Ep. 103: Moving to Predictive & Prescriptive Maintenance with Christine Zeznick of Terex AWP

genie lift connect No matter the size of your aerial fleet, managing equipment is a priority. This podcast digs into how telematics can help monitor how equipment is performing, how often a piece is being used, where each unit is located, and if it is ready for maintenance. Host Peggy Smedley and Christine Zeznick, Genie Senior Product and Business Development Manager, Terex AWP, talk about telematics and the company’s new Genie Lift Connect. They also discuss how we are moving from a world where information is currently descriptive to one that is more predictive and prescriptive.

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Show Transcript: 

Intro:                               

Welcome to CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio, highlighting the latest construction technology and trends to drive your business forward. Coming up in March of 2020, CONEXPO-CON/AGG is North America's largest construction trade show. We bring you expert advice from your favorite brands, startups, and industry peers. For even more news, sign up for our weekly 365 e-newsletter at conexpoconagg.com/subscribe. We've got another great guest on the show today, so let's dig in.

Peggy Smedley:              

Welcome to CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio, brought to you by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. I'm your host, Peggy Smedley. This month's episode is brought to you by CONEXPO Connect. Connect and win with CONEXPO Connect, the better way to research construction equipment. Enter for a chance to win a free trip to CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 by signing up for CONEXPO Connect by April 30th. Enter now at conexpoconnect.com.

Peggy:           

Today's episode is all about telematics. Now more specifically, let's talk about telematics for AWPs, or aerial work platforms. No matter the size of your aerial fleet, managing the equipment is a priority for all companies. You need to know how your equipment is performing, how often a piece of equipment is being used, where each unit is located, and if it's ready for maintenance. Now if you think about it, telematics can provide all of this and more. Data is the linchpin for a great construction operation, but only when it is turned into actionable information, and you've heard me say this before, and telematics can offer this to fleet managers.

Peggy:         

We even see big growth predicted. CBV Research says the global commercial vehicle telematics is expected to reach 85.4 billion by 2024. This is pretty significant. So today let's dig into this topic a little bit more and talk about opportunities for construction professionals to leverage this data. One company made a big announcement earlier this year. Terex AWP announced its Genie Lift Connect Telematics Solution. To discuss all this we invited Christine Zeznick to join us. She is the Genie Senior Product and Business Development Manager at Terex AWP. Christine, glad you could join us today.

Christine Zeznick:         

Thanks for having me. I appreciate the time.

Peggy:       

So Christine, there's a lot happening in this market and in general. I'm really interested and if you can explain how telematics is actually providing construction professionals with the data about their equipment in new ways than ever before. Can you kind of walk us through that?

Christine:

Yeah, sure. I think, especially in AWP, the technology has been I would say over the last year, year and a half, rapidly being adopted by equipment rental companies and contractors as well. They're really focused on maximizing efficiencies in their business, and a lot of that is driven by being able to interact with the equipment remotely. Being able to identify when it's due for maintenance and plan a bit better, driving operational efficiencies through their business, and then providing their customers a more tailored experience as well. So being able to help customers understand the actual usage of the machines, being able to help their rental customers identify if they're maybe under utilizing an asset or if they need a different type of asset for the work they're doing. So being able to really have that detailed connection with the equipment and their end customers provides a lot of benefit to their business and to their customers' business as well.

Peggy:

You just described a lot of things, that actionable information that you described a little bit. If their machines are being underutilized, is really important because you're leaving money, so to speak, on the table and you never want to do that. So how has changed , just in the last few years? I mean, you said the last year and a half or so has made a big difference. What's actually changed in the market that's making all of this happen so quickly in just the last year and a half that you just talked about?

Christine:

I would say the technology is a lot more widely available. I think there's a number of players now that are focusing in off-highway telematics solutions. I think we've seen a few rather large companies be rather public about their use of the technology, and that has benefited their business and driving others to do the same. It creates a competitive advantage in some places. So I think other companies are starting to see that and adopt more quickly so that they can achieve those benefits as well.

Peggy:

So you kind of talk about when companies really take that leap forward other companies are more responsive. They feel comfortable in doing it because it's not so much a risk when other companies are taking that. You guys at Terex made a pretty big announcement earlier this year, and can you walk us through what is Genie Lift Connect? Because I think that's where more companies are feeling more comfortable in what they can do in the market.

Christine:             

Sure. We're really excited about the launch of Genie Lift Connect. Lift Connect is a full-service telematics solution, which is really focused on three things. It's focused on flexibility, transparency, and actionable information. What the program entails is, starting this year it's a rolling implementation. Our equipment will start coming out of the factory standard with the telematics hardware, the Lift Connect hardware, and three years of data services. When we talk about data services, it directly links to the flexibility theme where we're offering three years of data through our Lift Connect portal, but at the same time we recognize that a lot of our main customers are large rental houses that have a number of OEM telematics solutions, mixed fleets. So we also provide the data through a standard API as well during that three-year period. So it's really up to the customers to choose how they want to consume that data.

