28 Feb

Company Spotlight: Trimble

By Catherine McKenna

Earlier this month, the American Geographical Society had the opportunity to speak with Trimble’s Ian Warner, Director of Industry Workforce Development and Innovation, and Michelle Chessler, Vice President of Corporate Marketing. Trimble is an industrial technology company transforming the way the world works. Through their technological applications in various industries, including construction, transportation, agriculture, geospatial, and natural resources, Trimble is able to “connect the digital and physical worlds.” The company was one of the first to take GPS into the commercial market in 1978, at a time when most GPS-related concepts were only military-based. Today, tens of thousands of companies around the world use Trimble’s innovative technologies in their work, quickly becoming an industry standard. They provide solutions that enable their customers to do their jobs more efficiently, while improving workers’ safety and the overall health of the planet. 

Sustainability has been at the core of the company since its inception, and Trimble leads by example, embedding sustainability in their supply chain, offices, and operations. Chessler emphasized how Trimble “takes insights from the land and applies it to something meaningful,” which is particularly seen through their work with precision tech. A few key goals Trimble focuses on that improves planning and logistics and promotes a greener economy are to have the fewest emissions possible, to avoid performing unnecessary tasks twice, to spray minimal pesticides, and to only dig as deep as needed. Location data, precise positioning, and knowing where you are on the Earth is critical in the industries that Trimble works with. Their highly accurate data results in a productive workflow and the ability to make critically informed decisions. When it comes to industrial-scale tasks, precision down to the millimeters is imperative. Having Trimble’s technology that detects accuracy before construction takes place can save companies thousands of dollars in re-work while optimizing operations and benefiting the environment. 

One impressive case study in 2022 involved a project being built by Saunders Construction of a 17-story apartment complex in Denver, Colorado with a unique architectural style and large amounts of exposed concrete. Every single element, down to the light fixtures and mechanical openings, had to be within a quarter-of-an-inch accuracy before the concrete was poured. The Saunders Construction team used a Trimble X7 laser scanner with FieldLink to scan every floor and compared each to a 3D model. Using just a tablet, the team was able to quickly analyze the models directly on-site in order to guarantee precision before pouring the concrete. Just that process alone saved the company around $20,000 – $25,000 per floor and increased the overall efficiency of the site. Aside from time and money, approximately 72 metric tons, 144,000 kgs of carbon, were also saved thanks to Trimble technology and Saunders’ implementation of virtual design and construction (VDC) processes in just the concrete floor placement process alone. This is what Trimble means when it comes to sustainability being built into the company. 

The idea of “right data, right time, right decision” allows for critical information to be accessed at the right moment for those who need it, thus Trimble is elevating productivity and allowing for cleaner and more sustainable work to be done on the planet. While the casual observer of a construction site may not grasp the importance of precision technology or the extremely complex data being collected, they reap the environmental benefits that Trimble’s technologies provide. 

To learn more about Trimble and their critical work, visit their website here, and take a look at their 2021 Sustainability Report.