Sticking with its concentration on improving productivity for commercial landscapers, Briggs & Stratton is introducing a web-based platform known as InfoHub.
The business solution was created when the company was working on providing lawn care companies data on their machines’ engines. The feedback Briggs & Stratton received was that owners weren’t necessarily interested in this data and were more concerned about where their crews and equipment were.
Going back to drawing board, Briggs & Stratton decided to create an all-encompassing tool that could help lawn care companies improve their productivity and profitability all within one application. And thus, InfoHub was born.
InfoHub utilizes an Internet of Things device that can be installed on any piece of equipment that has a spark plug and a battery and all the data that is collected from the device is sent to the cloud-based platform in real time, allowing owners to make on-the-spot decisions to improve efficiency.
“Many of the products on the market are only giving commercial lawn cutters half of the answer,” said Carissa Gingras, director of marketing of global support. “They may monitor equipment maintenance needs or they may track crews, but the majority of software programs can’t track an entire fleet. Because InfoHub can be installed on any gas-powered engine with a spark plug and a battery, commercial cutters can now track their entire fleet regardless of engine or mower brand.”
Briggs & Stratton worked with more than two dozen lawn care companies in 2016 and 2017 to test out InfoHub and its various capabilities. The pilot users praised its ability to track crews and the ability to understand their profitability better and faster.
“Labor is very expensive,” said Buddy DeLong, vice president with Bluegrass Landscaping & Maintenance, based in St. Louis, Missouri. “Making sure that labor is efficient, and on task is very important. Using a system that tracks your equipment and your people allows you to use fewer people.”
InfoHub has many different features as each user may want it for a different purpose. While crew tracking sounds like something that many other systems offer, the difference with InfoHub is that it is not tracking the trailer, but the pieces of equipment themselves and can notify the owners when they are off, in transit, or actively running.
While some view this level of tracking as Big Brother-esque, Briggs & Stratton says that some of the pilot companies have changed this into a positive to incentivize crews and rewards those employees who are exceptionally productive.
InfoHub utilizes Google Maps and can let managers know of real-time traffic and enabling them to reroute their crews. The tracking capability can also let owners know if equipment has gone rogue, by setting up geozones that will set off an alert if the machine leaves that area. If a thief tries to remove the InfoHub device a tamper alert will be sent out.
The tracking can also be used to confirm proof of service with clients as the platform keeps a record of the mowing patterns since the data updates every 15 seconds.
Companies can also keep comprehensive records of both their customers and equipment. They can create a maintenance schedule and view a history of a specific piece of equipment’s servicing as well.
The program also makes bidding easy and consistent, saving landscape contractors the hassle of having to go out to the site to measure the property.
One of the types of reports that InfoHub can generate is the profitability and efficiency report that lets lawn care companies know if they are finishing jobs in the red or in the black. This in turn helps them know if they are bidding jobs appropriately and if they can get more work out of their crews.
“Many cutters told us they use InfoHub to both understand the costs in their business, as well as drive more money to the bottom line,” Gingras said. “InfoHub is a truly unique business solution that helps cutters grow their business by monitoring their fleet, regardless of brands, and increasing profitability by job.”
A dashboard is also available for busy owners to check for a quick snapshot of how the crews’ progress is looking at any point in the day.
The InfoHub devices are $229 apiece and then the subscription to the platform is $26.99 a month per piece of equipment. There is no limit to the number of users who can access this data.
The InfoHub devices are sold through Briggs & Stratton’s dealer channel as well as power distributors. For more information on InfoHub, click here.