1 June 2023, 15:39
Trackunit, Danish fleet management solution provider, aims to connect the construction industry and eliminate downtime. Patrik Eder, Editor at LECTURA, discussed with David Swan, SVP Products at Trackunit, about the company’s focus on the North American market, solutions and products showcased at ConExpo 2023, CO2 emission reporting tool, partnership with Cummins, acquisition of Flexcavo and plans for the rest of the year.
PE: How important is the North American market for Trackunit, considering the company’s European origin?
DS: It’s incredibly important. If you actually look at the distribution of volume, the majority of our units are in the North American market. Europe will always be important to us, it is one half of the story, but the North American market is comprised of some of the biggest construction fleets in the world. That’s why we have one of our largest hubs in London, Ontario, Canada. It is supporting the North American market and makes sure that we are focusing on the needs of our North American customers. With the acquisition of ZTR a year ago, we sort of split our focus at that time and made sure that we had half of our development resources and viewership in North America…so it is extremely important to us.
PE: Would you say that the focus on Europe and America is basically fifty-fifty right now?
DS: Yes…it is hard to rank it. Europe is our heritage and where we started, but our biggest customers are in North America.
PE: Do you also create innovations in the US?
DS: Yes…on both sites. Our engineering and part teams are in North America and Aalborg, Denmark. We are for example running our CO2 emissions reporting capability that our engineering team is running from North America, so some of our important products are being built there. We have a ton of talent and vision and we have carried lot of that over from the ZTR acquisition of people who were super close to the North American market…they are now part of our company and located in North America.
PE: What solutions and products are you showcasing here at ConExpo 2023?
DS: We are showcasing a few things. One of the most exciting things is our Trackunit gateway. This allows our customers to have a super robust network throughout the different stages of a jobsite. Throughout the dirt moving stage and through framing and finishing it allows them to install these gateways and constantly monitor non-powered assets through Kin tags or third-party tags. The idea is that you install these gateways on your site, similarly to how you would install Wi-Fi nodes, and what we are doing then is showing where your hand tools and small attachments are. So, it is about creating a more robust network and making sure that we are supporting connectivity throughout the whole life of the jobsite, right until closing.
PE: So, that was the first product, but you said that you have a second one…
DS: Yes. What we have seen is that for construction fleets connectivity has gone from being something on the periphery of the solutions to being really in the centre of the business. It is just like your internet connection…I would shut down my business if the internet shuts down – I can’t do anything. Now we have seen the same reliance on the connectivity that we provide to move to the centre of our customer businesses. One has to understand all the time what units are available, what units are operating, what are the statuses, what data were transmitting, which are transmitting less data then they should be, what profiles are available on those devices. As we see this become a critical business tool, it gives our customers basically a tool centre to understand that their operation is up and running as it is expected to be.
PE: Can you now elaborate a little bit on the new CO2 reporting tool?
DS: Yes, absolutely. What we have done is that we have taken our incredible volume of machines within the tracking platform and we have used it to build a model. What is really important is that as we weigh into the world where emission support becomes something that every construction business has to deliver, there are going to be machines that report super accurate data and there are going to be machines that we need a model with data for. The strength of our products is the enormous amount of exposure we have to different mixes of models and machines at super high volume to rate really accurately a model. Emissions reporting from basic run hours based on machine types all the way up to super accurate kin-driven fuel usage-based emissions reporting. This means that regardless of the sophistication of the engines and machinery of your fleet, you can get a really high quality of accuracy and meaningful report on the machines of your fleet. We are now testing the tool with some customers and we are aiming to launch it globally in Q3.
PE: What is the purpose of the partnership with Cummins?
DS: We really see Trackunit as the enabler of the construction industry and connectivity has started to be more and more powerful as we have more and more partners in the ecosystem participating. Engine manufacturers are producing some of the most important data. When you look at a boom or an excavator, the most expensive component in that machine is the engine. It is also because of productivity and because of issues and resolutions. A partnership with Cummins is about taking one of the biggest engine manufacturers in the world and understanding what solutions they could find for connectivity for the customers that are running their machines and engines. It is all about integrating them into our ecosystem and allowing our customers easy access to quicker resolutions without any downtime to drive better productivity in the industry.
PE: Trackunit has also recently acquired a German start-up Flexcavo. What do you expect from this acquisition?
DS: Flexcavo is doing some wonderful things, they are getting really close to business problems that contractors face at the job site level. What we are doing here is recognizing that this is a really complex industry and a lot of the segment reserves have really specific problems and solutions that they need. Through the acquisition, we hope to gain that expertise, that capability to serve the segment better. What’s beautiful about this is that Flexcavo is a company absolutely passionate about eliminating downtime. Although they have become a part of the Trackunit family just recently, we always had the same mission and passion for solving construction problems. We are super excited that these guys are in, they are so deep in the industry’s problems, speak the same language as us and want to accomplish the same goals – it is a beautiful synergy.
PE: What are the Trackunit’s goals for the rest of the year?
DS: We have got two big things coming up. One of them is that we are working on a marketplace and it is a software development kit (SDK). Trackunit is very much the platform in the industry, we have a wide variety of participants in our ecosystem – we have customers that are OEMs, contractors, rental companies and they are all trying to solve some problems. We are moving towards a marketplace model and a platform model where there is a software development kit that third-parties can actually release software on the Trackunit platform, so they are defining their problems, they are pursuing them and they can really narrow in on that niche and the solution they need and really set on the marketplace. You will see that come out towards the end of the year.
The other big feature that we are working on right now and it is more than a feature, it is actually a different way that we are going to be focusing our software – it is through a concept called “Sites”. It is the idea that right now you look at the connectivity solutions across the industry and they focus on groups based on a list (of machines), but if you look at how the construction industry works, it is really around sites – whether it is a job site, rental yard or OEM logistics yard. We are building a set of capabilities and features that are going to allow our customers to run reports on a site, to add permissions to a site, automatically give visibility to machines as soon as they enter a site, base all of their processes and features around this central idea that what really people care about in this industry is what is going on at the site. That will be really super power of a lot of our customers and our target is to launch the project by the end of the year.
Source: LECTURA GmbH; Trackunit