Trimble: Revolutionizing Construction Projects with Smart Technology

With its smart technology, Trimble is helping contractors manage construction projects on time, improve equipment efficiency, bring higher productivity, worker safety, and complete project economically with desired quality.

the holistic benefits offered by Trimble

Customers are increasingly recognizing and appreciating the holistic benefits offered by Trimble. The realization that Trimble excels in economic savings, optimum use of equipment, safety enhancement, and environmental responsibility is resonating with customers, further establishing the brand's value in the market. Discussion led by S.A. Faridi, Managing Editor, NBM&CW, with Trimble’s Didier Colin, Director-Sales – EMEA Heavy Civil Construction Division, Rajan Aiyar, VP & MD, SAARC Region, Roshan Purohit, Regional Sales Manager, SAARC, and Pan India Consultants’ Vivek Bansal, VP.

Trimble is known for its technology that helps construction companies to manage their projects from conception to completion. What new solutions are you coming up with for the construction industry?

Trimble is known for its technology that helps construction companies
Didier Colin: Over the past few years in India, our focus has been on enhancing machine efficiency, workforce productivity, and job site accuracy by integrating technology into machines. We've utilized advanced positioning equipment to streamline job sites and empower contractors with greater efficiency through 3D design.

Building upon these advancements, we're now introducing a software component that facilitates seamless data exchange between the office and machines, enhancing productivity, measurement, and analytics. This enables us to provide increased data capacity and real-time information flow between the field and the office and allows for comprehensive onsite monitoring to address the growing demand from contractors in India for improved quality, encompassing compaction and measurement.

Our solutions ensure that every surface and layer adhere precisely to the planned specifications, achieving perfect grading and compaction as required. The first machine we have been equipping with our system in India is the motor grader, knowing contractor’s need for high efficiency and faster productivity. Additionally, we're expanding our range of equipped machine types to compactors and pavers.

How does the software benefit the users?

Didier Colin: For the client, the key advantage lies in having daily data insights, such as knowing the motor graders' daily accomplishments in terms of square meters. This information allows them to assess their progress against the plan and schedule in real time. They can easily determine whether they are on track, ahead of schedule, or falling behind. This immediate access to real-time information empowers the client to make prompt decisions. The ability to monitor machine productivity in real time facilitates swift decision-making and ensures that the project stays on course.

the holistic benefits offered by Trimble

If someone integrates Trimble software in their machines what savings can be expected in a year or two to offset the initial cost of the software system, and how soon can they expect their RoI?

Didier Colin: Globally, the average return on investment for a key machine like the Motor Grader, which is our main focus in India, is typically four to six months. Within this period, the system is usually paid off, and it continues to function reliably for the next decade and keeps generating profits. This prompts users to expand its application to more machines.

Contractors, realizing the effectiveness of the system, tend to equip more machines. This leads to enhanced productivity across the entire site, not just during grading. Contractors find that by extending the use of the system to excavators and dozers, they can potentially complete a project that would typically take 12 months in just 9 to 10 months. Hence, equipping multiple machines proves more time-efficient than focusing solely on the grading phase.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as surface quality, road durability, compaction quality, sustainability, carbon emission reduction, material savings, quality job delivery, and improved safety are crucial considerations for both contractors and project owners. They find that by adopting 3D Trimble system to graders, excavators and dozers, they can potentially complete a project that would typically take 12 months in just 9 to 10 months.

Didier Colin

How has the Excon 23 platform helped in showcasing the Trimble technology to newcomers and updating those already using it and how can they benefit from it?

Trimble is known for its technology that helps construction companies
Rajan Aiyar: Excon holds immense significance for us. It is the premier construction show in India, serving as a crucial platform due to the complexity of the construction process, involving various stakeholders such as builders, contractors, owners, operation and management personnel, and machine experts. The growing interest in technology over the years has prompted us to leverage this show for introducing technology to newcomers and updating those already using it.

