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How the equipment rental industry is rethinking maintenance with IoT

Equipment rental companies can increase profits and enhance customer service just by gaining critical real-time insights into their asset performance. We’ve seen equipment rental companies flip the switch on IoT data and quickly improve asset uptime, longevity and performance. But while it’s important to match IoT solutions with the problem that needs to be solved, real-time visibility is not an IoT end game.

What if you could track rental equipment and anticipate issues that have yet to occur? Connecting your assets with an IoT strategy will help you predict problems and determine outcomes, delivering greater asset reliability and customer satisfaction. Consider these three key checkpoints as part of your predictive maintenance strategy:

Putting rules and workflows on your data

Managing maintenance is stressful on anyone responsible for trucks and other equipment. Equipment downtime leads to lost productivity, which has a devastating effect on the construction industry. One breakdown can bring an entire project to a standstill. With IoT, equipment rental companies now have the ability to automate preventive maintenance schedules, inspections and work order processes. It’s the best way to keep your operations running at maximum efficiency, decreasing time spent on diagnosing mechanical defects and evaluating equipment after repairs, maintenance and safety checks.

GPS tracking and telematics for vehicles and heavy equipment can provide accurate asset location, diagnostics and utilization data in near real time. You can configure your IoT application to put rules and workflows on this streaming data, for example, to automate fault alerts or create work orders when engine hours reach a threshold for maintenance. The value added is that you decrease unplanned breakdowns and service calls, maximize worker productivity, perform timely maintenance and alleviate pressure on mechanics and customers to identify equipment issues.

Making data-driven decisions

Running day-to-day operations smoothly means meeting the demands of keeping equipment serviced and ready to rent. And while customer’s may be inclined to take your word for it, offering an accurate, digitized maintenance history will give customers more confidence in their rental decisions. So, the next step on your IoT journey brings you to data-driven decision-making.

For equipment rental companies, this means using IoT data to right-size your fleet and rental stock, forecast and budget for equipment purchases, and streamline equipment pickups and returns. For customers, this means using custom alerts and notifications to know when equipment needs to be serviced, is being under- or over-utilized, or is nearing its return date to avoid overages.

The U.S. equipment rental industry is experiencing sharp growth. This is partly because construction companies are shifting from buying to renting equipment. As competition increases, the new battlefield will be customer experience. Many construction projects take longer to finish than scheduled, and most run over budget. To win and keep customers, you’ll need efficient processes for helping keep their projects on time and on budget.

Learn from historical data to make predictions about real-time data

The idea is to start small by gaining increased visibility into your assets and scale as your data grows. But unfortunately, this is where many IoT deployments plateau. As streaming data becomes aggregated with historical data, you should figure out how to take action on that data.

The next step is to look for patterns and anomalies in existing data and make predictions about new IoT data coming in. In manufacturing, for example, digital twins are used to replicate physical assets in the real world. IoT data is gathered in real time, combined with historical data and used to spot patterns, predict how the asset will perform under certain conditions and adapt to optimize efficiency.

From the jumpstart, business leaders in the equipment industry should look for technology partners with deep industry expertise and with out-of-the-box systems, along with a flexible and scalable platform that supports integrations with your existing business systems. In a time when there are a variety of vertical packages to enable rapid IoT deployments, there’s no better time to start your project; just be sure to begin with the end in mind.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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