Peggy:

When you walk companies through that and you talk about a standard API, because that's a big deal. Standard API makes a big deal when a company, they look at what they already have that's existing and things like this, and you talked about transparency. Walk us through what that means because I think that tells a lot to the construction industry, when you walk through data services and actionable information and when you really describe that, I think that gives a comfort zone to a lot of companies. Can you tell us what customers are saying with that? And then also, that you're adding a subscription or a buy-in, your after-market kit, there's a lot of other services that you're providing with this I think that makes companies feel like, "I want to be a partner longer with you."

Christine:

Yeah, absolutely. We really feel that the more partners in the value chain that share with each other, the more efficient the rental industry as a whole becomes. So we really believe that providing this information will drive us to be better, will drive our customers to improve their operations, and overall gain greater efficiency. We've had tremendous feedback on the program. Customers are excited about it. Customers are excited to be able to use it in the way that they want to use it, that works for their business. So we're really excited to share that with them.

Peggy:

So let's talk about when a customer already has a telematics system, because that's where companies think. "I already have something. I'm nervous." When you talk about data, companies get nervous. How do they still access the machine data that they have? Because that's where they're thinking. I know you talked about a common API, but talk to us about what they can and can't do, because somebody listening might say, "What does that really mean to me?" Can you explain that?

Christine:

Sure. So what we've done is we've basically lined our program up with the ISO API, so ISO 15143-3 API, and we've basically created some documentation and as part of Lift Connect if you choose to consume the data through an API rather than the portal or some combination of both, the customer would basically contact our Lift Connect team, we would provide that documentation, and the customer's, basically their IT group, would leverage that documentation to pull the specific data points that they want to consume from that API into their system that they have.

Peggy:

So there's a lot of exciting things when you think about what you're offering companies to be a part of this. What are some of the advantages, just in general, of systems like this? Because I look at any time that you can get information that will be descriptive, I think anytime you can get machine data on hours and where a machine is located, fault codes, you've given them a lot of secret sauce. So can you tell us more about that? Because I think it's pretty exciting for the industry as a whole, to continue to go in this and really know and extend the life of their equipment.

Christine:

Yeah, absolutely. I think you hit on one of the words that we talk about all of the time. Out of the gate, we're going to be looking at information that's considered descriptive, and that really talks about information having to do with what's going on with the machine right now. Where is my machine? How many hours are on the machine? Are there any fault codes on the machine? Very basic information coming from the machine right now, but that can drive a lot of operational efficiency. If you think about some of the challenges our rental customers face, sometimes they have to send a service technician out to perhaps troubleshoot an issue that could have perhaps been diagnosed over the phone, and maybe they would have been able to avoid the service visit at all, or be able to take the right part with them, or be able to provide assistance a bit more remotely and quickly, quite frankly. That's an operational efficiency gain by being able to see what's happening with the machine live.

Christine:

Then over time, as we start leveraging this data in a bigger way, we're able to get to a place where maybe we're predicting failures before they occur. And really as you start to see degradation of performance, being able to head off an unplanned downtime situation through some additional maintenance or something like that. Then the third phase really is getting to a state that's more prescriptive. So today equipment, generally one model adheres to the same maintenance schedule. Over time if we're able to see how different individual assets are being used, one may be in a harsher environment and may actually benefit from a service a little bit earlier and one may be in a very clean environment with low usage that could potentially have it's life extended. So as we move up this curve from descriptive, predictive, prescriptive, we'll be able to provide even more value over time.

Peggy:

Looking at that, I mean when you look at predictive to prescriptive types of activities that you just described, prescribing maintenance on a machine is really incredible. It's something that I don't think most of us have thought about just in thinking about just basic things, in idle time or whatever it might be, in those really basic things that we think about, but the overall bigger picture of a machine. So when you think about this, when you're looking at the machine and you're looking at the bigger picture on all of these things that you're able to connect to, have you thought about will you be able to offer this on bigger things, on maybe bigger-picture, even beyond what you just described? I mean, are there other things that you're thinking about? I mean, this is already pretty exciting. Are there other long-term goals beyond this that you're thinking about?

Christine:

Sure. I would say there's this concept of the job site of the future and having machines almost interact with each other or at a job site level to drive maximum efficiency throughout jobs, and being able to get work done faster and in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. So I think as we look at connecting assets, our eyes are focused on our rental customers and the construction industry as a whole. Our equipment is used to get work done and we are focused on how we can enable that work being done in a more efficient way.

Peggy:

Does it really matter the size of the construction company? It really doesn't, or the rental company, 'cause you're basically saying, look, if you're looking at a machine and an asset, when you're talking about prescriptive and you're talking about prescriptive, it really doesn't matter. Everybody should care about that.

