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Telematics Helps You Monitor Your Equipment's Health

By Elizabeth Quinn, John Deere Product Marketing Manager

A man wearing a hat checking JDLink on his laptop

For today's logger, variables of time, distance and complexity make it difficult to keep an eye on their machines. Keeping equipment running and avoiding costly downtime – often across multiple sites and great distances – are constant challenges.


Fortunately, in today's high-tech world, there are solutions to help you manage your machines from just about anywhere. Telematics systems have advanced in recent years to provide you with new ways to help keep your forestry machines running.


When a feller buncher or a skidder stops operating, that's lost productivity and lost revenue. Today's telematics systems help you avoid costly downtime and unscheduled repairs.


At the basic level, telematics systems can monitor all of the crucial systems and components of a machine, including fuel use, oil temperature, and hydraulics. This lets you see how all of your machines are running, so you can provide maintenance instructions to your operators and technicians.


Beyond simple monitoring, some telematics systems offer more advanced features that can make machine maintenance and monitoring even easier. They can help identify potential maintenance issues so that repairs can be scheduled before problems arise. Some systems also allow equipment dealers to remotely see and read diagnostic codes so they can proactively notify you of any impending problems.


Finally, telematics systems make it easy for you and your equipment dealer to keep accurate, complete maintenance records and documentation, which can extend the machine life and increase resale or trade-in value.


Operator Training

You can tell a lot about a machine by monitoring its activity, but sometimes you can learn something about its operator, too. One of the key benefits of a telematics system is that it provides you with a unique tool for managing and training operators.


By monitoring nearly all aspects of a machine's operation – fuel use, idle time, location and more – you can evaluate how your operators are using machines and compare them to one another. This can offer insights on how to train operators to be more productive and reduce costs.


The best way to illustrate this is by looking at fuel use. In a recent example, a logger was able to compare the fuel use of two different operators of identical skidders. After collecting four months' worth of data, he noticed a significant difference in the amount of fuel used. After some investigation, he determined that the operator who used more fuel operated in a higher gear, placing more load on the engine. He was able to train the operator and in the process reduce his fuel costs by more than $1,400 per month.


You can also use this technology to cut down on how long operators idle their machines or make sure they are starting on time and working in the proper areas. When you can't be on site all the time, telematics systems can be a useful tool.


Machine Operation

Telematics systems can be a powerful business tool for increasing productivity. From nearly any location, you can see when and where your machines are working, how many cycles they are completing, and how much time operators spend out of the cab. This up-to-the-minute data lets you manage your production more efficiently.


As important as it is to monitor machines while they are working, it can be just as important while they are not working. Telematics systems offer features like geo-fences and curfews to prevent machines from running during off-hours or even being stolen.


You can even use information provided by telematics to manage costs and revenues. Variables like distance into the woods, the number of machines required, fuel use and more are available to help you calculate costs and negotiate fair prices.


These are just some of the ways telematics systems can help you run your business. If you have specific questions about how a telematics system can work for you, be sure to ask your manufacturer representative or dealer or click here.