You’ve certainly heard the saying more than once: “There’s an app for that.” Well, when it comes to trucking this new school adage is certainly true. We live in a digital-saturated world where you can find an app for just about any activity imaginable. In fact, as of the third quarter of 2018, there were over 2.1 million apps available for download. Whether you want to hunt ghosts or build digital farms, yes, there’s an app for that.
Yet, app usage has evolved well beyond ghost hunting or digital farm building. Apps have become to permeate the professional world as much, or more so, than the realm of leisure and play. The trend towards app use for professionals is chugging along at a rapid clip. When a company adopts an app-forward philosophy, studies show that the mobile-focused mindset creates a more productive, creative, and satisfied workforce. The surprising part of this discussion lies in the fact that even trucking companies can get the most out of apps.
The Case for Truck Driver-Facing Apps
While many view mobile apps through the lens of video games and a lack of productivity, apps can actually provide a lot of value for a fleet. We live in the age of the ELD, where proper tracking, a data trail, error reduction, truck driver visibility, and real-time resource allocation has become the norm. In combination with enhanced telematics, apps now provide a higher level of visibility, one that fleet managers could only wish for in the past.
Information sharing has moved outside the realm of a fleet managers-only paradigm. Truck drivers now have access to a higher level of data than ever before, and his is not a bad thing. Whether it be to improve road behaviors, decrease maintenance issues, find better routes, or increase safety outcomes, apps provide a foundation for success in a technology-saturated transportation world.
Apps can be used to both track and convey data, whether it be to and from truck drivers who are on the road quite a bit or for fleet managers who are looking for different solutions for face-to-face coaching and feedback. Even more, truck driver-facing apps put the responsibility back into the hands of the truck drivers. They are better able to manage and control their performance and set proper expectations for both themselves and the company they work for. But how exactly to apps do this?
Apps for Task Management
Apps and telematics solutions work best at tracking employees and information. Task management is an area where apps excel since it combines the benefits of navigation and e-forms. Task management app solutions can leverage communication and engagement with mobile fieldworkers, truck drivers, technicians, dispatchers and fleet managers.
Fleet managers can use truck driver-facing apps to create and assign tasks based on priority. Truck drivers then know which tasks are most important and can prioritize them first. Truck drivers who have access to an overview of their daily tasks can decide when they need to complete certain tasks based on their own discretion or circumstances. When two-way messaging apps are used over cellular or Wi-Fi, truck drivers have the freedom to decide what gets done when, which creates a higher level of satisfaction among the fleet.
Truck drivers and fleet managers can also better negotiate expectations for each day and communicate instantly when there is a problem or required change. Workload distribution becomes far more efficient and easily managed when everyone in the employment chain has this type of access to instant communication.
Fleet teams also benefit from greater levels of collaboration through app usage. When mobile apps provide a better environment for teamwork and collaboration, employees work harder and persist longer in solving difficult problems or completing tough tasks. We live in a technologically advanced society and many of the truck drivers currently entering the work force are used to working with smartphones tablets and computers. When they can access the tools they are already used to using, truck drivers become more engaged and gain a greater enjoyment out of their daily tasks.
Being able to better track completed tasks and centralize information management provides an additional benefit. Many apps that focus on task management also offer additional options, such as databases that store information, whether it be customer information, route information, proof of delivery e-receipts, signatures, and so much more. If a truck driver is going through a post-trip inspection later, they can match up the information in the app to what is reported to superiors.
Being able to store and track a truck driver’s tasks in real-time provides an invaluable look into that truck driver’s day. Only comprehensive mobile-friendly apps tied into telematics solutions can provide this level of immersion into day-to-day task management and communication. By better managing tasks and time, these apps can improve the overall utilization level of a given fleet.
Imagine being able to map out how many tasks a technician or truck driver must complete in a day, how long it takes them to complete each task, and how each unexpected task impacts their overall workflow. This also allows fleet managers to assess performance in completing tasks and provides a greater level of flexibility in fleet operations. This relieves truck drivers of the strain of having to figure this out on the fly.
Whether you are using task management apps to improve operational efficiency, streamline operations, create a better customer experience, or improve truck driver visibility and satisfaction, there is no reason not to harness the power of apps for the betterment of your fleet.
Truck Driver Training and Scoring
Mobile apps and telematics solutions also provide an excellent option for tracking truck driver behavior. Each truck driver in the fleet has their own unique skill sets, wants and needs. Whether or not they are doing things the right way is up to you to figure out. After all, efficiency, safety and compliance are all at stake.
When using mobile apps and telematics, fleet managers can see how their truck drivers are performing in real-time. They can check on data relating to speeding, braking, acceleration, fuel usage, lane changes, idling, and so much more. The sky is the limit when it comes to the level of information mobile apps and telematics can track. This data also provides an in-depth level of coaching potential for truck drivers and fleet managers.
Better data management can be paired directly with coaching and training. Scorecards can be developed, and truck drivers can compare how they are doing in friendly fleet competition. Truck drivers can see how they rank and more effectively deduce what they need to do to perform better. Being able to monitor this information easily from a handheld device increases overall accountability and assists truck drivers in monitoring their own behavior.
The fact is, thorough truck driver training reduces fines and accidents, saves on fuel, lowers maintenance costs and insurance premiums and results in happier truck drivers. Why would you not want to use a solution that does all of that in one, simple, easy, mobile-friendly package?
Better Trip Classification
Anyone who works in the field or drives a commercial motor vehicle deals with trip classification on a regular basis. Yet, not every hour a worker spends in the field is dedicated to work. Truck drivers must take a lunch or break, fill up their rig, or complete admin work at the home office. Using a mobile-friendly app with a trip classification add-on allows truck drivers to classify each action. Fleet managers then have real-time access to this information via an easily transmittable report.
Considering the ELD mandate now requires trip classification, mobile apps that provide a simple solution allow fleets to stay in compliance with the law. While there are plenty of ELDs out there specifically designed for HOS compliance, mobile-friendly apps, in some cases, provide an easier-to-use and more readily available solution. A quick tap for a classification change prevents errors from slipping through.
Mobile-app enabled trip classification also creates more efficiencies across the fleet. Are your truck drivers and fleet vehicles being properly utilized? Are you noticing there is too much downtime between when a trip ends, and another begins? When you are better able to manage trip classification and fleet utilization, efficiency inevitable increases.
Employees who are part of a more efficient feedback loop are far likelier to be satisfied and engaged. Truck drivers already used to using technology in their every day lives appreciate when their employers invest in solutions they recognize; solutions that help them better get the job done.
Although it may not be at the front of your mind, truck driver-facing apps offer an excellent and efficient way for fleet managers and truck drivers to get more involved with the every-day fleet operations a fleet must deal with. When you have better reciprocal communication, higher levels of connectivity, and greater motivation, there really is a business case to be made for seeking out mobile apps and telematics solutions.