Anyone shopping for a new combine, tractor or self-propelled sprayer lately knows these vehicles are coming equipped with onboard telematics systems. These systems let you track and manage your machinery fleet remotely and look for efficiencies. You can monitor, for example, vehicle location, operating status, fuel levels, maintenance schedules, fault codes and other vehicle parameters, all from your iPhone, iPad or laptop computer.
Accessing these systems usually involves a subscription fee, and the hardware will add to the overall cost of the vehicle. The key question for buyers, then, is it worth that extra money?
John Deere has developed a calculator that lets you determine that payback. The new JDLink ROI estimator is designed to quantify the value of keeping machines connected using JDLink. However, the same concepts could be applied to any system.
"Renewing JDLink licenses and upgrading the hardware can be a significant expense depending on the size of your machine fleet," said Paul Garcia, product manager, John Deere WorkSight, in a news release issued this month. "The return on investment calculation is intended to demonstrate the value of using JDLink to optimize our customers' operations."
To use the ROI calculator, go to roicalculator.deere.com, where you will be asked to enter your average fuel cost, estimated idle time percentage, and desired idle time percentage. From there, a final value percentage is calculated. The next step is to enter your specific fleet information, including models, number of units and estimated working hours per day.
Once all information is entered, the calculate function will quantify the return of making changes in the way a customer’s machines are operated. You can use the information to develop a business case on whether to continue using JDLink.
As we wrote about last year in the story “Dashboard driving: Managing your fleet,” most of the OE manufacturers offer onboard telematics systems on their vehicles, and if they don’t, there is a host of aftermarket companies that can provide them. FleetSharp by Agilis Systems is a recent one we wrote about, and you can read about some of the others here, including a shopping list of what you need to get set up. The required components usually include a modem or Wi-Fi device, a GPS antenna/receiver, a subscription service or data plan, and a display interface