Ask any logistics industry guy, how much trucks contribute into logistics, and the only answer you can get out of him would be, “Plenty!”. It doesn’t matter which type of carriers are used to move logistics, if it is surface transportation, Truck fleets will be involved in all at one point or other. So if you are thinking where will you need to deal with trucks if you are into logistics, it will probably be in everything. Truck transportation is still the most basic and preferred mode for logistics companies. The global connected logistics market is estimated to grow from USD 5.05 Billion in 2015, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 32.3% from 2015 to 2020.
After the obvious setbacks faced by slowed economy due to the recession, the trucking industry is facing few of its own challenges with the changing times. Some of them are age-old but few have also evolved due to changing market dynamics. Irrespective of the way these challenges have emerged, their impact on the growth and future of Trucking industry is unquestionable. These can no longer be underestimated and needs to be addressed with a fresh and result oriented thought process. Let’s have a quick look at these challenges which are the major concern for trucking industry now.
Knowing Truck Driver Stats & performance
Usage of Electronic Logging devices (ELDs) is mandatory in Canada from past decade, but it has improved their efficiency remarkably without leaving a scope for tempering. The current method of keeping paper logs is not only inefficient it also restricts the trucking companies from accessing a comprehensive view of the driver stats and performance.
Advanced telematics and driver stats recording are important features which enable the trucking companies to record and assess their driver performance. It also helps them to assign the driver’s the routes they are expert on and are more comfortable to drive for better performance.
Implementation of regulations & safety measures
The Green House Gases (GHG) Phase 2 regulations from US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are all set to bring down the fuel consumptions and improve fuel economy by 24% before 2027. The regulatory bodies are also vying to implement the fuel efficiency & safety standards for Trucks and heavier vehicles by 2021, but the problem remains proper implementation and tracking of the stats.
Advanced routing software which often results in 20-40% savings on fuel expenditure can be a useful relief for the trucking companies as well as the planet. Apart from the monetary benefits, the routing system ensures that the wastage of fuel on repeated and redundant runs is curbed to decrease emission and time.
Tracking the cash flow
Unpaid invoices are the biggest roadblock for any trucking company in order to move forward. The problem worsens when they are not able to follow up with these bills and fails to “see” where their money is stuck. Invoice reminders with a whole plan for follow-up mechanism are much-needed suite for the trucking companies these days.
Advanced invoice management system which is often provided with the trucking management software solves this problem effectively. Right from delivering the first sales order to providing the reminders for unpaid invoices on weekly, fortnightly or even monthly basis, they do it all with automated settings.
Optimizing the LTL & TL routing
With an objective to provide competitive trucking services in terms of value as well as resources used, route planning is a step forward. It helps trucking companies to track and reorganize the LTL and TL to optimize routes, carrier loads delivered and fuel efficiency. It involves different strategies such as Straight Pooling, Shipment Consolidation, Continuous Moves, Shipment Aggregation and cross docking. This involves an intelligent software solution which can manage the inventory as well as dispatch according to the optimized plan.
To survive these challenges trucking industry needs to embrace the solutions which are hidden in the form of technological advancements. Now, trucking software is not limited to providing the monthly performance reviews and feeding the business stats into a common database. Trucking software has advanced to a stage where they are able to “solve” the challenges by bringing more value to the business by improving efficiency. Also, trucking software management is now empowering the 3PLs and logistics companies with a greater visibility and control over the complete trucking process. This not only contributes to the revenue of the trucking company but also improves the delivery experience for all the entities involved. It is possible because technology touches every level of the trucking management process, from the driver to the board level business decisions, in order to add some value to it. What we need to do is to figure out which of these technology solutions are the immediate requirements for your business.
Curbing on longer Detention Time- Ready to start scenarios with the help of BI and advanced data analysis
63% of the drivers are detained for more than 3 hours every time they are at shipper’s dock according to a DAT survey. This results in wastage of many expensive work hours which remain nonbillable for the time of loading and unloading. Only 3% of the Brokers are able to collect the detention fee submitted by them from the Shipper’s making it a tight walk for them to sustain the business.
Ready to start scenarios are possible with proper planning and inclusion of data based approach for decision making. With the help of BI and connected trucking software, drivers are now informed prior to reaching the shipper’s dock about the expected time of loading such that he can avoid the detention period if the time exceeds his 2 hours loading limit. Also, the dynamic over-the-road trucking process can be enabled by syncing the information at the dock with the truck operators in real time. This can also result in optimization of stacking and minimize the freight cost.
