Trucking and Technology: The Pathway to Long-Term Growth

As more fleets embrace new trucking technology, they are finding welcome opportunities to increase profits while lowering costs.

While there will always be those who are resistant to change, I think the trucking industry as a whole has come a long way in a relatively short time in its willingness to recognize the value that trucking technology brings to private fleets and carriers.

Some view technology as a way to increase profits while others see it as a way to lower operating costs. Whatever the motivation, there’s an undeniable, gradual shift in the attitudes towards it. As a logistics consulting professional who works daily with cutting-edge technology, I’m convinced this new openness will eventually lead our industry to sustainable, long-term growth.

Let’s take the example of route analysis and optimization as a beneficial technology currently available to trucking fleets. Today’s robust modeling technology that is integral to the process can simulate fleet activities and identify opportunities for savings. The technology can be a game-changer for fleets and deliver any number of services, including:

  • Routing and scheduling analysis and optimization
  • Asset utilization recommendations
  • Productivity and customer service analysis
  • Driver compensation analysis
  • Productivity and customer service analysis

The first step in the logistics consulting process is to collect data from any number of sources including driver manifests, customer route listings, equipment lists, driver lists, etc. Data is also generated by newer trucking technology such as telematics, electronic logging devices, even smartphones.  These statistics should show variations daily, weekly and monthly.

Next, the data is mined and analyzed from different perspectives and summarized into useful information. For fleets, this information can be used to increase revenue, cut costs, and improve customer service. The software helps us find correlations or patterns among the different databases.

The analysis enables us to take a closer look at how a company assigns work to drivers and which specific tractors, trailers, and straight trucks are employed each day. This study is necessary to identify minimum requirements based on current routes to make the best use of assets.

The process allows us to analyze the weekly average of loads, stops, loading and unloading time and miles driven for each truck and drivers.  Using the technology available to us, we study the flow of assets and activity. We can determine the effectiveness of current route configurations and identify preferable route plans and asset allocation, with the ultimate goal of lowering the cost per miles and having a positive effect on the company’s bottom line.

This service alone is a good example of the enormous benefits technology brings to fleets. Technology is giving fleet owners the tools they need to generate and mine data to uncover hidden opportunities for savings and enhanced performance.  Controlling assets effectively, minimizing operating costs, reducing out-of-route miles, recovering productive driving time… now that’s a recipe for success.

David Beaudry

About David Beaudry

David Beaudry is Director of Logistics Engineering and Consulting for NationaLease. He brings 25 years experience in surface transportation, logistics engineering, and consulting. His earlier career includes management posts with Ryder System Inc. and National Freight. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Connecticut State.

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