Clue's AI redefines fleet efficiency

Telematics
May 27, 2021

Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Intelligence demonstrated by machines.

If the equipment is working, it’s an asset, but if it’s not working, it’s a liability. 

- Mike Vorster, Professor and Author of Construction Equipment Economics

While Mike was referencing machines, the quote can be generalized to all assets: trucks, crews, tools, reports, the list goes on and on, and one obstacle that owners face daily is a diversity of assets that produce, or fail to produce, insights into their own movements, productivity, and life cycles. AI is changing that, giving the assets themselves a way to be heard in the scrap and bang of the construction industry.  


Diversity is necessary for job productivity and completion. You could not have built D.C.’s White House or Seattle’s Space Needle with just a hammer. No, monumental projects require monumental tools. Clue takes that necessary diversity found in modern-day fleets and mitigates their downside by consolidating those assets under one, easy to use platform. If Clue had been around for our Founding Fathers, it would have reduced costs and kept a few more coins in the Treasury.


Once your assets are connected, and Clue can connect to over 25 OEMs (CAT, Komatsu, Doosan, John Deere etc.) and 3rd party telematics systems (Geotab, Samsara, Verizonconnect, and more) with more on the way, you will be able to understand your fleet in ways previously recognized only by project analysts after a job was complete. This is in part due to Clue’s AI working behind the scenes to give you visibility into the minute-by-minute operations of your assets. 

Let’s say you have two wheel loaders: alike in every way. They operate at different job sites, (A) and (B), but the distance between their load and offload appears identical. Hell, you’ve walked the sites yourself! So why in 6 hours is (A) able to offload 40 times while (B) only manages 34? If this keeps up, you’ll be a full day behind schedule by month-end. You make the logical assumption, operator error, and have the drivers trade sites. The next day, same problem: 34 at (B), 40 at (A). You ask your veteran operator what’s going on, but they say everything’s good. The project inevitably delays for unknown reasons. Even the project manager is stumped.

Here’s where you get the Clue difference. 

Exact same setup, only this time you have AI on your side. As soon as (B) reports its below average load count of 34, you pull up the data from the loader...it's traveling 40 extra feet per cycle. In fact, Clue’s AI is showing where along the route loader (B) is veering off course. You swear you were out there yesterday and didn’t see a problem, but you trust the AI and go take a look. With the data up on mobile, you watch exactly where the loader is diverging from the expected course...and then you see it! One of your subcontractors has parked their new, shiny truck near the loader’s path. Turns out your operators were just unconsciously giving the vehicle a wide berth to avoid damaging the mirror-bright truck. A 20-foot berth, both ways. You ask your sub to move his truck back a little bit and, lo and behold, the load count of site (B) is at 39.

I know, the above example seems small, but the savings go far beyond that. If the excavators in the above example were planned to operate for three days, delivering 120 loads in total, that means (B) would have to operate an additional 2.4% of a workday in order to make up the loads it couldn't deliver on time, leading to more wear and tear, more fuel, and more man-hours. Costs have a tendency to snowball, but AI gets ahead of the little things before they become big.


To be fair, the above was a simple example, and Clue’s AI is far more powerful than that. The telematics collected above: GPS location, fuel usage, idling time, etc., were gathered and sent to cloud servers where it was then viewed and analyzed. It then sent the supervisor an alert, allowing the admin insight into the exact problem, giving them the tools they needed to make an informed decision. Just as the AI gave perspective on the two loaders in the story above, it will have insights into all aspects of fleet efficiency: “Why was excavator #3 only operating for 20 hours this week? Neverminded, got it. AI says the operator in training, Jerry, was working that machine.”...“Why is Clue telling me excavator #12 hasn’t moved all day? What do you mean it's being used as a brace!”...”Hey, Daren! You need to turn that thing off when you use the bathroom, bud. Clue’s saying your rig is idling way too long.”   

As stated above, fleets are diverse entities, composed of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of assets. How particular units are distributed matters from job to job, site to site, and with the AI monitoring around the clock, it generates insights that aren’t just more noise. Clue’s AI provides alerts that are actionable, making sure that decisions around asset allocation, use, and profitability are always relevant and timely, making superintendents and equipment managers aware of problems instantly rather than intermittently. After all, your fleet’s health is paramount to its efficiency. A single machine unexpectedly going down results in losses upwards of $20K, both in repair costs and asset downtime. With AI assistance, you can eliminate emergency maintenance and keep your assets working harder, longer, and more effectively.

As Professor Vorster said, your assets are only assets when they’re working, and Clue’s AI maximizes productivity by reporting under-utilized and excessively idling assets. However, telematics without context is useless, which is why the AI providing daily insights is so helpful. If you’re in Las Vegas at a conference wondering why the idle rate of your fleet in Denver suddenly doubled, you can quickly see that the sensors were also saying that it’s been 10℉ the last five days and that 80% of that idling occurred before shifts started. That also explains why nobody’s using backhoe #17, as the heater’s broken. 

AI also brings perspective into things that are potentially more perilous, with live alerts on critical faults as soon as they’re reported by the machine or its operator. Not only does this help save a machine from a potentially catastrophic failure, allowing for maintenance to occur actively rather than reactively, but makes your job site a safe and productive place to work. This can be especially relevant to highway contractors, who report that there’s a 67% chance of crashes into their work zones. Clue allows you to create geofences around hazardous areas, sending instant mobile alerts to crew members when they enter a known danger zone. This obviously reduces insurance claims and keeps your workers safe and sound. It also doesn’t hurt that Clue ensures your project is DVIR compliant with customizable inspection and maintenance processes for each asset type.

There’s also the problem of tools that just go missing or find themselves in the wrong place. If you’ve been in the industry for a while, it’s not surprising to you that projects report 9% in losses due to job site theft. We’ve all heard of that person that takes the backhoe home to help grandma with her flower bed. It’s a sad reality of the industry, but it doesn’t have to be. With AI connected into your telematics systems, you immediately get an alert when an asset finds itself somehow outside its designated area.


AI isn’t the way of the future; it’s here now! Businesses are already using it to their advantage, an advantage that will be hard to overcome for those late to the adoption party. If you want to increase your efficiency, decrease your cost, and get visibility into your assets through a single platform, you should check out what AI can do for you and see how your fleet can be made more efficient today.

A quote from Darrin Sheriff, Director of Equipment and Purchasing at Palmetto Corporation said it best, “I could see the savings instantly, and we increased our efficiency practically overnight!”

Contact us to see a live demo how AI can improve fleet efficiency.

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