Customization is Now Commonplace

OEMs used to accept the minimum to make the machine move. Now, they are requesting more of what they want and pushing for a definitive brand identity.

Keith Simons
Keith Simons

responses courtesy of Sam Simons, Co-President and COO, OEM Controls

The Internet of Things & Connectivity

How do you see the Internet of Things shaping the direction of the heavy-duty vehicle markets?

The Internet of Things as well as data trends are infiltrating the off-highway market at a much slower pace than on-highway. The three reasons for this are environment, technology advances, and application.  

The off-highway environment is brutal on technology: rain, mud, frigid cold, melting heat, and vibration. Technology includes both on equipment, such as telematics, as well as personal devices including laptops, smart phones and tablets. On-highway solutions are usually in a temperature controlled cab.

From the technology advancement perspective, the electronics has been too expensive and a major battery drain. With cellular or satellite fees most companies only put the technology on a select few pieces of equipment. The electronics for communication causes major battery drain there for products have to use the host equipment’s battery or have a very large self-contained battery. Both solutions add cost, space, and/or installation time.

For the off-highway market, the main IoT solution has been cellular- and satellite-based telematics. Very often this technology does not apply due to the fact that jobsites are enclosed or the equipment is frequently monitored by the company personnel. If you know where your equipment is and you see it working, why would you pay extra money to have a website tell you that?

How is your company integrating IoT solutions into your workspace, or what is your perceived plan for implementation and the benefits you foresee with its implementation?

We believe an awesome solution for the off-highway market is Bluetooth. With the latest versions of Bluetooth, the cost of data capture drops tremendously. 

OEM Data Delivery has developed Bluetooth Low Energy data devices that work with laptops, smartphones and tablets. To simplify and expand data capture, we have developed mobile apps.

How has this concept influenced how you approach technology development and new ideas?

We are dedicated to developing Bluetooth data devices for all off-highway data needs. The primary needs include wireless hour meter and fuel tracking. To name a few, additional devices we provide include temperature, vibration, angle, and count sensors.

responses courtesy of Keith Simons, Co-President and CSO, OEM Controls

Challenges & Opportunities

What new challenges have arisen that effect the way you design or manufacture your product? How you do business? How you go to market? How you differentiate yourself from the competition?

The biggest challenges are the increases in industry regulation and customer requirements. The specifications have become more rigorous in regards to testing and continue to change industry to industry so it is difficult to stay on top of these and provide generic specifications that could work in all the different industries, but this is part of evolution and where we excel. We have always been the customization provider. Before, it was customizing one or two applications. Now, it is customizing virtually all of them and we’re able to give the customer what they want, not just what they need. In the old days, customers would ask for the minimum to fulfill their need to make the machine move. Now, they are requesting more of what they want: ergonomic feel, individual placements of components, really keying in how the operator uses the controller, how it feels and how it looks and pushing for a definitive brand identity even down to the joystick controller level. Again, this is what we do, not just need but want. 


The Global Landscape

Has the recent nationalism focus for several key countries including the U.S. altered the way you evaluate international opportunities, work with global partners, or any part of your business currently? Do you see an impact in the future?

At this time, it’s hard to determine how nationalism is going to affect our business. So, we continue to move forward working with our partners, domestically and internationally, to capitalize on the increasing usage of electronics and joysticks as well as being the customization provider giving our new customers the special human-machine interface they are looking for. With the evolution of electronics and machinery, we are excited for the future. Yes, we will have to change, adapt, and modify to the increasing demands of the new markets were going to get into, but that’s what makes this business exciting and fun.