One topic that always comes up when we are discussing machine control systems with grading and excavating contractors is Return On Investment, or ROI.
By now, everyone in the industry has probably heard that there are definite business advantages to investing in technology. We’ve all seen the articles and the user testimonials about the impressive improvements... but the question everyone asks is “How much will it help me?”
The answer, of course, is “it depends”... on your machines, on the project, on your crew, and on your organization’s technology “readiness”. The only definitive way to answer the question would be to run the same job twice, and to do an apples-to-apples, side-by-side comparison using the same design, the same machines and the same crew, once with grade control, and once without.
Which is exactly what Caterpillar did. They measured and documented the building of two identical road segments: one the conventional way with machines alone, and one with machines equipped with 3D grade control technology.
Here are the results they realized on this limited, 3-day project:
• Fuel savings - 43%
• Dozer time savings - 52%
• Grader time savings - 73%
• Base material savings - 11%
• Surveyor time savings - 95%
• One fewer worker - 18 hrs
Those are very impressive improvements for any business... but how did they impact the actual ROI? Taking all the on-machine and infrastructure technology investments into account, the payback period was 7.1 months. So, in just over half a year, the technology paid for itself. From there on, the savings and improvements will go on for the life of the machines equipped with 3D grade control technology.
In addition, there are benefits that are not reflected in just the financial results of this small project. Like the ability to win more bids when you know your costs are going to be lower than your competitors’. Or the fact that you can actually take on more jobs per year with the same equipment and staff. And the safety benefit of greatly reducing the number of people walking on the site between the machines.
We recommend that you explore the road ROI study in more detail – it’s a short and impressive read -- download it here.
Or, if you would like to create your own ROI projections, ask your technology dealer for help.
But the easiest way to achieve an ROI like this is simply to get started.
You can read many stories about why and how customers made the decision to implement technology, and what their experience has been, at trimble-productivity.com.