Take the first step
Technology is an investment, so it makes sense to take your time and not just jump in. Here are the things I advise customers to explore with their Cat dealers before taking the technology step.
- Know what type of tasks (what is the application) you need to accomplish with the machine and technology — a specific challenge? Indoors or outside with a direct line of site to satellites? Grade tolerances? Talk to your Caterpillar rep for recommendations on machines and technology configuration(s) that are best suited to maximize your profitability.
- Find out if they have the technology you're looking for in the rental fleet or in the demo area. There's no substitute for some hands-on experience and firsthand witnessing of the benefits technology offers.
- Ask them to explain to you how built-in technologies are different than add-on aftermarket technologies, and show you the kinds of advantages you get in control.
- Ask about the differences between 2D and 3D options where applicable, or about the different types or modes available in the technology you're looking for.
- GPS and/or UTS 3D require a design file(s) in addition to a GPS/GNSS base station and/or UTS instruments. Find out how your dealer can support you in the adoption of 3D technology offerings.
- How long does it take to calibrate a machine and get it ready to work? Can it be done at the worksite?
- Can you get onsite training? Can you get support for the technology the same way you get support for the machine?
- Set up a period of time for evaluating what advantages you're getting from the technology. Most customers say it will take a minimum of two months of working steadily with the technology to get to any kind of state of "normal operation." Once your operators are comfortable, then you can look at the benefits.
Once you've got these answers, you should be ready to decide how well a technology works for you. My recommendation is that you take the process step by step, so you don't overwhelm your crew and you can effectively track your return on the investment. This short quiz might also help you determine how technology-ready you are.