Trimble's journey began with individual products like 3D machine control, total stations, GNSS receivers, and turnkey solutions. However, our current focus is on connecting this information through a platform-based software solution, enabling seamless communication to each stakeholder, as needed. For instance, a project manager can access a dashboard at the end of the day for a comprehensive overview of project status, avoiding the need to shift through numerous spreadsheets.

Moving towards an end-to-end workflow solution, we believe in catering to the broader audience, emphasizing that technology's benefits amplify with increased adoption. While a contractor may experience a significant boost in productivity and reduction in rework (30- 50%), the broader impact is realized when all stakeholders, including owners, benefit. To achieve this, we collaborate with partners like Pan India Consultants, recognizing the magnitude of the construction industry, especially in India, the third-largest market. Trimble continually evolves its solution portfolio, aligning with customers' changing needs in the era of data-driven digital construction.

The positive environmental impact is substantial as seen in the case of the Bangalore airport runway project the number of motor graders was reduced by 2/3rd resulting in significant fuel and machine maintenance savings and the remainder of the machines were redeployed in other projects.

Moreover, the technology allows for the effective utilization of less trained operators, making it accessible for younger, digitally savvy individuals, thereby offering comprehensive benefits across various aspects of construction.

OEMs also provide Telematics in their equipment like motor graders and compactors to transmit data to the contractors, and they use all kinds of sensors in the machines; so how different is the Trimble solution and what value additions does it give to contractors?

Rajan Aiyar: Certainly, that's why we emphasize the concept of platforms. A platform acknowledges that customers may employ various solutions, and is designed to be plug-and-play. In some instances, we've elevated the value. There are two key aspects to consider here: when we mention manufacturers providing a platform, we're generally referring to the Internet of Things (IoT) and telematics. This involves tracking machine runtime, utilization, fuel consumption, and related parameters.

However, technology companies like ours play a crucial role in enabling these machines post-sales, delving into the production cycle to monitor production levels, accuracy, and alignment with design parameters. Our role is to provide additional benefits and consolidate everything into a unified platform.

Didier Colin: Typically, compactor manufacturers incorporate vibration sensors, but without recording capabilities or information on the number of passes. To address this, precise design requires higher accuracy positioning receivers, such as GPS to track the machine's location and record the number of passes accurately. Our role involves facilitating the transfer of information from integrated sensors on the machine to an API connected to our system, enabling data reporting.

It's worth noting that various manufacturers have these sensors, and we actively collaborate with OEMs who are open to integrating their data collection into our system. This ensures that the reported data is accessible through our cloud platform, providing valuable insights for owners, site managers, and contractors to track and verify the work completed on the project.

the holistic benefits offered by Trimble

In India, contractors are reluctant to adapt a new technology, and prefer to wait for others to make the first move. Also, in India, the hierarchy at project sites is project owner, then the main contractor, and then the sub-contractor. A big owner and a big contractor (like L&T, for example), might be interested in your technology but the sub-contractor, who will be doing the actual job, might not be interested in investing in the technology. So, how will Trimble create awareness of the benefits of its technology and how will it market it to the large base of sub-contractors in India?

Rajan Aiyar: Your observation of the Indian market is absolutely correct. Selling a product in India is a testament to its quality because Indian customers are discerning and focused on returns on investment (ROI). Unlike other markets, an Indian customer prioritizes tangible results before making a purchase. Trimble has consistently demonstrated significant savings within four to six months.

Moreover, the safety aspect is paramount. Utilizing Trimble's machine control technology reduces the need for numerous personnel around the machine. This not only increases operational efficiency but also enhances worker safety, allowing for day-and-night operations without risking human life near the machines.

Besides providing comprehensive ROI, safety, we are giving benefits to the environment as well. This is because environmental considerations are increasingly crucial for customers, driven by the need to minimize their impact on the environment. This includes reducing fossil fuel consumption and minimizing material wastage during rework, encompassing concrete, steel, and other materials.