Enforcement of Safety measures- Checking the violations with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)
Rather than depending upon the after setback measures for any casualty observed during the trip, companies are vying to prevent the mishaps. Yard navigation, using Telematics for route planning, monitoring safety and maintenance, temperature, tire pressure, video capture, sensors, prompt warning for any distraction or blind spots to the driver and data analytics can be extensively used to enforce safety measures. Collection and monitoring of data on engine diagnostics help in the prevention of unexpected breakdowns by timely servicing of the machine.
For Smart Driver Management the truck can be wired together and connected to telematics device that gathers data from engine ignition, truck speed to brake wear and sends it to your cloud. This can be used to monitor driver’s various actions like – starting the trip, driving behavior and its effect on the trucks’ health. Online video streaming camera can also be installed for checking on driver’s well-being or performance. The smart navigation system through mobile App or on the dashboard will update him on incoming route modifications at the real-time basis.
Automated Solutions- Helping out to survive the truck driver shortage
US market is looking at the biggest shortage of drivers which is likely to deteriorate in the coming years. This is also pushing the average driver age to a later 40s segment with 49 years as an average which is evidently not ideal for such a stressful job profile. American Trucking Association (ATA) has stated a shortage of 48,000 drivers in 2015 and has projected that the shortage will continue to grow and will become about 175,000 by 2024.
With the average Over the road (OTR) for Truckload industry drivers at 49, the situation is likely to worsen as a large number of drivers are nearing their retiring age. This makes huge pressure on Logistics segment to rely on automated solutions to put a lesser dependency on the workforce which is already in shortage. Though a completely automated solution such as Google’s driverless car may seem far-fetched, the cloud-based solutions with proper integration with IoT and advanced sensors can make it a reality. Rather than dropping the stringent bar to hire skillful Truckload Drivers at the cost of increased expense on insurance, safety and professionalism in services, automated solutions adds greater value to logistics. With the driver’s pay already accounting for about 34% of the operational expenses per mile, the resulting shortage will only increase the driver’s pay in turn increasing the total operational cost. These factors are increasingly making intermodal transportation of freight via rails an attractive option. Thus trucking companies are increasingly losing their business to the rail transport companies.
IoT can extensively help to lessen the impact of the shortage of drivers by substituting for an array of tasks which need not be performed by drivers always. This saves up the man hours of drivers and helps them to maintain small shifts in multiple slots. Automated solutions such as autonomous driving vehicles is a lucrative option which still needs some years to culminate into a reality on a commercial level.
Competing from 3D printing/additive manufacturing with strategic shipping techniques
In the pursuit of keeping the shipment cost as low as possible, the majority of industries which work in e-commerce are looking for the options provided by advanced technology. 3D printing is used for additive manufacturing of the products near the sites where the products are supposed to be consumed. The raw products are locally sourced and the final product is manufactured in close vicinity to the market, making shipping cost very less or redundant. The prospects of additive manufacturing are huge in e-commerce industries because their major expenditure lies in shipping of the products. And if this step can be removed or shortened, e-commerce giants are going to make a huge margin on this cut.
With the help of some progressive measures trucking, companies can provide cheaper trucking services in order to make truck transportation more viable for companies. Platooning, shared LTL/TL and load pooling are coming out as an attractive option for the trucking industry where they can send the load without truly involving their complete resources at the fraction of the wholesome cost.
Easing the stressful journeys for drivers with Truck to Truck communication
Parking issues, route planning, shift coordination and traffic congestion are the main problems faced by the drivers while transporting the assignments. Vehicle to vehicle communication not only allows them to avoid the bad patches of the journey by planning a more feasible route it also gives them leverage to lessen their detention time. It also helps them to counter any unprecedented events which have happened in the later part of their journey route due to weather mishaps or accidents. Most of the truck drivers are less healthier than their counterparts working in different industries. With improved travel experience and lesser wastage of crucial time, the chances of them getting better in health as well as professional front increases.
DreamOrbit is a Logistics and Supply Chain Technology Development company. We have been creating meaningful and reliable software products for the industry which is “Always on the go” for the past half decade. We are highly motivated team aimed at innovation. Our philosophy is to “keep challenging the potential within”. With the support of our happy customers and dedicated team, we strive to provide best possible solutions to industry problems. Visit our website to know more about DreamOrbit.