What are commercial moving assets? They are the significant machines that literally move while performing their functions. They move while doing something to create business value for a company. It could be a single vehicle or a fleet of trucks. Business aircraft, shuttle busses, fork lifts, and floor scrubbing machines are all moving assets.
These assets can provide a company with valuable information enhancing the business’ competitive advantage. They can identify risks, opportunities, and ways to develop better efficiency. They can suggest operational improvements in the infrastructure of your company. They can even provide the basis or groundwork for whole new business models.
Moving assets have become so prevalent all around us that they can actually become invisible as assets. Sometimes they are seen as merely functional tools or equipment rather than assets. But the forklift in a Big Box store is unmistakably an asset, every bit as much as the UPS truck that delivers packages to your door. All moving assets create business value, and today’s most modern moving assets are equipped with an array of sensors. Sensors increase the capability of a moving asset to create business value. Whether the asset is delivering goods, transporting people, or lifting pallets in a Big Box store, it is creating business value for the company. Being equipped with sensors magnifies and extends that value.
Sensors feed us valuable data. But they are giving us so much data that it can become difficult to determine what data points are important and which ones are background noise to be filtered out. Some of that which must be filtered out is data that we have not yet figured out how to use. But the other side of that coin is the fact that for all of this information, we may not be getting all of the information we need to make the best decisions.
The world’s most famous theoretical physicist Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Einstein probably never anticipated the volume of data we are seeing today from sensors, but his prophetic statement fits our situation perfectly. Not everything we are getting is of value, and not everything of value is yet available or used as efficiently as it might be. Through their sensors, moving assets are speaking to us, and they are speaking the language of business value creation. It is our job to translate that language into actionable procedures and improved business processes.
Another mathematician famous for something else altogether was Charles Ludwig Dodson. Better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carrol, he was the author of the world famous Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Well known as an astute observer and deep thinker, his creative work has provided many quotes that explore the depths of our psyche and multiple interpretations of our lives, themselves. One of the more useful quotes that pertain to our world of rapidly increasing data and its implementation, are the words of Alice when she said, “I knew who I was this morning, but I have changed a few times since then.” Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity explored the nature of time, itself, and how it relates to everything else. But fifteen years before Einstein was born, Lewis Carrol explored the relativity of time through his Looking Glass characters.
Time is as important to understand today as it has ever been. Today’s emphasis on creating, maintaining, and increasing business value is all about the efficient use of time. Sensors give us extended connectivity. And the important thing about connected assets is that they shorten the latency of information. They shorten the time it takes to make better, higher quality decisions, creating and improving business value. And one of the most important ways they do this is by helping to limit costly downtime.
With a typical fleet vehicle, the cost of downtime can be as big a factor as vehicle cost and fuel cost. Downtime is expensive not because the vehicle is unavailable. It is expensive because the end product that the vehicle was supposed to deliver becomes delayed or unavailable. The business world is increasing outcome based. This is why products are increasingly sold with service contracts to guarantee outcomes. We are not selling trucks as much as we are selling holding capacity, not jet engines, but lifting power. Outcomes are what drive the importance of sensor data. Moving asset sensor data delivers timely information that can predict and therefore limit the cost of downtime.
The connectivity that sensor data feeds us may not tell us why Alice’s White Rabbit was late, but it can limit moving asset downtime enhancing deliverables and protecting outcomes.