At the heart of these scenes are heavy vehicles delivering needed materials to various construction sites, but are these vehicles getting to their destinations as efficiently and safely as they should?
Construction and the global economy
The construction sector is one of the largest in the world economy, with about €8.5 trillion spent on construction-related goods and services every year. The construction industry is also a significant driver of economic activity in Australia. The availability, price, and location of assets, building materials, building equipment, and other resources, including skilled labor, are other key determinants of the pace of growth in the industry.
That’s why companies involved in the delivery of construction materials are keenly focused on on-time delivery. Delays in arrival can lead directly to higher construction costs and the invoking of late fees and penalties. When it comes to construction vehicle routing and tracking, every minute counts.
The hazards and considerations involved with construction vehicle routing
Driving a heavy, oversized construction vehicle is a very different experience from driving a car, with many restrictions and logistics to take into consideration. These specialized vehicles carry tons of construction material:
A fully loaded concrete truck weighs approximately 30,000 kilograms. Because not every road is built to handle this weight, road restrictions may apply.
These trucks also have a limited turning radius. So, if your construction site is located downtown, you must choose your route wisely to avoid coming upon a non-navigable turn zone.
Your construction vehicle is also abnormally tall. Therefore, you must factor into route planning any bridge and tunnel height restrictions to avoid a catastrophic collision.
The evolution of construction vehicle fleet management
Any construction company knows that timing is everything. Most major projects include late fees and penalties for construction delays. If concrete is not readily available when it’s time to pour the foundation, your crew is hamstrung. This leads to staffing inefficiencies and costly overruns. Therefore, it’s imperative that your construction materials arrive on time.
Australia is a premixed concrete, aggregates and asphalt company. Founded in 1949 as Pioneer Concrete and later re-branded to Pioneer International, it was taken over by Hanson in 1999. Today, Hanson manages a fleet of 1,500 trucks delivering concrete across Australia. In 2007 Hanson was taken over by HeidelbergCement, headquartered in Germany, who operates in more than 50 countries and is the largest aggregate and premixed concrete producer in the world.
In the early days, truck dispatch was managed at the base plant, providing a centralized allocation of vehicles. To get a sense for travel times, Hanson staff would sit in the truck and survey the road network. These two factors hampered the company’s ability to scale.
Clearly a modern dispatch and fleet management system for routing and tracking of vehicles with automated travel time calculations was needed.
How Hanson implemented a modern fleet management system
Twenty years ago, Hanson decided to develop a new dispatch system for routing and tracking of their fleet. This system redefined the way they support their customers. It was a radical change and a bold move, but has enabled Hanson to provide efficient supply, delivery and transparency to their Australian customers.
In developing their new system, Hanson started by using third-party street data. This data was only refreshed annually. The Australian road network is constantly changing, with new roads being added, street names changing, and new road restrictions being adopted. The lack of access to fresh street data made it difficult for Hanson to efficiently route their fleet.
Four years ago, realizing the need for fresher and more accurate data, Hanson adopted the use of TomTom
data. TomTom customers can build fleet solutions that suit their specific business needs
. Through benchmark studies, they determined that TomTom had the freshest, most accurate data for the Australian network. TomTom also had the most data detail, required for efficient geocoding and routing. Hanson uses TomTom data as the underpinning for their own road network fabric. This enables them to edit their data and travel time information for required updates, including road closures, subdivisions, and street names, ensuring they have the most up-to-date geospatial information.
Hanson uses TomTom data in the back office for geocoding and travel time calculations. TomTom MultiNet
and MultiNet-R with Points of Interest, Address Points and Logistics support Hanson’s geocoding and routing needs. To ensure they are using the most effective delivery routes Hanson uses TomTom time of day average speed data to best determine the average travel time for their busiest delivery hours in conjunction with an internal algorithm based on truck travel.
Here’s a typical scenario: a customer calls in and provides a delivery location. It’s critical that Hanson knows the delivery location and its proximity to the closest plant. Hanson uses TomTom data to geocode the location and uses their network to find the most efficient route, based on the best available average travel time, calculated using their internal algorithm and average speeds supplied by TomTom to further enhance that calculation.
In addition to the back office, Hanson also uses TomTom MultiNet-R map data in Trimble in-vehicle devices for efficient routing of their construction assets.
The outcome of a streamlined fleet management system
Hanson is dedicated to the supply of quality services and products to the building industry of Australia. They are keenly focused on timely delivery of those products with highly managed address location and routing of their fleet. Since adopting the use of TomTom data, they are better able to ensure their vehicles arrive at the right place at the right time.
Hanson realizes that they are dealing with specialized vehicles that must comply with various road restrictions yet arrive at their destination on-time. TomTom has helped them meet this challenge.