In September, Spot-r EquipTag was named one of Equipment Today’s 2018 Contractors Top 50 Products by construction equipment owners and end users. The IoT equipment sensor is the first-of-its-kind non-GPS solution to track operator identity, equipment location and utilization without restrictions such as indoor/outdoor location or equipment size. For this edition of Tech You Should Try, we spoke with Justin Matheny, one of our Strategic Account Managers based in Denver, CO, who spent 10 years at Caterpillar Inc. before joining Triax Technologies.

Your background is in heavy machinery and equipment. What are some of the key equipment-related pain points and how is technology working to address these?

With technology rapidly advancing over the last twenty years, it’s not hard to find a machine or piece of equipment of a specific size, weight, load capacity and cycle times amongst a growing number of manufacturers (aka pick your color).  But that’s not the only thing that matters. The best manufacturers focus on improving overall quality and comfort and reducing ownership costs through the life of the machine; it’s about building and maintaining customer loyalty.

This is achieved primarily by reducing machine “down time.”  Despite tech advancements, it’s still not a matter of IF a machine goes down, but WHEN it goes down and how long it will take to get it back in the dirt and running. Various factors come into play, but the best equipment dealers invest in parts inventory and have technicians readily available to go into the field and fix broken machines.  Every major equipment manufacturer is making a push to “connect” their assets to leverage machine learning and pinpoint potential failures before they happen, drastically reducing the time and money it takes to repair “after failure.”  With visibility and real-time monitoring into machine utilization, equipment manufacturers are able to prevent extended downtime, and this will only get better as more machines are connected and technology advances.

How is the Spot-r EquipTag different from other solutions in the market?

As it’s part of the Spot-r system, it’s designed to work in concert with our other technology. In partnership with the Spot-r Clip, it can track worker certifications and ensure that operators of machinery are certified to use them; if not, the site foreman or supervisor can be notified to address the issue.

With my background in equipment, I’m also excited to work with our R&D team to explore additional value-add features for our Spot-r EquipTag as well as trying to bridge and support integrations with leading equipment manufacturers’ telematics systems – stay tuned.

Last question: You’re based in Denver, where there is a lot of new construction happening. What trends are you seeing in the Denver metro area?

Yes, the Denver metro area has more than $4 billion in large projects underway. The city is a perfect example of what we’re seeing industry-wide: bigger, more complex projects which can mean bigger risks as well as contractors wondering how they will meet demand amidst a skilled labor shortage. According to the AGC of Colorado, the state employs roughly 175,000 workers – more than the pre-recession peak of 2007 – but the industry would still need to fill 14,000 positions in the next five years to account for these projects. When you factor in Baby Boomers retiring, it’s closer to 30,000 new workers.

There are tremendous opportunities for career advancement in construction, and increasingly, city administrators are using big public projects to make sure residents of disadvantaged local neighborhoods can benefit from the job creation with hiring requirements. For example, the National Western Center project will require the contractor and subs to recruit from Denver’s six most economically disadvantaged ZIP codes.

With the on-going skilled labor shortage, initiatives like this to invest in and develop the construction workforce make a lot of sense, and I’m personally excited about our dashboard feature that allows us to easily track and manage worker zip codes.

Our “Worker Profiles” page stores a lot of vital project information, such as allowing project supervisors to import and manage certifications and set customizable notifications when a certification is about to expire, or a worker arrives on site with a certified expiration. (You can also set notifications for things like outside wind speed above a certain threshold, which presents different safety challenges. I encourage you to watch our webinar on Worker Profiles for more information.) Each Worker Profile page hosts so much valuable information – worker time and attendance, color coded to easily show the type of safety events that may have occurred – as well worker zip codes. You can then pull that information into a custom report to track the number or percentage of workers by zip code, helping to streamline the hiring targets process. These are features, and developments, our Client Engagement team can act upon to create value for our customers. It’s an exciting time for Triax and the larger industry.

Connect with Justin on LinkedIn.