The ability to adapt to change and evolve with the times is crucial to the survival of not only individual companies, but also entire industries as a whole. Trucking and transportation are no different, and the perception in recent years has been that both industries have been slow to embrace technology and digital transformation.
However, in a time where trucking companies face record-high operating costs, evolving customer demands and increased competition, many fleets have realized that changing with the times is necessary. Doing so helps ensure their operations remain efficient and their business remains viable long-term.
As a result, an increasing number of companies have started to embrace the evolving technology within the trucking and transportation industries. This includes advancements in fleet software. Read on to learn more!
What Are These Trends in Response to?
When evaluating the current fleet software trends taking place, it’s clear that there are a few recurring themes. Primarily, fleets everywhere are looking for ways to optimize their processes with the goal of maximizing efficiency, safety, security and sustainability.
With the aforementioned increase in operating costs, particularly in areas such as diesel fuel and commercial insurance, more and more trucking companies have focused on optimizing their internal processes and streamlining their day-to-day operations. Improvement in these areas gives fleets the capability to increase their profit opportunities and decrease spending. At the same time, however, these trends also show that fleet managers are thinking about the long-term future of their companies.
Amongst shippers and brokers, for one, there are growing demands for increasing visibility and creating a more sustainable supply chain. Additionally, recent spikes in cyber fraud and the ongoing truck driver shortage have put pressure on fleets to increase safety measures for both their people and their assets. The latest fleet software trends show a response to these demands, as trucking companies seek to reduce turnover, protect their reputation and gain a competitive advantage within the market.
Enhancing GPS Capabilities
The technology used in GPS tracking systems has advanced significantly within the past several years. With their real-time tracking capabilities, these systems are becoming more critical as trucking companies look to reduce costs and inefficiencies, while providing better customer service by increasing the safety, visibility and sustainability of their fleets.
For one, these capabilities allow fleets to plan their deliveries down to the minute and maintain consistent communication with all necessary parties. This helps to reduce wait times and allows for better customer service in the event of a delay while transporting goods. Advanced GPS devices can also provide highly valuable data by measuring aspects like driver speed, fuel consumption, idle time, traffic congestion and much more.
Having access to these insights provides increased accountability and control in addition to helping fleets make informed business decisions that improve their processes. Using this data, managers can, among other things, find the most optimal transport routes and reduce their carbon footprint while also tracking the performance of their drivers and trucks.
Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation
You’ve probably been hearing about artificial intelligence for a while now, and there are a lot of misconceptions out there about its use and purposes. Among fleet managers, however, AI is gaining traction for its ability to help them make better business decisions and automate certain tasks.
With fleet software specifically, AI has the capability to use machine learning to analyze large volumes of historical data and real-time data from different sources in order to identify certain trends and behaviors. AI can then sift through this data and offer actionable insights and accurate predictions to further optimize your operations, while also adapting to constraints like capacity, regulations and hours of service.
The goal of AI and automation is to use integrated technology to reduce human error and dependency. Ideally, this will lead to improved driver safety and fleet efficiency as well as reduced delivery times and operational costs. Some examples of what fleet managers can do using AI and machine learning include:
- Optimize routes, schedules, shipping lanes and load combinations
- Adjust routes using real-time weather and traffic data
- Reduce fuel consumption and vehicle wear and tear
- Use predictive maintenance to reduce downtime and extend vehicle lifespan
- Monitor and predict the performance and behaviors of drivers/vehicles
- Identify potential risks and delays to provide more accurate transit times
- Automate basic management and administrative tasks
- Use AI chatbots and virtual assistants to provide instant customer service and support
- And more!
Increased Cybersecurity Measures
The downside to these exciting developments in trucking fleet software is that as technology advances, so do the tactics used by cyber criminals. Between 2017 and 2022, there was a 400 percent increase in cyberattacks within the transportation industry using a variety of tactics such as email spoofing, identity theft, ransomware and more. Going forward, the National Motor Freight Traffic Association anticipates that phishing scams and vishing scams are two of the most common methods that hackers will use to acquire sensitive data from their targets.
Trucking companies need to be especially mindful of these tactics, knowing that any of them could be a target regardless of their size. The consequences of not doing so can severely impact the bottom line for a company. On average, data breaches cost organizations around the world an average of nearly $4.5 million. This figure includes direct costs, such as fines and legal fees, as well as indirect costs, such as reputational damage.
What Can Trucking Companies Do?
Many companies have realized that the best defense is to increase awareness, be proactive and use prevention strategies. Using technology to track the company’s operations, monitor reporting and keep everything organized can help managers spot inconsistencies or issues quickly, allowing them to take action if it becomes necessary. Additionally, the five tips below can be implemented to improve cybersecurity protocols:
- Create and implement cybersecurity training programs to educate employees to properly identify and report potential cyberattacks.
- Develop a thorough incident response plan detailing instructions for employees should a cyberattack occur.
- Install immutable backups, which are files that cannot be altered, deleted or overwritten, as a source of data recovery and test regularly for accuracy.
- Regularly conduct security risk assessments to check for vulnerabilities and update your company’s software, firmware, operating systems and applications.
- Use multi-factor authentication and enable encryption for Wi-Fi-connected networks.
Interested in scheduling a demo, attending a training or have a general question about how fleet software can help your trucking company? Get in touch with the ProTransport team today!