While mobile apps for driving and ride sharing may be getting more attention in the press, the trucking industry has seen massive technological advances that are rapidly changing the face of the industry. Such cutting edge trucking technology helps truckers avoid traffic delays, track vehicle maintenance, and communicate with fleet headquarters and other truckers. Explore some of the latest technological changes in trucking to stay up to date with industry trends.
Intelligent Vehicle Systems Make Driving Easier
Intelligent vehicle (IV) systems incorporate some of the most popular consumer auto safety measures into trucks. Where once truck drivers had to learn how to back up big rigs without hitting anything, now many trucks incorporate visual alerts that let drivers see what’s behind their truck.
Other IV tools include radio-based traffic alerts and rerouting, which help drivers avoid traffic jams and road delays with smart route assistance. While truckers can still use GPS systems, this offers an alternative routing assist that will work even in remote locations that lack a satellite signal.
Another popular innovation promises to alleviate delays associated with weigh stations. After weighing in is once en route, truckers can use a small vehicle transponder to automatically check in to other weigh stations without needing to stop and weigh in again.
Fleet Management Software Streamlines Communication
Fleet management software helps trucking companies maintain a fleet of trucks, automate vehicle maintenance, track truck locations in real time, and manage the business. While this software is not new per se, technological advances have made fleet management software more powerful.
Now, fleet management technology can help companies find the closest driver to a pickup location, reduce fuel waste, verify driver work hours, and know where trucks are at all times. Data gathered by the software can help managers make smarter decisions around scheduling, vehicle maintenance and even bad driving habits. When trucking companies can curb waste, reduce fuel cost, improve performance and increase fleet efficiency — all possible with the right fleet management software — they can excel in a competitive niche.
Drivers will enjoy GPS route guidance, electronic logging capabilities, and the ease of checking in with management via mobile app. The option to complete paperwork online not only saves drivers time at the end of a long shift, it reduces simple errors that tend to occur when logs are written by hand or typed by another employee.
Customer Service Tools and Social Media Increase Client Satisfaction
Social media is becoming more prevalent among truckers — these platforms not only help drivers avoid delays and share helpful tips related to specific routes, they increase connectivity and engagement between drivers, employees, suppliers and customers. When drivers feel connected on social media, they report higher levels of work satisfaction. This benefits trucking companies by decreasing turnover, increasing employee knowledge, and promoting connection and teamwork among staff, suppliers and clients.
Combined with customer service tools — which allow customers greater insight into the delivery process — these tech tools are improving client satisfaction and increasing transparency. New tools allow customers to go online and see where their items are at a glance, understand and plan for prompt arrival and distribution of items, and troubleshoot problems as they arise.
Customer service staff can also respond more quickly to customers, who increasingly want accurate, real-time quotes for item delivery. By using historic data stored in the system and real-time GPS data, customer service representatives can provide an accurate quote for new orders. Transparency helps clients manage their expectations, allows for faster mitigation of problems that arise, and gives truckers access to information they need to plan their schedule.
Clearly, with these new innovations, change is coming to the industry. If you have not yet adopted these technology trends, now is the time to start investing in automated trucking technology to make the workday easier for truckers on the road and service agents in fleet headquarters.
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for small and midsized companies.