Trimble began its journey pioneering products such as 3D machine control, total stations, GNSS receivers, and turn-link solutions. However, it is currently focusing towards an integrated software platform that connects and shares information effortlessly among stakeholders. This technology plays a pivotal role in empowering less experienced workers to perform on par with or surpass highly skilled labor, particularly in tasks like grading or paving.

Rajan Aiyar

What response has the company got from contractors/sub-contractors? Have they started adopting it in large numbers?

Trimble is known for its technology that helps construction companies
Roshan Purohit: The customer is resistant due to the additional cost. Initially, we conduct demonstrations to showcase the technology's benefits. Once customers witness the higher productivity and rapid ROI, they are inclined to purchase the machine with the Trimble software. We've successfully proven this with numerous sub-contractors, who are our target market.

From the government's perspective, there's a push for greenfield projects, with many mandates in place. The government actively promotes this solution, and we, in turn, advocate for it through contractors. It's a challenging task as the industry follows traditionally practices, but we continue to work with sub-contractors, demonstrating how technology brings them substantial benefits.

Rajan Aiyar: Initially, when Roshan and his team started, technology was an afterthought. Contractors hesitated, saying, "I've already signed a contract for thousands of crores; adding more for your solution isn't feasible." Now, contractors are accustomed to it. In RFPs, like Roshan's work with the Ministry of Road, they specify the need for 3D machine control. While they can't mandate Trimble and they insist on machine automation. In road surveys, they demand lidar-based systems.

Contractors are accountable for five years of operation and maintenance post-road construction, compelling them to prioritize quality. They've realized that technology improves quality, reduces time and costs. This upward trend signals a growing tech-savvy ecosystem.

Didier Colin: Larger contractors prefer owning the system as they operate year-round across multiple projects, enabling flexibility in moving the machinery. For sub-contractors with shorter projects, like three months, renting the system becomes a feasible option. After the project concludes, we can remove the system. In cases where a subcontractor later has another project, even if it's just for one or two months, they can rent the system again. We strive to make it accessible to everyone, and its ease of learning makes it a no-brainer for individuals seeking efficiency.

A motor grader equipped with 3D technology results in a cost saving of around 42% per cubic meter of grading. This significant cost-saving statistic has driven the widespread adoption of 3D technology on graders among contractors in India.

Roshan Purohit

It's like you have the whole solution on your platform, but if someone wants just a part of the solution (suppose) to run only two machines out of 10 machines on a project, will you provide the solution as per his requirement?

Rajan Aiyar: Certainly, most customers begin with a trial, evaluating the efficacy and efficiency. Once convinced, they often request not to remove the system but rather extend it to additional machines. Roshan's team initially equipped one or two machines per customer, and now it's common for them to implement the technology on tens or even twenties of machines for a single customer.

Didier Colin: For customers with a larger fleet, let's say 20 motor graders, who may not be ready to install and buy 20 3D systems, we've introduced a pre-installation kit. This kit is versatile and can be fitted on 10-20 excavators, and the most expensive equipment can be easily moved from one machine to another. The process involves lifting the display, transferring it to another machine, and it's ready to go. The system memorizes configurations, so when it's on a specific motor grader, for example, it automatically knows and starts working. This portability adds significant value to the system, making it easily removable, more cost-efficient, and highly productive for the customer.

the holistic benefits offered by Trimble

Okay, let me understand the concept a bit more; say, if someone has a 25-km road project that may require 5 motor graders, 10 compactors, 20 excavators, and 20 trucks, will Trimble have a solution for such a fleet? How would you propose to equip the machines with your software system with minimum investment, so that the contractor derives maximum benefits?

Didier Colin: There are multiple benefits depending on the contractor's priorities and project requirements. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as surface quality, road durability, and compaction quality are crucial considerations for both contractors and project owners. Ensuring a smooth, durable road with proper compaction leads to long-lasting results, minimizing the need for repaving.

Contractors aim for better results with no reworks, errors, faster project completion, and substantial savings in machine utilization, fuel, wires, and maintenance. The adoption of 3D graders enables high efficiency, requiring fewer machines and operators. Sustainability, carbon emission reduction, material savings, quality job delivery, and improved safety, are additional KPIs that contractors focus on.

