As the world continues to adjust to life during the COVID-19 pandemic, the transportation industry is feeling the unique effects of this situation – particularly as it relates to its fleets, equipment, and drivers. While regulatory agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have issued exemptions to help address COVID-19’s impact, transportation companies are still facing challenges in keeping the supply chain moving.
During this pandemic, it is likely that all of us have had to leverage technology to stay productive, both personally and professionally. From virtual meetings with coworkers to streaming our favorite shows and movies at home, we have all relied on technology to help get us through this unique time. The transportation industry is no different.
While the concept of technologies like telematics is nothing new, fleets are increasingly reliant on both in-cab and back-office solutions to improve efficiencies throughout their business. In this unprecedented time, the benefits of a few of these platforms have come into focus. Some of these include:
1. Supply Chain Collaboration Platforms
We’ve all seen the shortage of items like paper towels and toilet paper in stores across the country. The demand for these products represents the larger challenge of keeping the flow of goods and services moving throughout the supply chain, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some products are being sold at unprecedented rates, while others aren’t being purchased at all, which makes demand forecasting a less accurate way to properly manage inventory. Compounding these challenges is how COVID-19 is disrupting freight capacity and rates.
To help address these impacts, both carriers and shippers are turning to cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) solutions to increase collaboration and more effectively match freight with available capacity. By leveraging a cloud-based TMS platform, carriers can realize improved asset utilization, and shippers can gain access to expanded capacity and reduced costs.
In response to the COVID-19 situation, Trimble’s Kuebix is offering 60 days free of its Kuebix Business Pro TMS, designed to help enable improved collaboration and a more efficient supply chain – in a time when these things are needed the most.
2. Video Intelligence
COVID-19 has also made getting the perspective of a fleet’s drivers more challenging than ever. With social distancing measures firmly in place, the solitary job of driving a truck can feel even more isolated.
Technology can play a role in changing this, with Trimble Video Intelligence™ being a prime example of a platform that can connect you with your drivers wherever the road takes them. Employing Video Intelligence gives you a neutral eyewitness into what your drivers face on the job, providing you with up to a 360-degree view around the truck.
With up to 75 percent of car-truck accidents being the fault of the car’s driver, this perspective is important for potentially protecting you and your driver in the event of an incident. In an increasingly litigious world, having indisputable video evidence will protect not only your fleet’s reputation but also your bottom line.
Sometimes, it’s about the accidents that don’t happen. Video Intelligence can also serve as a platform to help you identify driving behaviors in need of coaching, allowing you to focus your attention on the drivers that need it most and improve behaviors to potentially prevent an accident from happening in the future.
3. In-Cab Navigation
Given the new and ongoing strains on the supply chain, getting freight where it needs to be, when it needs to be there is paramount. In order to optimize routes, fleets are turning to in-cab navigation platforms like CoPilot® Truck by Trimble MAPS to improve the safety and efficiency of its drivers and vehicles.
Designed specifically for the commercial trucking industry, CoPilot Truck provides turn-by-turn directions and automatically calculates routes based on truck-specific map data. The platform also features customizable vehicle profiles to avoid routes with low bridges or prohibited areas that could hamper the safety and compliance of your drivers and equipment.
4. Rest Stop Availability Maps
In addition to the direct impact on their day-to-day jobs, truck drivers are finding that COVID-19 is also affecting the time they spend off the clock. Social distancing and local shelter in place ordinances have made the task of finding a place to eat, refuel, and clean up even harder than usual.
To help drivers navigate these challenges, Trimble MAPS recently launched its Safe Havens app, a free web-based portal that displays the coordinates of essential break locations. By using the app, drivers can identify locations near them, getting details on available amenities, truck parking spaces, and more.
The Safe Havens app also gives users the option to layer in traffic, weather, and COVID-19 cases in a given geographic area – providing further context to help drivers stay safe and efficient on the road.
How to Implement Transportation Solutions for Your Fleet and Drivers
These are just a few examples of how transportation technology has evolved and can make a measurable difference in how your business operates.
Curious about how Trimble can help you implement solutions that drive increases in safety, efficiency, and connectivity? Contact us today to discover how our customizable platform is helping fleets just like yours – both during the COVID-19 pandemic and in more “normal” circumstances.