The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted trucking companies—with business continuing to feel the strain. For example, in a recent Heavy Duty Trucking magazine survey1, 78% of respondents reported that they had seen a decrease in business, compared to only 53% in the previous survey; and with just 9% reporting an increase in business compared to 21% a month earlier.
Along with the falling number of revenue-generating jobs, there have also been reports of rates falling, though spot rates in some markets have increased2.
This isn’t to say that trucking as an industry is doomed—but it certainly has been constrained by the ongoing pandemic and the disruption of its many supply chains. And while there are many fleets that are seeing their business rates fall or at least falter, there are those that are seeing an increase in sales. Why? There are likely many reasons: luck, location, simple hard work—but one likely reason is technology.
Those fleets that have leveraged the data and capabilities of their ELD or telematics solutions have given them a technological edge to weather the COVID storm.
Pivoting to Technology
Turning to technology is practical for a number of reasons, including getting better insight into operations and equipment, monitoring driver risk, and filling the gaps caused by the furloughing of back office workers.
While there is no “right” way to use telematics technology to gain a competitive edge, there are numerous examples of innovative ways fleets are using their telematics solutions today, including:
- Spotting inefficiencies related to equipment use.
- Monitoring weather conditions to update ETAs, routing, and improve driver safety.
- Keeping tabs on solo drivers to make sure they are safe in and out of the truck.
- Using video as a means to spot risky behavior and as opportunities to coach drivers3.
Not every trucking fleet has a telematics solution, but that’s not the only piece of technology that can be used to improve efficiency. The fleet’s ELD solution provides a plethora of operational data that can be used to improve operations, including:
- Monitoring wasted driver time.
- Measuring fuel use.
- Leveraging engine data to improve preventive maintenance programs4.
For fleets that have an integrated telematics-ELD solution, the data being pulled from both solutions can be integrated to provide more in-depth information about the operation—improving on-time deliveries, vehicle uptime, and driver safety.
Data integration between telematics and ELD solutions is only the beginning. Integrating fleet management solutions with business solutions—such as accounting, HR, etc.—increase efficiency and the fleet and the company’s ability to pivot quickly as the situation demands.
One of the realities of the COVID pandemic is that, to survive, organizations need to be flexible and nimble in responding to new business variables. Having a fully integrated suite of business solutions allow fleets and their companies to focus on the critical business functions while automating routine or recurring functions—thus leveraging constrained resources.
The result is better efficiency and productivity in the short term and a future-proofed set of business solutions in the long term.
Forming a Technological Partnership
While technology is playing a crucial role in helping fleets meet the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic, the truth is you can’t and shouldn’t go it alone.
You need a partner who will work with you to find the right solutions and the right technological opportunities to keep your fleet moving and productive.
For example, AT&T has a fleet business solution designed to help fleets work smarter and go further. The company’s fleet management solution can be integrated with third party solutions via an open API and a comprehensive software development kit (SDK) that allows the fleet to create the right technological landscape it needs to operate effectively and efficiently.
The result is a connected environment that links the drive to the back office to the work site or customer. This means that fleet and company personnel have a deeper understanding of the entire operation at every level, allowing them to improve efficiency, spot opportunities for improvement, and increase the bottom line.
Finally, AT&T’s fleet management solution offers a cutting-edge Internet of Things (IoT) capability that will help you to reinvent and reimagine the operation—allowing the fleet to remain on the technological curve as technology transforms and responds to the next challenge.
To learn more about how AT&T can help your fleet leverage technology to stay competitive during the COVID pandemic, visit https://www.business.att.com/industries/transportation.html
1. “Survey Offers Snapshot of Fleet Effects of COVID-19.” Lockridge, Deborah. Truckinginfo.com. June 4, 2020. www.truckinginfo.com/359804/survey-offers-snapshot-of-fleet-effects-of-covid-19?utm_source=website&utm_medium=contentoffers&utm_campaign=072720. Accessed July 28, 2020.
2. “Trucking Through the Pandemic.” Lockridge, Deborah. Truckinginfo.com. May 27, 2020. www.truckinginfo.com/359121/trucking-through-the-pandemic Accessed July 28, 2020
3.“9 Innovative Uses for Telematics.” Fletcher, Lauren. Truckinginfo.com. June 4, 2020. www.truckinginfo.com/359475/9-innovative-uses-for-telematics. Accessed July 28, 2020.
4.“How Data From ELDs Can Improve Your Bottom Line.” Beach, Jim. Truckinginfo.com. September 5, 2019. www.truckinginfo.com/339860/how-data-from-elds-can-improve-your-bottom-line. Accessed July 28, 2020.