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7 Truck Technologies You Need

Views:131     Author:Fullwon     Publish Time: 2019-03-12      Origin:Site

7 Truck Technologies You Need (And Why)

As anyone who’s been to trucking conferences knows, there’s an almost endless list of add-ons that fleets could put in their trucks if they wanted. Many innovative companies are producing credible technology and related devices—today often incorporating both hardware and software—that plug into those trucks from every angle, claiming to offer advantages in the day-to-day routines of fleet and trucking operations. 

That’s partly because it’s an extremely varied industry to be in, really encompassing a multitude of sub-industries, with so many types of fleets facing their own complexities and challenges in doing business. Technology is finding ways to make it easier, quicker, more accurate, less taxing, safer or safeguarded, sometimes bringing sweeping industry change with it. 

The fundamental lure is that it’s going to make life better for fleets and drivers, but that’s not necessarily what leads fleets to make an investment decision. Moving freight and goods or getting work done with vehicles can be a highly competitive proposition, frequently with very thin margins, so the pitch for technology boils down to this: does it make your fleet more competitive? 

For our “must-have” list, we focused on some key add-ons beyond your basic fleet management/telematics product. We looked at how using them can make your fleet more competitive—or, turning that around, if you don’t have them on your trucks, how they could give an edge to your competition. 

Note that using various technologies isn’t a simple decision. Fleets have a very expensive asset in their trucks, and sometimes have a lot of them. Equipping trucks with this or that technology fleet-wide can take years, and it often requires installation and maintenance. So that means time, which means money; it’s also why tech companies are getting more of their wares installed or installable right at the truck OEM’s factory. 

Truck add-ons also require an up-front investment, of course, and fleet managers, operators and owners want to see that it’s worth it. There’s got to be return on investment—at least in theory, but better if it’s black-and-white savings viewable as “before” and “after” installation—to any technology. In most cases, these things are optional. 

Coupled with the time it takes to equip a fleet, the swift pace of technological advancement in the 2010s has also presented a problem. We’ve reached an age, to quote futurist Jim Carroll, when things are progressing so quickly that technology effectively can arrive to market obsolete. 

So fleets don’t want to invest in systems with a life cycle like a smartphone, where they’ll get something installed and have drivers trained to use it only to have to turn around, replace everything and start over. For that reason, we selected technologies that have been maturing for years, including dynamic routing software, forward-looking camera systems, driver scorecards, collision mitigation technology, electronic logging devices, trailer tracking, and temperature tracking/record keeping. 

truck

1.Dynamic Routing

In trucking and fleet operations, you’re often moving goods or workers from point to point, delivery to delivery. The route you take to do it is everything. Dynamic routing can add in adjustability and data to inform the paths taken, especially with traffic and weather information that today truly can get close to that often-made promise of “real time.” 

You can trim out unnecessary miles and find a quicker route, or map around a traffic backup or major collision with freshly updated GPS info. Or, depending on the nature of the business, dispatchers might be able to fold in additional stops to increase route density and decrease the distance traveled to each next delivery or pickup point. Dynamic routing software is getting smarter and can even do much of this for you, which amounts to automatic optimization and money savings.

All of that shaves off time and cuts down on fuel use, both of which are major cost items for a fleet. Getting better trip-planning information to optimize truck routes every day and every time just makes good business sense. It can help keep your drivers and equipment utilized, costs better controlled, and customers happier as your service levels are maximized as well, which contributes to your company’s reputation and ability to land future business.  

To the point, though, “dynamic” means this isn’t cast in stone, but rather is a flexible technology. Fleets have been finding their own ways to use it, and a recent example was taking place in the run-up to Halloween. Hershey’s—officially the Hershey Co.—happens to see a significant spike in its product sales at that time of year and wants that wave to surge as high as possible. 

The company uses Verizon Telematics software not only to route deliveries in the more typical fashion, but to optimize where it sends its sales team. “We worked together as a team at the end of the day to say, ‘How do we deploy our 1,200 individual sales force to the right stores at the right time?’” explained Craig Stevenson, manager of retail development at Hershey’s.  

Prior to using the routing software, Hershey’s  had to use “several different applications” to monitor where sales reps were going every day, but the Verizon routing software has simplified that considerably. 

Hershey’s uses an in-house sales force rather than outsourcing. Dynamic routing allows Hershey’s to minimize drive time for sales reps and maximize their time at best-selling locations. “We needed internal software that can adapt and be agile to meet our needs,” Stevenson said. “Some of the features that really drew us to the routing product were route optimization, territory planning, and more importantly, the ability to forecast.” 

Companies like Hershey’s are finding that using technology to optimize their operations helps them keep up with the evolving retail landscape, where e-com-merce giants such as Amazon have been finding new ways to optimize inventories and reach customers better and faster. 

trucks

2. Forward-looking Camera Systems

As anyone who’s been to trucking conferences knows, there’s an almost endless list of add-ons that fleets could put in their trucks if they wanted. Many innovative companies are producing credible technology and related devices—today often incorporating both hardware and software—that plug into those trucks from every angle, claiming to offer advantages in the day-to-day routines of fleet and trucking operations. 

That’s partly because it’s an extremely varied industry to be in, really encompassing a multitude of sub-industries, with so many types of fleets facing their own complexities and challenges in doing business. Technology is finding ways to make it easier, quicker, more accurate, less taxing, safer or safeguarded, sometimes bringing sweeping industry change with it. 

The fundamental lure is that it’s going to make life better for fleets and drivers, but that’s not necessarily what leads fleets to make an investment decision. Moving freight and goods or getting work done with vehicles can be a highly competitive proposition, frequently with very thin margins, so the pitch for technology boils down to this: does it make your fleet more competitive? 

For our “must-have” list, we focused on some key add-ons beyond your basic fleet management/telematics product. We looked at how using them can make your fleet more competitive—or, turning that around, if you don’t have them on your trucks, how they could give an edge to your competition. 

Note that using various technologies isn’t a simple decision. Fleets have a very expensive asset in their trucks, and sometimes have a lot of them. Equipping trucks with this or that technology fleet-wide can take years, and it often requires installation and maintenance. So that means time, which means money; it’s also why tech companies are getting more of their wares installed or installable right at the truck OEM’s factory. 

Truck add-ons also require an up-front investment, of course, and fleet managers, operators and owners want to see that it’s worth it. There’s got to be return on investment—at least in theory, but better if it’s black-and-white savings viewable as “before” and “after” installation—to any technology. In most cases, these things are optional. 

Coupled with the time it takes to equip a fleet, the swift pace of technological advancement in the 2010s has also presented a problem. We’ve reached an age, to quote futurist Jim Carroll, when things are progressing so quickly that technology effectively can arrive to market obsolete. 

So fleets don’t want to invest in systems with a life cycle like a smartphone, where they’ll get something installed and have drivers trained to use it only to have to turn around, replace everything and start over. For that reason, we selected technologies that have been maturing for years, including dynamic routing software, forward-looking camera systems, driver scorecards, collision mitigation technology, electronic logging devices, trailer tracking, and temperature tracking/record keeping. 

If you have any questions, please contact us.


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