What the Trackunit/Flexcavo Deal Means for Construction Equipment Asset Management and Field Productivity Software

As more commercial, packaged technology comes to market aimed at coordinating equipment and people involved in construction projects, Trackunit prepares to market new, acquired field productivity tech in North America at CONEXPO-CON/AGG '23 Booth #N11427

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The combination of telematics with GPS-enabled asset management and field productivity software is giving contractors new levels of control and visibility over work in progress (WIP), as workers and equipment are connected to a central application that often, in turn, is connected to enterprise tools like project management or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

This combination of technologies enables construction company leadership to capture data on activity on the site, enabling them to spot project variances and deal with them quickly, while also gathering data on the WIP phase to be round-tripped into subsequent estimates for similar projects or subsequent project phases.

With its January 2023 acquisition of German construction telematics software vendor Flexcavo, Trackunit--headquartered in Aalborg, Denmark and with a United States presence in Chicago—gets enhanced capabilities to help contractors and other equipment fleet owners build automated workflows around equipment data to inform dispatching, scheduling and maintenance. Trackunit CEO Soeren Brogaard and Flexcavo Founder Benedict Aicher described in a debriefing with IRONPROS how Trackunit will use its North American sales channel to sell the Flexcavo solution to its established account base and new accounts, making for more direct competition for vendors like Equipmentshare, Tennna, Assignar and Raken.

“We solve a couple of problems people experience when owning machines—problems that come up around demand and supply,” Aicher said. “We start with project demand generated by construction type and then help the contractor make most of their fleet by balancing machine supply and demand for equipment. Demand and supply for equipment is very complex when all the system stakeholders involved in order to balance owned equipment and rented equipment with project needs.”

According to Aicher and Brogaard, the ability for contractors to manage outrental of their owned equipment is on the product roadmap, but not currently part of what Flexcavo has released to market.

Already Integrated

According to Brogaard, the applications from Trackunit and Flexcavo have been united by a bidirectional integration to make them function seamlessly together. This integration will evolve in future years, but the basic handshake required to use the two systems with single sign-on have been complete, as well as

“Flexcavo has been relying on Trackunit data to insert utilization and machine hours used,” Brogaard said. “This is our very first step, along with making sure you can in a secure way to each system without logging on separately. All your credentials carry over. Today, data on machine utilization already flows into our Flexcavo engine and module. A next phase of the integration will involve making the two products act more like a single application contractors can add onto their generalized fleet management system. We will have even more integraton, which will enable some of the more advanced features like sustainability, jobsite configuration and insights for reports reports—but that will likely not come this year.”

While Flexcavo’s prior footprint in the United States has been extremely small, Trackunit will be actively selling the solution in North America.

“The Trackunit integration makes Flexcavo available to all of Trackunit’s customers including those in the US,” Brogaard said. “We are committed to use our network of salespeople and partners and existing customers that have been asking for this for years to help Flexcavo penetrate the market. The solution works globally—wherever you can point your browser to the internet.”

Pricing and Market

According to Brogaard, the Flexcavo application would be useful to contractors across a broad spectrum of sizes, but to start with the focus will be on enterprise-size contractors.

Determining what constitutes a contractor that’s a fit for Flexcavo is tricky, but those with $500 million or more in annual revenue or 1,000 or more pieces of equipment may find a partner with Trackunit/Flexcavo.

“We do consider this an enterprise play—for larger contractors and rental firms,” Brogaard said. “To start with, we will not offering Flexcavo to the middle market or smaller customers. That will come, but for now we are quite selective.”

Two reasons for that tight focus on the largest contractors and fleets are constrained resources and the need for integration. Selling a large account will make better use of Brogaard and Aicher’s sales resources than selling a smaller one that may consume just as much if not more sales time and bandwidth. And as the combined applications currently exist, contractors will need to integrate it with other technologies they are running in their business themselves, or with the help of a systems integrator.

“We already have integrations up and running with project management applications,” Aicher said. “But the next question our customers need to answer is how efficient is my construction site with regard to cash flows, and how contractors can improve the financial planning. Next to the physical flow of machines onto construction sites, the next thing contractors want to connect is cash flow. We already have integrations up and running that depending on the size of the contractor can read or write to financial data in ERP systems.”

Brogaard stressed that Trackunit has a network of systems integrators who can take these projects on, but customers too can bring their own systems integrator into the project. In the future, he indicated that features should be coming to market to make Flexcavo easier to integrate.

“At the moment there is no low-code, no-code integration interface, but that is on the road map for later years,” Aicher said.

Trackunit personnel will be able to answer questions about Flexcavo at their CONEXPO-CON/AGG booth #N11427.

BOTTOM LINE: As ostensibly the largest vendor of connected construction equipment technology, Trackunit is in a position to serve some of the largest fleets and construction organizations. While other partnerships like their agreement with Hilti to collect Bluetooth low energy (BLE) data from handtools can make them pertinent well down market, the addition of Flexcavo gives them another selling point for the largest engineer, procure construct (EPC), general and even very large trade contractors. Executive teams doing due diligence will want to conduct A-B comparisons in particular between Flexcavo and other field productivity solutions including Assignar, Raken and Equipmentshare’s T3 program. There will be differences in functionality for managing people or equipment on a site. Some other applications like Tenna may also bear looking at if depot repair and overhaul and a full enterprise asset management (EAM) approach to the asset lifecycle are important. These applications may also have standard integrations that put them in the reach of the middlemarket, while Trackunit is still focused on contractors comfortable with one-off integrations with other technologies in their business.

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