In this episode, Clue CEO, Oded Ran chats with Lewis Carr, Telematics Analyst at Duo Operations, a product and service provider for mining and civil engineering projects in the United Kingdom. Oded and Lewis discuss telematics technology and his role at Duo Operations.
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Oded Ran (Clue) (00:08):
Hello and welcome to another episode of this full scope. My name is Oded Ran and I'm co-founder and CEO at CLUE. The host of this show, today we have with us Lewis Carr from Duo Operations hailing from the UK. Hi Lewis.
Lewis Carr (Duo)(00:24):
Hi Oded, nice to meet you.
Oded Ran (Clue) (00:26):
Nice to see you. Lewis, how about we start by telling us a bit more about do operations and about your role.
Lewis Carr (Duo) (00:32):
We work within the heavy plant machinery area within the UK. We have a few different arms. The arm that I'm most concerned with at the moment is that heavy plant machine, an area we will be looking into. We also have a processing arm and, we look at sort of civil projects as well around the UK.
Oded Ran (Clue) (00:53):
And what type of heavy equipment, your company currently runs and owns and operates?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (00:59):
We have quite a few articulated and rigid dump trucks, excavators, wheeled loaders, and a few material handlers as well.
Oded Ran (Clue) (01:09):
Tell us a bit more about your operations. I know you guys have quarries that you operate in and other elements for anyone that doesn't know your company. What are the lines of business you're involved in?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (01:20):
Yeah, we provide the heavy plant equipment to quarries and projects around the country. We can provide the products with or without operators. And, I've been at the company for two weeks.
Oded Ran (Clue) (01:34):
Fantastic, so the reason we're speaking is because we have two interesting things to discuss today. First, you were the first telematics panelists that we have on the show, and most companies don't necessarily have telematics. Some of them have telematics, but they don't have any analysts.
And you have both. So first, what is a telematics analyst? What does a telematics analyst do?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (01:54):
That's my job title. I'm trying to get the telemetry data that we can get off the various different machines to come together in a central place to give us the ability to see in real time or nearly in real time, as close as possible, what's happening with our equipment. Now I'm hoping to be able to see things that will pop up immediately. Whereas there's a problem with a machine or where they're getting close to needing servicing, and that's kind of the easy stuff. And as we move on from there, we're looking to try and get more information about the utilization of the assets by either the clients or by ourselves. It's a job that we've quoted for to find efficiencies and better ways of working.
Oded Ran (Clue) (02:36):
Right, so we'll definitely going to spend a bit more time understanding that. And what is the type of information that, since you joined the company, you started to look? And the other reason we're speaking is because you decided to join the company recently, and as a young person, it would be great for anyone listening to this show to get, what compelled you to join the company and enter the industry such as construction and specifically at telematics.
Lewis Carr (Duo) (03:04):
I mean, I have only been in the construction industry, think today was my 12th day on the job. So, I'm very new to the construction industry, but I've worked with other sort of telemetry data. You might call it another sort of rich data sources. In my previous role, when I worked in the airline industry. I worked for a company well known in the UK called Flybe probably not so well known in America. We were a regional airline and we went bust right at the very start of the Covid crisis. So, I lost my job and I did a few bits and pieces to help out within the Covid crisis. And this particular job really kind of interested me because this company Duo was a blank canvas effectively that they weren't really using any of the data that they were getting. So, and they were at the start of the process of trying to make it better as well. So I really was able to get in and get there from the start to make the project my own. And that's really what kind of attracted me to first.
Oded Ran (Clue) (04:15):
Let’s speak really about database because I'm guessing most of us who are passengers of airline companies and want to hope that there's someone out there that checks the data and sits on telemetry. So moving from an industry that hopefully has telemetry really sorted out and telematics into construction, what are the things that surprised you the most now that you're starting the role? What did you expect versus what did you find?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (04:38):
It’s the people that think of the airline industry as being incredibly sophisticated with these things. And I think some airlines maybe are, but certainly at Flybe, they were very much that at the start of their journey, in terms of modernizing how they were using their telemetry data. So moving over into the construction industry, the things I've been dealing with over the last couple of weeks are really quite similar to what I had been in five years. The difficulties of drawing together data from different manufacturers into a common format to be able to do meaningful analysis is a thing that was definitely a problem in both industries.
Oded Ran (Clue) (05:19):
Let's start a bit with that site on your daily day to day work, as you draw information from multiple systems, what are you observing? What are the main things that stop you in your tracks that make you less efficient than you would like to be?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (05:36):
We were trying to, make sure that we see when the machines are turned on and off, reduce the amount of idling that's done and work out and loading the equipment to the safe maximum that you would be able to carry in the case of the dump trucks. So, if it's got a 60 ton capacity, we want to be trying to get as close to about 59 and half tons in there as possible because overloading is a bad thing. And, even running sometimes up steep inclines at the capacity of the machine is, while it's not necessarily dangerous, it would be something that would cause wear and tear on the machine a little bit quicker. These are things that we know through common sense, but we don't have, because I don't have a back catalog of data to really go deep into and start analyzing.
