Increased use of technology, such as TMS, is overcoming challenges in the trucking industry.
Today’s trucking industry faces challenges unique to a post-Covid world. Fortunately, technology is leading the way in supporting growth and productivity in trucking, while maintaining safe practices for consumers, clients and drivers.
According to the ATRI, supply chain issues, exacerbated by driver shortage and driver retention issues have been identified as top challenges for the industry. The latest data shows that other major concerns include Compliance Safety and Accountability (CSA), congestion and delay at customer facilities, truck parking and driver fatigue.
The trucking industry is looking for technological solutions to modern trucking problems.
Telematics is comprised of communication technology which monitors trucks, equipment and other assets. This allows live data streaming of location and vehicle information. By automating locations, tracking equipment and shipments, while taking into account speed, traffic, weather and other data, accurate predictions can be made about arrival times.
Digitized tools are now available to track transportation fleets at entry and departure points, speeding up the checking in and out process, and making for a faster turnaround times.
Within warehouses, increased automation is increasing efficiency. Automated inventory progress is much faster and more reliably accurate than manual processes. And automated inventories offer transparency to increase pick up and drop off efficiency.
Using available technology, such as a Transportation Management System or TMS, drivers can access real time information to help decrease congestion and minimize waiting times. Tech based scheduling and TMS solutions can offer an accurate overall picture of how arrival times, dock door schedules and resources are operating.
While easing demands on drivers this also serves to increase driver productivity and ensure faster loading and unloading times.
Supply chain delays can lead to an increase in refusals. Automation simplifies the decision making and refusal processes for drivers and other stakeholders.
Using intelligent interfaces to make choices and arrangements for refused goods in advance increases transaction speeds and decreases driver stress.
Delays frequently lead to product being stored for longer periods of time than was standard during pre-pandemic conditions. Manual checking procedures can further increase delays, with drivers required to stop and check freight conditions. There are also times when manual checking can prove inadequate when dealing with perishables.
Technology now provides efficient and accurate digital record keeping. And ensuring sanitary regulation compliance is far simpler with alerts for temperature, location and deteriorating products.
The trucking industry is experiencing a historic driver shortage problem. Clearly, driver shortage plays a part in supply chain delays. Although self-driving trucks are on the horizon, and many look forward to them easing the current expectations placed on drivers, these trucks are not yet widely available.
So how can technology assist with this problem? By incorporating supply chain technologies, such as TMS, the trucking industry can increase driver efficiency and decrease delays, making the truck driver’s job less stressful and supporting better driver retention.
One reason for driver shortage is that the workforce is aging. The average driver age is now 55. Millennials are already comfortable working with new technologies. By making technological advances clear and making them available to Millennials, the trucking industry can help fill the driver gap.
Driver retention is an important factor in maintaining supply chains, and lowering driver stress helps retain skilled drivers. One way to lower stress is to lessen driver obligations. Maintaining logs, following CSA regulations, trailer inspections, mechanical issue reports and much more can be efficiently digitized and automated.
Mobile technology can assist fleets and drivers with navigation, efficiently and accurately optimize routes, prepare for delays, monitor weather and much more. Streamlining communication makes for timely repairs, using software which can detect truck failures and alert the driver immediately.
Driver fatigue affects reaction time and decision making. Wearable technology is now available in the form of headbands, caps, vests, wristbands and eyewear which can track whether drivers are becoming drowsy and communicate potential dangers to them and to the fleet.
One major concern for drivers is accessing safe, convenient parking. As parking capacity is often unable to keep pace with parking demand, this can be a real challenge for drivers. Truck Parking Information Management Systems offer real time information to drivers.
Keeping accurate records to adhere to CSA regulations, forms and processes is vital, yet undeniably time consuming and tedious. Automatic and digital forms and processes including driver logs and inspections can streamline compliance adherence. This improves CSA scores and takes some of the pressure off drivers by making recording data simple, and keeping on top of any changes in standards or regulations.
Technology can assist fleets and drivers to avoid legal and safety issues by monitoring and streamlining CSA requirements.
The road ahead for the trucking industry is being mapped with new technology.
Progress in technology can already offer:
· Safer, less stressful driver experiences
· Faster turnarounds
· More accurate predictions
· More efficient inventory and warehouse procedures
· Support for driver fatigue
· Maximised compliance regulation
The trucking industry will continue to find ways to meet demands and stay productive through the clever application of technological advances.
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