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How Trucking Companies Can Use Advanced Digital Logistics and Technologies to Their Advantage – Part I

In the transportation sector, accessible data is everywhere. Companies use this data to make decisions every day. And company leaders use quality information and actionable data to boost operational efficiency and flexibility, keep fuel consumption under control, improve truck driver safety, and enhance the experience of their customers and clients.

Trucking companies that use advanced cellular technologies – such as the coming 5G revolution – find everyday opportunities to enhance their operation. How? By using today’s changing environment to position themselves for growth and flexibility. This is not a difficult ask. Fleets see their key performance indicators rise when they focus on where advanced technology platforms can do the most for efficiency, safety, and the bottom line. The problem? Many rely on 4G connectivity to maintain processes. 5G will create an entirely new landscape for these operators.

Welcome to the New Age of Advanced Technologies

When you look at the numbers, it isn’t hard to see the impact digital tech will have on trucking companies. One of the key contributing factors will be 5G technologies. It will enable fleets to maintain real-time tracking information over their truck drivers, keep disruptions at a minimum, and make accurate decision-making a simple process.

Expect fleet managers to also enhance their asset management programs and enable instant communication with truck drivers. But that’s not all. From supply chain partners to the back-office, the ability to tap into advanced cellular technologies will change the game for companies of all shapes and sizes.

The key lies in more access points, a larger degree of connected devices, and a high level of automation. Successful trucking companies will utilize these advances to get a step ahead of their competitors and realize efficiencies in just about every part of their business. Will your trucking companies be ready to take advantage of the revolution once it begins? Because it certainly will be televised across the industry.

How Digital Logistics will Transform Trucking Companies

As technology evolves, companies will find exciting new ways to enhance their operations. From faster data transfer to lower latency and long-range solutions. These advancements already enable a more responsive network to create the change fleets look for. Logistics processes have already become faster, safer, and more dependable.

Machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics, robotics, and more will change everything. From how OEMs manufacture vehicles to how fleet managers make decisions, everything is changing. Making the most of innovation today and preparing for the future requires a network that blends speed, reach, and high-capacity infrastructure. Will your fleet be prepared?

The primary factor driving this change is increased connectivity. Unlocking value in the supply chain begins with greater visibility to manage risk. Risk is everywhere in trucking company operations. Whether it’s related to asset management, truck driver processes, maintenance, and more – the risk is there. The use of technology to mitigate that risk will be critical to ensuring trucking companies succeed in a near-constantly volatile marketplace.

Why Trucking Companies Need Enhanced Visibility

It is no great secret that connectivity acts as a foundation for a trucking company’s daily operations. Today, 90% of logistics and shipping providers consider a lack of significant supply chain visibility to be a huge challenge. It is absolutely necessary to know where your assets are. And yet, many trucking companies simply do not have the technological assets in place to ensure the oversight they need. Oversight is critical, but knowing what’s happening requires consistent, cost-effective workflow insights. Utilizing transportation management systems provides critical visibility. It also helps companies manage tracking and customer service in a far more robust fashion.

Critical systems can use effective transportation management systems to improve their operations in many ways. They can request immediate transportation and order updates. Apps with advanced features are used for their tracking and tracing abilities. ELDs are transformed and interconnected partner systems provide essential information used for more effective routing and shipment tracking.

Trucking companies that do not operate highly connective systems with increased capacity will fall flat. Even the best thought out coordination and route planning could fail without an effective technological solution to match it.

By applying real-time analytics to data collected by onboard sensors, trucking companies realize higher rates of visibility. Fleet managers receive clear insights into their transportation network. And they can automatically predict the flow of shipments, and optimize delivery routes. How do they manage this? by dynamically routing shipments to bypass clogged network points.

Using Advanced Cellular Technology to Enhance Operations

We have already talked about how the transformation to 5G networks will change how trucking companies do business. Their ultra-low latency coverage systems boost monitoring and fleet visibility. And faster 5G speeds will allow for broader coverage and more effective fleetwide communication. Trucking and logistics providers already rely on 4G cellular technology for these capabilities, but new 5G solutions will change all that.

Obviously, speed is a factor. And new cellular systems will boost speed potential by multitudes. When transferring data over 5G networks, trucking companies will make better use of their current telematics and fleet management systems. Capacity within these systems also changes the game for trucking companies. Utilizing advanced 5G systems, fleets will pull CRM data, business trends, metrics, routing information, and more. And all this information can be pulled quickly and seamlessly from the cloud.

Fleet managers and trucking company executives may ask an interesting question. Why do we need to upgrade to 5G technologies when our 4G options work just fine? The first benefit is quite simple. Speed. 5G networks will provide telematics and fleet management information faster and more accurately. It will simply be easier to connect with, track, and change how business gets done using advanced AI-powered and 5G applications.

AI and Machine Learning Combines with Advanced Digital Logistics

As we have discussed before, AI and machine learning systems support predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance is undergoing a full-scale revolution thanks to AI, augmented reality, and 3D visibility technologies. These systems can be used for full truck analysis, including potential failures and scheduled repairs, shipping volume predictions, and route optimization. This allows fleet managers a bird’s eye view into potential visibility problems. Trucking companies also use these systems to maximize revenue. One example could be using AI for sales modeling with more accurate predictions and prescriptive analytics for real-time coaching.

Using AI to increase sales is not something fleet managers typically think of. But the process has led to a win rate increase and top-line revenue growth for many fleets already using this technology. 5G’s high-speed data transfer, when paired with everything from computer vision to AI, improves connectivity, collaboration, and responsiveness in countless ways and fashions. Above all, this technology, once in place, proves itself indispensable to fleet managers for trucking companies large and small.

Trucking company industry leaders utilize both 4G and 5G technologies to power their fleet and transportation management solutions. These systems are already in place and ready for prime time. In addition to enhanced visibility through live status updates and forecasts, these solutions help companies adjust their workflows and remove process bottlenecks. In a time where supply chain problems are constantly in the back of fleet managers’ minds, technologies like these are a real game-changer.

How These Technologies Aid Fleet Managers and Truck Drivers

If you utilize a truck driver-facing mobile application, you can quickly adapt to a changing environment through new inputs and obstacles. This could be everything from traffic conditions or end-point appointment changes to detention time and more. Supply chain operators use these platforms to keep an eye on key systems and services, whether it be for order fulfillment or to simply ensure shipments are delivered more efficiently and profitably.

However, shipping overpayments is another area where these technologies can play a big role. It’s no great secret that shipping overpayments are common. And they often occur because high-volume, global shipping operations generate too much data for a trucking company’s manual systems to handle. By utilizing 5G networks with advanced technical capabilities attached to it and handling all the data, they vastly improve their operations. These tools help trucking companies invest in systems that heighten accuracy and provide real-time data between truck drivers, back-office financial teams, and customers.

But these aren’t the only areas where advanced systems matched with high-speed cellular networks and digital technologies will change how fleets operate. Join us in Part II of this series where we examine even greater ways for trucking companies to get on the 5G and high-tech bandwagon to run their operations more efficiently, improve truck driver satisfaction, and pad the bottom line.

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