Navman Wireless instrumental in tracking progress

Navman Wireless helps John Jones Steel track its large fleet of trucks, mobile cranes, elevated work platforms and other vehicles across Canterbury and beyond.

Navman Wireless
Navman Wireless

Structural steel: big, heavy and demanding. When your business is fabricating, transporting and erecting structural steel across Canterbury and beyond, you need to know where your vehicles and machines are and that they are safe to operate.

John Jones Steel works with large construction firms in Canterbury and throughout the South Island on projects including new office blocks, transport interchanges, distribution centres and other large construction projects.

With a 130-strong team of people, the company operates a diverse fleet of almost 150 vehicles, including transporter trucks and trailers, semitrailers, hiab trucks, mobile cranes, elevated work platforms (EWPs), scissor lifts and utility vehicles.

All of them are tracked using Navman Wireless Qubes (for powered vehicles) or Qtanium 100s (for non-powered assets).

“We need to know where all of our equipment is at any time so when we place an order for a new vehicle or machine, we also place an order for another GPS unit. That’s how essential it is,” says John Jones Steel transport maintenance manager, Gerrit Roderkerken.

John Jones Steel installed Navman Wireless in early 2014 because of stringent certification requirements.

Maintenance and certification for safety

Many of the vehicles and specialist assets have to be certified for safety at regular intervals, so the company needed to accurately track maintenance for the whole fleet. Previously, it had used its own 
in-house software to complement a largely manual process.

With Navman Wireless, Gerrit can log completed maintenance and set alerts for future maintenance requirements so vehicles or assets can be recalled to the workshop for maintenance as required.

“As we have many different types of vehicles and machines, there are several different certification processes required. Navman Wireless keeps track of them all,” he says.

Managing director Frank Van Schaijik says that one of the industry trends they have noticed is that the main contractors are now more interested in how John Jones Steel keeps track of certification.

“In the past we would tell the main contractor that our vehicles and machines were all certified and provide a copy of the current certification. Now, given the increased focus on safety and compliance, they ask how we keep track of maintenance onsite and what processes we have in place to flag any issues.”

Finding and utilising assets

Being able to see the locations of all the vehicles and machines at a glance is a huge advantage for John Jones Steel.

“When our fleet was smaller we could keep track of them all, but now with nearly 150 vehicles and assets, we really need a way to see where everything is,” says Gerrit.

“Before we got Navman Wireless, sometimes we’ve have to phone around to find out where a particular piece of equipment was. Now we just look it up on the tracking software. When we send guys out of town – say, if they are taking a piece of equipment to Invercargill – we can keep an eye on their progress and let the contractor know when they will arrive.”

Improving the utilisation of the machines and vehicles in the fleet is another benefit for John Jones Steel.

“We can use the software to look at which machines are actually being used. If a machine is on a construction site and it hasn’t been used for a day, I can ring our guy there and ask him what’s happening. If it’s not being used, we’d rather have it back on our site or out on another job.”

Accurate charge out rates a boon

John Jones Steel also uses Navman Wireless to accurately charge out equipment when it is on a client site.

“We need to track the hours that a machine is working on the job, so we can charge it out to the main contracting company,” says Frank.

He says Navman Wireless has been a useful tool in tendering for new work.

“Using the reporting functions on hours of usage for each machine or vehicle, we can collect accurate information about hours worked for existing jobs. This allows us to provide a much more accurate costing when we are bidding for future jobs.

“In a tender situation, a contractor often wants a breakdown of costs. Even once we’ve won a tender they might question the machine hours, so with Navman Wireless we can show them the reports, which quickly resolves any queries.”

Claiming Road User Charges (RUC)

Claiming back the RUC is a significant benefit of the Navman Wireless system, says Gerrit.

“We have a lot of machines and vehicles working on construction sites, which of course is off-road, so we can claim back some of the RUC. Getting the rebate from the NZTA is a nice little bonus. It’s quite amazing.

“One of the things I really like about Navman Wireless is that there are no affiliations or side businesses. We’re not tied into any automatic RUC charging so we’re completely in control.”

Health and Safety

Frank says that Navman Wireless has also helped John Jones Steel with its health and safety responsibilities as an employer.

“Vehicles and machines are considered part of the workplace, so the monitoring and oversight provided by Navman Wireless helps us make sure our workers are safe. We can also keep an eye on things like overspeeding, and use our Health and Safety meetings to remind our workers to drive to the posted speed limit, for example.”

Frank says that the support from Navman Wireless has been excellent.

“They have delivered on what they promised.”

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