We’ve been spending a lot of time talking about the power of big data, and for good reason. The fact is, the modern age has brought us technological solutions that we could have previously only dreamed of. And who better to take advantage of these new and unique tools than the trucking industry?
As freight needs consolidate, fleets that don’t harness the power of information risk getting left behind. Consider that some of these technologies have been around for ten years or more, and it becomes obvious why the best and the brightest in the business are increasingly jumping on the technological bandwagon.
What We Know
Some software solutions have been around for quite a long time. Over ten years ago a company called Omnitracs Analytics created a system that uses predictive models to determine which truck drivers were most likely to be involved in an accident, file a worker’s compensation claim or quit. They even created an analytical model based on sleep science and log information to determine when and how much sleep an operator had gotten in a given 24-hour period.
Today, this is called the “fatigue model.” Fleets using the fatigue model give their drivers a real-time fatigue score to determine who is most at-risk for not getting enough quality rest. Next up for the predictive model is to scale it up and adapt it to users at all levels of the company. The age of technology is turning into the age of empowerment.
Anchoring this new trend is the push to integrate all of these functions into a navigation app. Instead of sending a truck driver an alert if they exceed the posted speed limit, analytics instead will be able to identify what the root cause of the problem is and then provide the solution to the driver before the action even occurs.
One example of this could be a pattern showing a truck driver speeding near his home terminal. Upon discovering this information, the navigation app can send a message straight to the operator saying something like, “Over the last 50 miles you have shown a tendency to speed up. Keep an eye on your speed.”
What software and trucking companies are trying to do is weave everything together within the navigation component. That is where the door to instant trucker recommendations is opened.
The Focus On Fuel Efficiency
Where providing actionable information is concerned, fuel efficiency is another area where fleets can realize big gains. Imagine a system where prescriptive fuel efficiency information is provided directly to the truck driver.
Some systems are even able to provide a score for fuel performance that doesn’t take into account factors outside of a truck driver’s control, such as equipment type, load weight or type of route traveled. The system provides drivers with instant feedback based on the driver’s RPM threshold. When an RPM level is reached – usually 1,500 for most drivers – that isn’t conducive to fuel economy, the system provides the operator with a distinctive beep.
At the end of each run, proprietary systems can advise the driver on their fuel efficiency score based on a scale of one to 100. They can even be given information related to how many gallons of fuel an operator may have wasted based on certain conditions or driving habits. Drill down further and you can tell your drivers how much time they spent in a particular gear. All of this information can be provided conveniently through a web-based online portal.
As more of these systems come online, modern fleets have even more tools at their disposal to better manage particular aspects of how their truck drivers get the job done. What’s the technological ceiling on all of these amazing new options? Only time – and the future – will tell.