In the early stages, Trimble assists contractors in refining their processes. For instance, optimizing gravel usage is essential for a seamless workflow. The technology aids in maintaining a consistent process, ensuring that projects progress smoothly throughout the day. The advice provided to contractors includes strategic equipment deployment, considering the specific tasks at hand. For example, only certain excavators among a fleet may need to be equipped for specific tasks such as embankment, trenching, or waterways.

Trimble engages in discussions with contractors to understand their project challenges and main priorities. This collaborative approach helps tailor the technology implementation to the project's unique needs, enhancing overall efficiency. The focus is on equipping machines strategically, avoiding unnecessary expenses, and maximizing cost efficiency for the contractor.

Rajan Aiyar: Absolutely. The transition to using these machines requires contractors to relearn and reengineer their processes and overall ecosystem. Understanding the contractor's priorities and identifying problem areas is crucial. Often, we recommend implementing the technology on a few machines initially. This allows contractors to adapt to the increased efficiency, and it also brings attention to potential bottlenecks in their workflow. For instance, if motor graders are operating at three times the efficiency, the entire supply chain needs to match that speed. If lorries and dumper trucks are not keeping pace, the machines with 3D machine control may sit idle due to a lack of material. In such cases, the issue lies not with the technology but with the workflow and supply chain coordination.

We advise customers to start gradually, allowing them to learn and adapt their ecosystem and supply chain accordingly. This stepwise approach ensures that all materials are delivered just in time and in the right quantities. Once the workflow and supply chain are optimized, the number of machines equipped with this technology can be increased. This strategy helps contractors manage the transition effectively and maximize the benefits of the technology in their operations.

Roshan Purohit: From an Indian perspective, the impact of 3D technology on grading is substantial. A motor grader equipped with 3D technology results in a cost saving of around 42% per cubic meter of grading. This significant cost-saving statistic has driven the widespread adoption of 3D technology on graders among contractors in India.

The next wave of adoption is observed in paving, driven by the importance of rideability. Contractors have faced substantial losses, such as in a recent instance where a contractor incurred a loss of close to 16 million US dollars due to the need for redoing the paving. In such cases, a half-million-dollar investment in technology could have prevented a 16-million-dollar loss.

Despite the argument that labor is inexpensive in India, the challenges lie in the speed of construction. The two primary problems are shortage of skilled labor and lack of quality. Technology emerges as a solution to address these challenges, offering a way to enhance construction speed, improve skill levels, and ensure higher quality outcomes.

Labor in India is not cheap and there is the problem of skilling workers down the line. In the next five years, we will not be having many operators to operate machines, like in the US where one guy operates three machines in a project and most of the time the machines are idle. Our government has big plans to build the country’s infrastructure quickly and efficiently. In such a scenario, I think, it's not labor but technology that will come to the rescue.

Rajan Aiyar: It’s true that the availability of experienced skilled labor is limited. Our technology plays a crucial role in empowering less skilled labor to perform as well as, or even better than, highly skilled labor, whether it's in grading or paving. The technology allows individuals to monitor the machine's operation through a screen, simplifying the task to ensure that everything is running smoothly. This aspect is significant, especially for quickly training and integrating younger individuals into the workforce who are more inclined towards technology.

India holds a distinct advantage in this regard, and if managed well, it could even become a global advantage. India, with its vast labor pool, has the potential to not only meet domestic needs but also contribute as international workers. The government's long-term perspective is crucial in harnessing this potential. The technology we provide requires minimal training, enabling individuals to perform at par with highly experienced professionals. It's encouraging to know that the government is deeply considering these aspects for the country's progress.

You said that the Indian government has to think big. In my recent interview with Shri Nitin Gadkari, he remained focused on two things: technology and fuel. So, I think the government will push for quick adoption of technology. As regards its penetration, how much market share has Trimble garnered so far, and what are your plans for the next five years?