I don't know. I can't quantify that. I can't put any price on that. So, we would look to think to a situation where if we were running 60 ton trucks in a very harsh environment where we were doing a lot of holding up steep ramps, I'd want to be able to quantify and say, we're going to run these guys at 55 tons because it will actually save us money. It works out cheaper to do more runs. You're able to complete them slightly quicker, but the wear and tear that puts on the machine is so much less in that situation that it's more cost effective to do that. Then there may be a point where that number, it might not be 55 tons who knows what it is, but I don't know at this stage. And I haven't got the data yet to be able to look at things like that.
Oded Ran (Clue) (07:15):
And the thing that you're describing now, do you see that is something Duo is unique in and they are looking to optimize that, or how do you explain it that we’re in 2020. Other companies are only now starting to look at these things?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (07:31):
I don't have the depth of experience within the construction industry to be able to compare with any other, with any of our competitors. For instance, I simply don't know whether this is something where Duo is lagging behind or whether I'm blazing a trail. I'm really not sure.
Oded Ran (Clue) (07:52):
From the little we know, I think you guys are definitely blazing a trail. And, do you see there is something that strategically as a company, you made a decision we want to be more efficient, more optimized, or what are the driving forces behind that?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (08:09):
The company has grown over the past few years by acquisition of similar businesses that work well together. As we move forward, I think we're coming into a very interesting time in all sort of machine based jobs. Whether the work that's being done to electrify and to automate the driving process, whether it be in cars, the semi-trucks as you guys call them over there, whatever it happens to be the unmanned airplanes being used, it's fascinating at the moment, and we don't want to be left behind, and we do have quite a new fleet. So we invest the latest technology anyway, to have a new, an up-to-date fleet, both from a maintenance perspective and from a desirability. It's a quote to go out and quote for customers and to have a reasonably new fleet that looks good and stands at well. It is a big driver, but we need to make sure that we don't get left behind when it comes to the road, to the new technologies.
But it's an interesting time to find out how they're going to power these things and how the self-driving or remote driving is going to work.
Oded Ran (Clue) (09:33):
So our self-driving and remote driving, the one of the new technologies that you are actively currently looking into, which other innovations and new technologies coming up to the industry are the ones that you are most excited about?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (09:50):
Yeah, there's a few that I was talking to a chap today about a system where they would use a drone to scan a work area. It might be a field that they're going to plant and build houses or a plant or something, and it would go and pick up in the air. And then within a few minutes be able to give you a three dimensional scan of what they're doing, and from the back of that, they're able to program into the construction equipment. How much to take from each part to make at the level, or to give it the profile that they want based on what's there already. And that's quite interesting. I was just talking about it this afternoon. I'm just learning at the moment and trying to absorb as much as possible because it's, some fascinating things going on out there, and this technology can then connect into the different, excavators and so on so that they know, in three dimensions where to dig to, and they won't physically let the driver over dig for instance. I don't know how it works yet, but it sounds fascinating. I'm going to certainly be looking further into it because it does sound like an interesting thing.
Oded Ran (Clue) (10:59):
So for anyone who is listening and they're considering their next role what are the key selling points that you would say for pursuing a role in the wider construction industry as you've decided to do?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (11:14):
I've got young kids and they love the fact that I go to work and we're working with big machines. So, that's one of the reasons that I took it. I thought I couldn't go and sit on a big ticker. I know I want to. But the other thing is, I think that just having an interest in something, find a job in an industry that you find interesting is a key thing. I'm interested to see what can be done. And perhaps the telemetry data element and the automation and the moving forward of construction equipment is in its earliest stages compared other industries. So I think it's something that will keep my interest for a number of years. There's a lot going to be going on over the coming years. So having an industry where you're constantly challenged and where it is moving forward, and you're not just solving nibbling at the 1%, you've got huge, great, big bites you can take out of it is what kind of made me really kind of jump on this opportunity, I guess.
Oded Ran (Clue) (12:22):
That's excellent. And as you started to learn about your role, do you already come across any resources, websites, forums, groups that you found useful and helpful, or you're still a bit trying to find where your colleagues are hiding?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (12:40):
Yeah, I'm still poking around a little bit. I mean, my first point of contact has been the relevant, people that manufacture the equipment that we use. So everybody's been very open and keen to chat with me, and I'm trying to make sure that I'm getting the best quality telemetric data off the equipment that I possibly can. And we haven't been, so we have data that comes through just once a day from certain manufacturers. And we're looking to see how we can upgrade that in the most cost effective way to get as rich a data and as granular a data as possible, and to have it in as close to real time as possible. I think it would probably be cost prohibitive to have it live streaming from each machine constantly, but to get an updated picture, every five to 10 minutes is probably going to be enough to give us a big advantage on where we are now. And just improving that data quality by talking to the manufacturers has been my first start point first point, and it's working quite nicely.
