Building Value with Big Data

August 11, 2022

When it comes to overseeing complex worksites and operations, a proactive approach to the management of machine and component heath gives Caterpillar customers a profitable edge. By closely monitoring machine health customers can avoid costly repairs and ensure optimal performance—potentially saving millions of dollars while keeping projects on track.

Today, we’re helping customers increase uptime and operational efficiency by harnessing machine learning and advanced analytics. These technologies enable Caterpillar to provide one-of-a-kind insights backed by engineering expertise and data, empowering customers to prevent component failures and build added value into every asset.   

In the past five years, Caterpillar has more than doubled our network of connected assets, building a unique digital ecosystem that leverages data from more than 20 data sources. Examples include engineering recommendations for maintenance, dealer work order invoices and product inspections. Together, they enable us to deliver real-time asset-health and performance updates, which owners and operators can access from a laptop, tablet or phone. 

Delivering Digital Tools That Make Equipment Management Easier Than Ever

Today, virtually all new machines come with connective capabilities built in, and we have also developed digital solutions for non-connected assets. Our easy-to-use app, Cat Inspect, is a popular tool for connected and non-connected assets alike, enabling users to download and perform step-by-step equipment inspections. Much like going to the doctor, examining equipment is an important tool for diagnosing and addressing potential issues. The app provides a streamlined approach to overall equipment management, with options to track changes, create custom reports and capture on-the-go notes. Customers can also share photos and videos in their online inspection forms, providing dealers and service techs with the information needed to provide best-in-class support.

As of February 2022, dealers and customers had completed more than 6 million app-based inspections and we continue to see an increase in the adoption rate. One of the benefits of the tool is its ability to create deeper relationships between dealers and customers. Using information provided through the app, dealers can ensure easy access to the parts and services customers need.

Similarly, Cat Service Information System (SIS) puts valuable asset information within customers’ and dealers’ reach. We recently completed the digitization of SIS, called SIS 2.0, which we’ve optimized to make it easier to use than ever. The digital system hosts repair and troubleshooting information for Cat products dating back more than 40 years. With 2 million service graphics and 1.5-million-part numbers, this tool is a great example of how we can create added value by digitizing historic service information.

SIS 2.0 also includes new remote troubleshooting capabilities and seamless eCommerce integration so that customers and service technicians can easily access repair instructions and order the correct parts. In 2022, we will launch a mobile version of the app called SIS2GO—putting this wealth of information in the palm of customers’ and service technicians’ hands. 

Cat App Job Site Graphic

Investing in Technologies to Predict and Prevent Failure

As we continue to invest in the digital space, we are focused on building advanced analytical tools, which, aided by machine learning, enable us to create unique “failure models.” These models can detect patterns in equipment data and identify possible issues, helping customers avoid component failure before it takes place.

One of our failure models, for example, focuses on the dilution of engine oil, which can cause engine damage if left undetected. Using machine learning, we cut one customer’s dilution detection time from 10 days down to just 2.4 hours. This saved the customer an estimated $360,000 in maintenance costs and enabled them to keep their projects on track. Another failure model can detect wheel slippage, which can lead to brake failures and reduced life of the tire and axle assembly. Using condition monitoring, we alerted a dealer to a customer’s wheel slippage issue, who then notified the customer. Our analytics models allowed us to identify poor road conditions as the likely cause, saving the customer an estimated $500,000 in downtime costs.

Man working on machine

One more way we’re building value through our digital ecosystem is by generating Prioritized Service Events (PSEs), which enhance dealers’ ability to proactively connect with customers—delivering the right service at the right time. Depending on how PSEs are determined, they can take multiple forms. For example, some are determined through the equipment’s condition, such as the need for an engine rebuild, in which case we can provide a well-timed lead to the dealer responsible for the customer so they can quickly get in touch. PSEs are also a great tool to help customers keep Customer Value Agreements (CVAs) and product maintenance on track. For example, if we notice that an asset’s preventative maintenance is due, we can send a sales lead for an oil and filter kit, or we can send a lead for a CVA renewal if we notice that a customer’s contract is about to expire. 

Ultimately, the product lifecycle is all about building strong relationships. These next-generation services enable a more integrated experience so that Caterpillar experts and Cat dealers can ensure they are meeting each customer’s unique needs. They also empower customers to seamlessly manage their assets’ health and performance—reducing downtime distractions and creating better value for years to come.