Rajan Aiyar: Trimble boasts various technologies, with different levels of penetration in different sectors. In the geospatial arena, particularly in survey mapping and land administration, Trimble has achieved a high level of penetration over the past 15 years. In construction technology, Trimble is a leading player in India, holding the top position by a significant margin. However, the penetration in construction is still at a nascent stage, representing just the beginning of its potential.

India presents enormous opportunities for Trimble, and the country is considered a key investment area. This sentiment aligns with the remarks made by Shri. Gadkari, emphasizing the vast potential in areas such as airports, bridges, tunnels, and the Border Roads Organization, where Trimble has already made noteworthy progress.

The scope for further expansion and adoption of Trimble's technology is immense, indicating promising growth and influence in various sectors across the country.

How you are strategizing your marketing, and how you are trying to bring awareness among the different tiers of contractors.

Trimble is known for its technology that helps construction companies
Vivek Bansal: Five years ago, we strategically targeted 10 contractors, based on their size and project portfolios. Over the next two to three years, we successfully onboarded 8 out of those 10 contractors, including both large and mid-size contractors. Initially, we did not pursue small contractors, but an interesting trend has emerged over time. Large contractors who have embraced technology are now not only investing in technology for themselves but are also providing machines equipped with technology to smaller contractors. This shift has led to an expanding cycle of adoption.

Currently, we have over 25 contractors who have adopted at least one motor grader. In terms of the percentage of motor graders sold in India, our technology has already reached a remarkable 15%. In expressway projects, this percentage is even higher, standing at an impressive 50%, indicating a significant market share.

As the cycle evolves, the focus is transitioning to paving, with a growing demand for compaction technology. This year, we have already sold four paving machines, and the projection for the next year is even more promising, with an anticipated sales figure of 20-plus machines. While our success has been particularly notable among mid-size and large contractors, the involvement of smaller contractors is on the rise, driven by the influence and adoption patterns set by their larger counterparts.
NBM&CW - March 2024
Understanding the Numerous  Facets of Tunnelling

Understanding the Numerous Facets of Tunnelling

India is seeing a spate of new tunnel developments since the past few years, led by infra projects such as mass urban transit, railways, roads and highways, hydropower, irrigation, sewerage, water supply etc. Attempts are being

Read more ...

Evolving Manufacturing Trends: A Glimpse Into 2024

Evolving Manufacturing Trends: A Glimpse Into 2024

The year 2024 brings breakthroughs in technology, the need for sustainability, and radical changes in production paradigms in the dynamic field of manufacturing. There is a significant shift towards greater efficiency, innovation, and

Read more ...

Terex Brand Finlay: Application-Driven Crushing & Screening Solutions

Terex Brand Finlay: Application-Driven Crushing & Screening Solutions

Alan Witherow, Product & Applications Manager, Finlay in an interview with P.P. Basistha on the sidelines of Texcon 2023, informed that Finlay, a Terex product brand, is working towards making the crushing and screening solutions more

Read more ...

Jaso India Prioritising Customer's Satisfaction with Reliable Cranes

Jaso India Prioritising Customer's Satisfaction with Reliable Cranes

“Our cranes are designed as per FEM regulations and are equipped with all the necessary safety features required for safe operations. Our aim is to be trusted and reliable material lifting partner for our customers.” Vishal Sharma, Managing Director

Read more ...

Agrani Enterprises Waterproofing Infrastructure for Longevity & Safety

Agrani Enterprises Waterproofing Infrastructure for Longevity & Safety

“Embracing technological advancements can ultimately lead to more efficient and cost-effective construction practices. This is because the integration of technology in construction companies, particularly in waterproofing, repair, and retrofitting

Read more ...

3D Concrete Printing Workshop with Live Demos

3D Concrete Printing Workshop with Live Demos

Advances in robotics, materials science, and digital design have paved the way for the development of sophisticated 3D concrete printing systems capable of constructing large-scale structures with precision and efficiency. Dr. Vishal Thombare

Read more ...

