When Vehicles Talk, Good Things Happen

Teck Resources is using talking trucks to increase safety and save money— technology that Trimble Navigation is already well acquainted with.

May 16, 2014 at 11:13AM

Teck Resources (NYSE:TCK) is working with privately held SAFEmine to help avoid workplace vehicle accidents. That's a real-world example of how connecting the things around us using modern technology is changing the world. You can invest directly in this concept by owning Trimble Navigation (NASDAQ:TRMB).

Safer mines
Mining is a dangerous job. Trucks the size of large houses moving around in the same space as normal-sized pickup trucks is a recipe for disaster. While the pickup truck will lose against a giant dump truck, that doesn't mean there won't be damage to the massive machine. That's not to mention the impact of any downtime for repairs, which reduces productivity. Mining equipment is very expensive, so most companies don't keep extra trucks around.

That, of course, doesn't even take into consideration the impact that accidents can have on the lives of employees. It's why just about every miner talks about safety. For example, Teck CEO Don Lindsay noted in the company's annual report that, "Total reportable injury frequency and lost-time injury frequency were at the lowest level ever." in 2013. It was the third consecutive year of improvement.

Logan

(Source: dave_7, via Wikimedia Commons)

Projects like installing collision avoidance systems are a key part of that. Here Teck worked with SAFEmine to put GPS-based devices in vehicles so they can warn operators before accidents take place. If you drive a car, you know all too well that sometimes you just don't see things that you need to see. The results of the trials were so impressive that Teck decided to roll the technology out to all of its surface mines.

Incremental, but important
Will you see the results of this initiative drop down to the bottom line? Probably not. However, it is this type of interconnected advance that allows Teck to keep its costs down. In the first quarter, the miner announced that it is cutting sustaining and development capital spending this year by an additional $150 million. On the sustaining side, "the deferral of equipment purchases" was a specific highlight.

Ensuring that giant, expensive trucks don't ram into each other is what allows for that to happen. The results? In a test of the SAFEmine system, speeding incidents, "close interactions" between small vehicles and trucks, and "close interactions" between large trucks all fell about 50%. That's the type of improvement that lets you put off the purchase of new machines.

GPS to the rescue
A GPS system is the heart of this advance, since it lets a computer track where every truck is and, more importantly, what's around every truck. That's not all that GPS can do, however. For example, Trimble uses GPS to enhance farming and construction equipment. Trimble's GPS systems can direct a human operator or just run the machines itself in some cases.

Using a computer and a connected fleet of machines, Trimble essentially allows for more precise work. In the farm space, that can increase crop yields (more revenue) and, if you let the machines run themselves, reduce staffing needs (lower costs).

The focus on interconnecting machines is why Trimble's revenues continue to head higher while the GPS industry's nameplate player Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) has seen its top line decline. Devices that provide directions are nice, but growth is over in the space. On top of that, major competitors like automakers are incorporating GPS into their own systems.

GRMN Revenue (Annual) Chart

GRMN Revenue (Annual) data by YCharts

It's about doing more
Putting some numbers to that, over the past five years, Trimble's revenues are up over 100% while Garmin's top line has fallen 10%. Clearly, taking GPS and connecting it to other devices so it improves overall performance is more valuable than just selling a stand-alone GPS. In other words, if you want a GPS play, buy Trimble and avoid Garmin. Trimble's ability to connect devices is exactly why major companies like Teck are able to make minor, but important changes that make shareholders richer.

It's about a new, connected world
Let's face it, every investor wants to get in on revolutionary ideas before they hit it big. Like buying PC-maker Dell in the late 1980s, before the consumer computing boom. Or purchasing stock in e-commerce pioneer Amazon.com in the late 1990s, when it was nothing more than an upstart online bookstore. The problem is, most investors don't understand the key to investing in hyper-growth markets. The real trick is to find a small-cap "pure-play" and then watch as it grows in EXPLOSIVE lockstep with its industry. Our expert team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's poised to produce rocket-ship returns with the next $14.4 TRILLION industry. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening report.

Reuben Brewer has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers