pointing to his computer screen. “We drove directly here that morning, and we found the truck right here.”
Dwynn Evans, who leads the team of engineers that works on EquipmentShare’s fleet management technology, described taking on the challenge of those intermittent signals.
“It’s like CSI, where the people behind the computer actually have someone out in the field, troubleshooting live,” Evans said. “After Capital called us, we also looked at the last GPS location to confirm where the last ping was.”
After tracking the equipment’s GPS journey, Parcel and Miller decided they’d venture out to retrieve the equipment. The Capital team found their missing truck first. Then, the data led them to the rest of the stolen equipment.
“The tracking technology recorded that whole time,” Miller said. “We looked at the route plan from when it was stolen to where they took it. You could see that truck stopped in a few places, so I told Nick, ‘Let’s check these spots where that truck stopped.’ You know that trailer has got to be at one of them.”
There were several dead zones between the location of the truck and the rest of the equipment. Nonetheless, EquipmentShare’s technology showed the whole route map.
“Where they parked the trailer was dead cell service, but with that tracker still recording where they went by GPS, I still knew where my trailer was,” Miller said. Parcel took the data and ran with it. At one point, the route went off the beaten path.
“I dropped a pin there, and I drove straight there and found it,” Parcel reported with a smile.
For Evans and her team at EquipmentShare, it was a reminder of why they come to work each day.
“It is really affirming that we were able to recover the asset with hardware that we sell day in and day out,” Evans said. “This is really great proof that our technology is working.”
“My shop guys and EquipmentShare, they saved (us) probably $200,000 worth of equipment,” Miller calculates. “Actually, it wasn’t just, ‘I have $200,000 worth of equipment, and it’s gone.’ It was the fact that I’ve got an eight-man crew, and they’re relying on us to go pick this stuff up and get it to them so they can go back to work. It’s more than just the $200,000 that’s gone. It’s that we have no revenue to come back in. We can’t do the job. So, getting that back in a timely fashion is the key.”
Evans feels that pressure on EquipmentShare’s end.
“They’re on a budget; they’re on a tight schedule,” Evans said. “When something is missing or stolen, it impacts the longevity of that project. It also impacts future projects. For example, if they’re late or behind on a specific project and send out an RFP on another proposal, they may not get it because of the impact of this one stolen asset. So, it’s imperative that we help recover that asset as quickly as possible.”
EquipmentShare’s technology is about more than loss prevention, though. For Capital, it helps run the entire operation.
“I utilize this stuff daily,” Parcel said. “I do work orders, plan maintenance, track assets, track hours—I do everything off of this. It is our business at this point.”
“Tracking the stolen equipment, that’s an added bonus,” Miller said of his use of EquipmentShare’s fleet tracking technology. “We use it to (track) equipment hours and are able to bill off it. That’s a daily thing. That’s something you’re going to use constantly. And that’s the way of the future.”
Today, most contractors and construction companies own equipment with its own brand-specific telematics running on it. For construction professionals like Miller, and companies like Capital that purchase multiple pieces of equipment from a range of brands and manufacturers, that means consulting various technology systems to find the tracking, utilization and maintenance data you need to run the business.
“You put your trackers from EquipmentShare on the equipment, and all that data is in one spot,” Miller said. Miller and his team can access this information—regardless of make, model or OEM—from any internet-connected device.
Miller has also discovered that EquipmentShare takes his ideas and incorporates them into the software.
“If we’ve got something we want done differently, they bend over backwards to help us,” Miller said. “They’ve got a whole team of engineers that will come out here.”
“That’s the great thing about partnering with Equipment Share,” Telematics Team Lead Dwynn Evans said in agreement. “We’ll build our products based upon innovation and based upon customer feedback.”
Now, Miller is looking to expand the partnership. He’s working with the EquipmentShare team to explore jobsite cameras and AI technology that notifies managers when employees aren’t wearing PPE or when a person enters a jobsite after hours. This will help companies like his prevent accidents and theft.
The customers’ reliance on the technology and tracking hardware translates to a lot of responsibility for the product development and software development teams at EquipmentShare. Evans says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s a weight that we love to carry,” Evans said. “That’s why we are in this business, because we want to be able to assist and make their lives easier. When we partner with our customers, it’s a true partnership, and we don’t want them to feel like they’re in it alone.”