Jal Shakti Restoring Water To The People of India

Jal Shakti Restoring Water To The People of India

Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister, Jal Shakti, shares with S.A.Faridi & Maria R, the challenges and initiatives being taken by the ministry towards effective water management and availability of safe drinking water for India’s burgeoning

Read more ...

Dam Safety Society: Scientific, Technological & Systematic Management

Dam Safety Society: Scientific, Technological & Systematic Management

Dams are critical infrastructure for storing water for a variety of uses like drinking, irrigation, power generation, industrial, domestic, and recreational uses. Managing the precious water assets requires systematic management and

Read more ...

Powerscreen: Strong & Reliable Electric & Hybrid Crushing Machines

Powerscreen: Strong & Reliable Electric & Hybrid Crushing Machines

Powerscreen is actively engaging with its customers to glean information on their job requirements and suggestions, and accordingly making enhancements in its products like Electric & Hybrid Crushing Machines, making them more

Read more ...

Sany India: Batch Mix Plants, Excavators, Cranes & Pilig Rigs

Sany India: Batch Mix Plants, Excavators, Cranes & Pilig Rigs

This achievement is a testament to SANY India’s commitment to provide high–quality, reliable and innovative equipment to the Indian market. Surpassing 30,000 machines operating across India fills us with immense pride. This significant milestone

Read more ...

Paving The Way for More Efficient And Timely Construction & Manufacturing Processes

Paving The Way for More Efficient And Timely Construction & Manufacturing Processes

Transformation of the infrastructure industry is vital for mitigation of climate challenges and the Blue-Green infrastructure offers a sustainable and self-healing solution for the problem at hand, informs Nikhil Jain, CEO, Qubik Group

Read more ...

MCOS Global: Solutions to Reduce Project Delays & Achieve Sustainability

MCOS Global: Solutions to Reduce Project Delays & Achieve Sustainability

Subhashis Kar, Managing Director, MCOS Global presents possible solutions and measures to effectively reduce delays in infra construction projects and bring sustainability in urban developments. MCOS Global is a prominent player

Read more ...

EXCON 2023: Showcasing Construction Industry’s Resilience and Vibrancy

EXCON 2023: Showcasing Construction Industry’s Resilience and Vibrancy

I am sure that a lot of excitement and enthusiasm is building up for the coming week when EXCON 2023, one of the largest construction equipment and technology trade fairs in the world, will open its door to welcome all the

Read more ...

Shri Gadkari discusses on road construction policies, technologies, challenges

Shri Gadkari discusses on road construction policies, technologies, challenges

In a prelude to EXCON 2023, Hon’ble Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India, discusses with S. A. Faridi,Group Managing Editor, various aspects of road construction including policies

Read more ...

ICEMA: equipment industry growth prospect, challenges, training etc

ICEMA: equipment industry growth prospect, challenges, training etc

V. Vivekanand, President - ICEMA and Managing Director - Caterpillar India, shares his views on the growth prospects of India’s construction equipment industry and the need for it to embrace higher technology standards to solidify its position

Read more ...

BAI working on construction technologies, sustainability, standardization

BAI working on construction technologies, sustainability, standardization

According to S. Narsimha Reddy, President, Builders’ Association of India, modern construction technologies, use of sustainable building materials and standardisation are important for achieving project completion timelines

Read more ...

COAOI creating favorable environment for crane rental companies

COAOI creating favorable environment for crane rental companies

COAOI engages with the government and relevant stakeholders to promote a more conducive business environment so that crane rental companies can operate efficiently and contribute to the nation’s infrastructure development while maintaining safety

Read more ...

CERA: rental co. instrumental in construction equipment industry growth

CERA: rental co. instrumental in construction equipment industry growth

Rentals are paving the way forward for the construction equipment industry, and to ensure long-term resilience and growth, we are championing initiatives like unity, standardization, and commitment to fair practices

Read more ...

To get latest updates on whatsapp, Save +91 93545 87773 and send us a 'Saved' message
Click Here to Subscribe to Our eNewsletter.