The discussion around Fleet Automation techniques in the industry has steadily been heating up since the beginning of the pandemic. Since most companies were forced to adapt to a model of business where employees work from home, much attention has went into better systems to manage back office processes as well as driver efficiency standards. In this article, we will cover some of the most popular processes companies are using to increase profits, reduce accidents, and remain off the radar of the DOT and FMCSA.
The State of Logistics Technology
Until recently, technology in the industry has been slow to keep up with the changing demands of motor carriers. But since the pandemic, new technologies have become available that offer huge upside potential for those who use them.
#1 – Fleet Management Softwares
Fleet Management Software is typically something companies will implement when they want to have a clearer view of their assets in the field. Where they’re at, who’s driving them, operating compliance, etc.
These tools aim to automate back-office operations, as well as the coordination between various roles in a company. This is accomplished by storing files in a digital format and enabling third parties, like DOT-Ready for example, to manage tedious operational aspects like previous employer checks, drug screenings, and driver processing for motor carriers.
Primarily, companies that integrate a fleet management software will see benefits like:
- More clarity into asset utilization efficiency
- Assurance that their compliance duties are fulfilled
- Digitized hiring/recruiting processes
- Digital back office file keeping
- Automated reminders about expirations
When it comes to FMCSA compliance, software is a massive improvement from classic file keeping methods.
Software minimizes the need to have onsite employees in the office every day. This opens up the door to having remote employees to assist with tedious processes that bog down employee job satisfaction and processing bottlenecks.
Hypothetically, a company using a fleet management software could eliminate the need for in-house administrative employees entirely at a LOWER COST than their original setup.
#2 – Autonomous Vehicle Adoption
Since the 1920’s, experiments have been conducted on self-driving cars. With promises of safer roads, more comfort behind the wheel, and many times more driving potential, one would wonder why they aren’t around yet.
The first autonomous vehicle tested
In 1925, Houdina Radio Control demonstrated the radio-controlled “American Wonder” on New York City streets, traveling up Broadway and down Fifth Avenue through the thick of a traffic jam. The car was equipped with a transmitting antenna that was operated by a person in another car that followed it and sent out radio impulses which were caught by the transmitting antenna (Source Wikipedia).
What’s the hold up then?
Political resistance as well as safety concerns have long been the main reason AVs aren’t the primary mode of transportation. But in recent years, technology has come a long way. Quantum computers, super-computers, decentralized data warehouses, and more network availability through companies like StarLink have all made it easier for companies to train neural networks and build safer models with real time data.
Today, real time updates can be passed to the rest of the network of vehicles on the road. Communication between vehicles on the road has also improved lately due to the advances in millimeter wave technology like 5g. We are now seeing higher capacity and higher throughputs than ever. With no sign of slowing down.
Amongst the benefits, some manufacturers are projecting:
- Increases in operational utilization of assets by 125%+
- Margin growth of 15%+
- ~45% lower operating costs across the board
- Industry savings in the $100s of billions annually
One example, Locomation, a human guided autonomous technology provider describes their solution like this: “The Locomation solution today is based on Autonomous Relay Convoys™ consisting of two trucks and two drivers. The human driver of the lead truck acts as the superior cognitive filter ahead of the follower truck’s autonomy system. With the Locomation solution, a carrier can safely operate two trucks 20-22 hours a day, delivering 2x the cargo, 2x faster, 2x farther.”
#3 – Automated Driver Recruiting and Hiring
Anyone who has went through the process of recruiting and hiring drivers knows that the process is anything but efficient.
The hiring pipeline innately has a high level of friction. Recruiting and hiring drivers effectively and compliantly is a huge challenge. Even for the best companies.
That’s why we recommend integrating with DOT-Ready to streamline the processing of drivers and ensuring they are in compliance with Federal Regulations before allowing them to get into a truck.
Companies who fail to do this process properly face huge liabilities in the event of an audit. The risk of improperly hired drivers becomes ten-fold in the event of a fatal accident.
Outsourcing your driver hiring program can be more cost-efficient, and allows you to hire a full team of experts without having to add to your payroll costs. We are certain that you will save time and money by letting us manage your files, data entry, renewal tracking, ELD monitoring, and much more.