Progress in the 21st Century
In 2012, the United States Congress enacted the Move Ahead for Progress in the 21st century Bill (MAP-21) paving the way for innovation and technology in the logistics and transportation industry. With federal electronic regulations and compliances in place, it was only a short time until innovation started to permeate the rest of business in that sector. Today we are seeing leading technology in all aspects of the trucking industry including safety, fleet management, business platforms and automated payment systems. Most solutions are meant to simplify the process through automation providing transparency and control, creating efficiencies and ensuring compliance. Below are a few of the benefits of automation and technology critical to the future or our industry.
Data Leading the Way
“Technology creates data and data is king. Seeing data on a near or real-time basis allows everyone to be on the same page. Consistency and continuity saves time, money and in some cases even lives.”
Evaluating data is critical in staying ahead of the curve. Modern data analytics can provide a detailed picture of performance and has led to the development of web-based tools that can leverage data to provide tracking, purchasing, pricing analysis, and fuel auditing and reconciliation.
Other data sources can illustrate freight volumes within the industry and actionable insights to help spot trends and exceptions across a wide variety of performance metrics.
Digital Payment programs can also deliver meaningful data and information to provide an understanding of how your resources are used and can help make decisions faster and smarter. These types of programs and the data they provide give you the ability to see beyond the transaction, using information and technology to automate processes, improve performance and get more done in less time.
“The future of trucking is here and the industry is embracing it.”
New Technology for Efficiencies and Ease
With Smart Phones, Tablets and Handheld’s, the industry is reducing paperwork, providing customized control over digital information and real-time tracking on driver status, which is critical in business planning. Staying compliant can also be challenging, but today’s technology offers digital solutions that address and manage regulations that provide efficiencies to shift resources back to areas of your business that require a focus forward.
Mobile apps are offered to help with driver and fleet safety, compliance and time tracking and that is just the beginning. Innovative tools have been developed to help fleet operators and managers maintain compliance and regulations through features that include an automated inspection process, an accident feature, document support and trip logging. There is even an app that combines video capture and telematics to improve driver safety by documenting incidents in real-time. Jason Green, co-founder and CEO of the company that developed this product says, “We wanted to develop something less complicated that would use the computer that’s already in everyone’s pocket.” He goes on to say, “The video can be used to help drivers learn from mistakes, or it could potentially exonerate them in the case of wrongful claims or fraud.” He points out, “If fleet owners can reduce claim costs and risk by a certain percentage, savings could be in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.”
Another innovation that the industry has embraced is the driver fuel card. These cards have become critical in allowing fleet management to track and manage spending, often providing additional benefits like discounts on fuel and maintenance. While there are a variety of cards offered industry wide, EFS offers a wide-range of solutions to address any fleet size, like the Fleet One EDGE card – ideal for growing fleets – that is accepted at over 8,000 truck stop locations across North America, has one of the largest nationwide fuel discount and savings networks, and provides credit to fund your operation and financing to help you grow. Like all of the EFS cards, the Fleet One EDGE card allows you to set purchase limits in real-time and customize at the individual card level with distinct card prompts that validate before authorizing the transaction at the point of purchase. Fuel cards also benefit drivers with access to hotels, meals and entertainment without the worry of collecting paper receipts. Automated fuel cards and fuel tax programs can be invaluable for IFTA reporting as well as fraud prevention. Drivers are also offered mobile solutions that they can use to control their funds, get balances and transaction details as well as help in finding fuel prices and locations by route.
So, it seems that along with ELD compliance and the Map-21 bill, so too came electronic expense reporting, streamlined vendor payments and automated payroll systems. All of this to say that business automation in the logistics and transportation industry has helped to simplify complex systems, providing new avenues of growth, optimization and customer experience. Modern tools like mobile apps and fuel cards, combined with data analytics, suggest that the future of trucking is here and the industry is embracing it.