Oded Ran (Clue) (13:45):
That's excellent. And a company, lot’s of the emphasis is put on standardizing and then getting all the information to be in one place so that you don't deal with telematics from multiple providers. This type of a solution, how does that fit the problem or needs that you've seen in your work so far?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (14:07):
Yeah, we have a telematics system for basically each of the manufacturers and the data is different from each one in terms of what we can draw out of it. It may be measured slightly differently. And that's not helping me at all. It's very difficult to understand what's going on. Somebody logging in and seeing how many hours it worked yesterday, that we're getting a little more than that in most cases. But there are elements in some of the different portals that I want to try and replicate across other ones as well. So being able to see, for instance, if you're running an articulated dump truck fleet, being able to identify, the distance that they're carrying each load, what the timings are associated with and the fuel burnt might be able to help me identify either a truck that's got components that are failing, because it's not calm compared to the other guys in the fleet, they're doing the same jobs, it's working in a different way or not being as efficient.
And it may be a way to help identify operators who need more coaching or some help in working, working out how to get the best from their machine and aligning their whatever drives them to operate the machine properly with what we want as well. And you can start to see some bits of that from some of the manufacturers, but we need to be able to compare across the mix as well, because 30 and 40 ton articulated dump trucks are available from a number of sources. And when not at the moment, applying an analytical enough methodology and choosing what we buy when and how we dispose of those assets. So, all those things should start to play into each other, to help us with those sorts of decisions as well.
Oded Ran (Clue) (15:48):
Great. Thanks for that. And we are recording this in mid-June. So of course we have to discuss a bit of the COVID-19 impact and different businesses were impacted differently. And you are first, I guess, from the UK. So what can you tell us a bit more about how, COVID-19 effected obviously affected you personally, as you switched roles and joined an exciting new company on a personal level, what was the impact for duo? Are you guys back, is the company, back in normal operations or still running in lower capacity?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (16:21):
Yeah, at the moment as I said, I joined a couple of weeks ago and I'm joining a company that's gradually coming back to life almost as we bring back people from being the furlough scheme that we have in the UK. And we have our operators, our clients as well have been doing various different shutdown metrics across the business. So as somebody coming in and trying to look at the data that I'm seeing and what I'm able to get is completely different to how it's going to be once everything is back up and running. But I joined two weeks ago and we were just at that stage starting to come back. So I've actually been working in the office, which is geographically close to my home for each of the days, because there are so few people in the office.
And then the week before I joined, they were actively reorganizing the office to enable safe working practices and for people to be far enough apart to be able to go back there. So, as one of the first few people back into the office, I've been very lucky, but we're starting to see a few more people show up now and kind of work from home a few days a week less. And it's nice to start getting a bit of a buzz back there and get to know a few people and start learning from them.
Oded Ran (Clue) (17:33):
That's great. And it's great that you are starting to get back. And obviously we hope you and them and many other companies that are in the similar situation we'll find a return back to be as smooth as possible. So before we conclude, I have a few questions for you. You mentioned your children were happy to hear that you are now in Construction Company. So if you could have a fun day, whether without your children offering any piece of construction equipment do owns, which one would you go for a field day on which one would you jump in for it?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (18:06):
It sounds, I'm quite a positive person. Normally my friends, if they watching this might laugh at that, but I'm more of a builder than a knock it down, but I can see an awful lot of fun to have from a wrecking ball.
I don't know what I want to knock down. I've got nobody I want to crush or anything like that. But I think a wrecking ball would be hilarious, fun for a day, and yes, I'd take my kids because they'd find it fun too.
Oded Ran (Clue) (18:29):
That's great. And in case anyone is watching this, there are also telematics analysts or aspiring to be, and then what to connect with you online and maybe exchange notes and exchange ideas. What's the best way to connect with you?
Lewis Carr (Duo) (18:42):
LinkedIn would probably be the most obvious way to get hold of me. I'm not an expert. I'm a really sort of intrigued data type person, but that makes a terrible job title. I'm working in telemetry at the moment. I'm trying to apply an analytical thinking to it. So that's why I have the title of telematics analyst.
I'm just fascinated and really interested to learn. So, I'm hoping you're not going to put this out as me being some kind of expert. I'm just really keen to learn. So people want to come and educate me. And if I've said something stupid, please I'll do it quite nicely. I've got feelings too, but I'm really keen to learn. So yeah, people can find me through LinkedIn.
Oded Ran (Clue) (19:28):
Fantastic, that’s Lewis Carr and this is really great to have you. And, I'm very much looking forward in a few months down the line or later on when Duo has implemented some new systems and starting to achieve every big objective that you are aiming to achieve. It would be absolutely great to have you again and then check in on the progress and what you've learned. So thank you very much for your time for joining us.
Lewis Carr (Duo) (19:55): Thank you Oded!
Oded Ran (Clue) (19:55):
Its great having you, thanks. So this was another episode of the full scoop. You'll be able to find us on our www.getclue.com website in the resources links, how to get hold of Lewis and learn a bit more about Duo and about Clue. Thanks for listening.