Welcome to Part II of our series. We hope you enjoyed are look into some important 2016 trends in Part I of our series, where we looked at regulations, employment and economic factors. Today we will take a deeper look into three more trends for 2016. Let’s face it, it’s going to be a busy year, and we need to be prepared.
First, we will take a look at one of the most important factors in trucking: Safety. Whether you are shipper, carrier, or government regulator, you’ve got safety on the mind. Here are some safety trends to watch out for in 2016.
Maintaining safe equipment and ensuring your truck drivers are safe isn’t just good for business, it’s the right thing to do. Ensuring you run a safe operation is about more than Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores. It should run in the DNA of all that you do.
Still, while many industry insiders point to the CSA program as an unnecessary burden – pointing to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) recent decision to remove the scores from public view – still, they remain.
While the hand-wringing over safety remains, manufacturers and fleets are pressing ahead with new measures designed to enhance safety. With a federal mandate to ensure electronic stability control (ESC) systems are standard on all Class 7 and 8 trucks by 2017, industry suppliers and fleets are already moving in such a direction.
One little-talked about aspect of the evolution in trucking is how high-tech diagnostics services and other forms of “telematics” are being expanded across fleets to ensure as little downtime as possible. Because of this renewed focus on new diagnostic solutions, truck makers are likely to increase competition in providing the most comprehensive range of parts and repair services as we continue through 2016.
Still, the question remains: How will proprietary OEM technology affect the role of independent service providers? That answer should see some clarity with a new agreement set up between the Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN) and the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (TEMA). The agreement essentially allows independent service providers the ability to access service information for tractors sold in North America from 2010 models on up.
As a result of this new agreement, fleets will gain expanded availability of places where they can go to get their equipment repaired. What this agreement does not do is compel manufacturers to share information for free or allow unrestricted service information related to security, vehicle emission, or safety compliance tech requirements.
Final Tech Considerations
We spent a big part of 2015 talking about the big wave of technological advancement washing over the trucking industry, from an impending onslaught of connected fleets to the potential for smart highways and semi-autonomous rigs.
Other considerations include the increasing use of big data, IT integration and other supply chain visibility factors. Whether a fleet is dealing with driver behavior or maintenance requests, fleets can measure the huge amounts of data at their disposal to make real decisions when it comes to operational efficiency and safety.
One of the most critical components of this technological revolution remains the integration of everything from GPS tracking to back-office accounting. As fleets move away from paper records and metal filing cabinets, how will all of these disparate sources of data be integrated and acted upon?
Think the age of technology is constrained to computers and software? Think again. On the equipment side of things, expect more fully automatic transmission applications and even more fuel efficient engine specs. In fact, with two new highly engineered motor oil specs already being put into play and advances in aerodynamics and light, high-strength materials on the horizon, 2016 looks to be a big year for trucking and technology.