Christine:

Yeah, I think there's opportunity for everyone to gain from this type of technology. I think we've tailored our Lift Connect platform to be beneficial for maybe some of the smaller rental houses that maybe are looking for ways to improve, for example, the way they track their maintenance. Whereas maybe a larger company has that a bit more established already and we're providing more information and more analytics around how their fleet is actually used. So there's benefits for everyone to kind of move up that curve that we had talked about previously.

Peggy:

So when you look at this, it's how you tailor that information is what's so exciting about what you're doing here. Because whether you want to use the portal or whether you want to customize the way you view this information is really where, again as I mentioned earlier, is the secret sauce, is how a company leverages the information that you're providing right now.

Christine:

Right, exactly. Yup.

Peggy:

So when you look at this, are there specific countries that Genie Lift Connect will be available in, or it's everywhere?

Christine:

Great question. So just starting over the next couple of weeks, our first machines going down the production line are being equipped with Lift Connect, and those are just for the North American market. Then late Q2 we'll start delivering machines to the European market, and throughout the summer, late summer into early fall, we'll deliver machines into the Australian market with Lift Connect. Then as we look ahead to 2020 we're evaluating our plan for other regions as well.

Peggy:

When you look at the construction market right now, what's your take on how it's evolved? I mean, it has to be really an exciting time for a company like yours that says, "Look, we want to be in the thick of it. We want to be able to help companies become more successful. We want to give them the information and the data, the real-time decision capabilities that are right at their fingertips for how their machines are actually doing." Do you guys feel like you're changing the way a job site operates in ways it never was capable of doing before?

Christine:

Yeah, I absolutely think so. I think we're obviously focused on ways that we can help the construction industry move forward and advance. I think in general the adoption of technology in this industry in particular is a bit slower than other industries. We've seen a recent uptick in the adoption of this type of technology, so that's really exciting. I think one of the other things, we're always really focused on safety. So if there are things that we can do and leverage to be able to see trends in operator behavior or improved safety as a whole, leveraging this type of information, we want to pursue that as well. But I think overall that this is a great time to be a part of a project like this because I think the market is ready, the customers are ready, and they're looking for ways to drive efficiency and productivity in their business.

Peggy:

Are tools like this when you can drive productivity, efficiency, safety at the job site, we're looking at any time you can improve safety, you're changing the game on a job site. When you look at all of this right now and it changes the way companies are able to operate, and they're seeing things and they're doing things, and providing actionable information, are we looking at an entirely different job site of the future? Like you just described earlier, that's going to be game-changing in ways most of these companies haven't even imagined yet. I mean, we talk about it, but when you have information at your fingertips that you never had before, you really don't understand how game-changing that is.

Christine:

Yeah. I think certainly that won't happen overnight, but I do think that the momentum is there in the industry now, where OEMs and rental customers and contractors are starting to see the real, tangible benefits of doing this and are moving quickly towards this type of technology. So this is really kind of the beginning of the job site of the future.

Peggy:

You talked about other industries doing things and this one somewhat being slow to adopt. We always talk about construction as being laggards. I'm sure they're tired of hearing that. But when you talk, what's next for telematics in general? Are there other big strides? I mean, everyone talks about AI, machine learning, deep learning. Are there other, bigger trends? Are we going to be talking more blockchain? What do you see that's going to really change? Are we doing it for the job site, or from the field to the office, all those things, what do you see? I mean, we talk about robotics and all that kind of stuff. Right now we have a labor shortage. Are there other things we're going to see that's going to change things?

Christine:

Yeah, I think all the things you mentioned are very feasible I think, especially if you start talking about things like the robotics and of course, using data science to drive better insights and make better, faster decisions. I think those are all very real technologies that will impact and grow our industry as a whole.

Peggy:

It's an exciting time. So we see telematics. So I have to thank you for your time Christine Zeznick, Genie's Senior Product and Business Development Manager for Terex AWP. Thank you so much for all your time today.

Christine:

Really appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Peggy:

As we've seen, the opportunities for leveraging data from a piece of equipment are ongoing, and they're going to continue to grow. We're moving from a world I think where information is currently descriptive, focusing on what is currently happening with the machine as we've just talked about, to one that's more predictive and prescriptive. Construction professionals will be able to predict equipment failures before they even happen, which is really exciting, and they will be able to proactively prescribe maintenance and service. The technology, we just learned, is here, and the time to start tapping into it. It's really exciting. So there you have it. I'm your host, Peggy Smedley.

Outro:                             

That's going to wrap up this edition of CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio. If you like the show and think other people should listen too, make sure to subscribe and maybe leave a review on iTunes. We'll be back next time with another great guest. Until that time, be sure to visit conexpoconagg.com/subscribe to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter. More than 30,000 other construction industry pros are already receiving news and insights to move their business forward.




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