Over the past decade, trucking and fleet management operations have become two of the most important factors in driving trade relations and business operations for both the private and public sectors. While large goods and cargo are transported by flights, trains and ships, the majority of all goods and cargo is still transported on road by trucks. For instance, in 2019, the trucking industry generated over $790 billion in revenue, and transported over 70% of all goods in the US (Source: ATA American Trucking Trends 2020).
In short, trucks are a big deal for both the businesses themselves and the global economy.
But transporting goods to locations spread across different geographies brings its own set of unique challenges. Historically, trucking operations have faced problems when it comes to gaining complete visibility into all the stages of its delivery trips. Today, trucking companies have the ability to tackle a lot of these traditional challenges by integrating better tools and technologies into their operations, resulting in better planning, reliable tracking, faster dispatch, improved safety and security measures, etc.
Here are 7 such technologies that are important for any trucking company to have:
1. Distance Matrix (ETA calculation)
Efficient planning of routes for long-distance trucking has always been a key priority. But keeping up with location changes and factoring in multiple variables like traffic, weather, road closures and road restrictions, is tricky for delivery and logistics teams. This is where innovative technologies like scalable distance matrix APIs can help operators plan their trips more effectively, while factoring in all of the above mentioned variables.
Distance matrix APIs help calculate the optimal distances and ETAs between multiple origin and delivery points. Most distance matrix services offer up to a 25*25 grid size, which means that they can calculate the distances and ETAs for optimal routes connecting 25 origins and 25 destinations in a single API call.
Such a small grid size can prove to be limiting for companies looking to scale up and factor more locations into their route plans. This is why enterprise-focused map solution providers, like NextBillion.ai, have begun offering large distance matrix APIs, capable of supporting up to 5000*5000 grid sizes for enhanced route optimization capabilities.
Explore more on NextBillion Distance Matrix API for Long haul trucking – HERE
2. Delivery and Booking Management (Dispatch Management & Transportation Management System)
Dispatch management and transportation management systems are essential tools for any dispatch team to manage delivery and booking operations.
Key features include scheduling/dispatching, time tracking, communication, task management and the ability to scale.
Delivery and Booking Management tools offers the following benefits for truck operators:
- Efficient job scheduling and task management,
- Improved security and safety for drivers and operators,
- Improved regulatory compliance,
- Easy and intuitive user experience
- GPS-powered real-time collaboration between teams.
3. Directions & Routing
For truck operators, any delay on the road can quickly become quite costly. As with any other company that relies on location-based technologies and services, trucking companies are always on the lookout for solutions that offer accurate navigation and optimized routes.
Most mapping platforms offer directions for walking and driving a car from point A to point B. However, trucking companies need directions that must include highways and other roads that permit the traversal of trucks. Such customized directions and routing capabilities are available on mapping platforms that support routing for different profiles of vehicles.
Another key feature that’s gaining prominence is dynamic routing. Mapping platforms that support dynamic routing incorporate additional information, like real-time traffic updates, weather alerts, road diversions, etc. in the navigation experience.
GPL vehicle tracking systems instrumental in planning and executing logistics functions. Some of the advantages include the ability to measure average speed coma to pick and choose the right kind of driver for certain rules, pinpoint the exact location of where the driver is and track ok any issues faced by the driver.
Asset Fleet Management System is a web based application with fully automated end to end solution that provides comprehensive, time centric, flexible and scalable solution for Asset tracking. With a fully automated system in place, it would provide online information about Asset location.
4. Asset/Vehicle Tracking
To keep track of any company-owned asset or vehicle, trucking companies use some form of fleet asset management service. Today, most fleet asset management systems are offered as automated, web-based applications that alert operators about any issues or route diversions.
Some of the key features of asset tracking systems include:
- The ability to measure average speed
- To choose the right type of driver who would be best suited for certain routes
- To pinpoint the exact location of where the driver is
- To track any issue or complaint raised by the driver
5. Video Telematics – Vehicle Tracking, Dash Cam, Crash Notifications
Long hours on the road can lead to traffic incidents or even major crashes. With the introduction of truck dash cams, trucking companies were able to use video cam recordings to investigate incidents related to accidents, driver safety, compliance and insurance claims. But today, truck drivers need better technology to help them avoid accidents and improve their driving experience, and video telematics is an important technological innovation that’s helped improve driver safety and critical incident management.
Video telematics combines video data, traditional telematics on vehicle information and computer vision to offer insights that either video or traditional telematics on their own cannot generate.
One of the major benefits of installing video telematics is that the fleet operator gets a clear view of any incident, accidents or crashes.
Key features for truck operators include:
- Live video streams
- Multiple camera views
- Provide truck operators the ability to properly assess incidents, and plan better for future trips.
6. ELD compliance
As per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), all commercial vehicles are mandated to install an ELD (Electronic Logging Device). Non-compliance can lead to penalties ranging anywhere from $1000 to $10,000.
An ELD is an electronic piece of hardware that’s attached to a commercial motor vehicle engine in order to record driving hours. ELDs monitor a vehicle’s engine and collect data on whether or not the engine is running.
ELD solutions help truck operators with compliance requirements, vehicle inspections, planning and overall fleet management.
7. Automated Video Analytics
Automated video analytics has seen a wide spectrum of applications across industries like transportation, healthcare, retail and public security. For trucking companies, automated video analytics can be used to improve driver and vehicle safety, and help avoid accidents and crashes.
Also known as intelligent video analytics, this technology automatically detects spatial and temporal changes in videos. Trucking companies have now begun implementing automated video analytics to detect any sudden changes on the road, like a vehicle shifting lanes unexpectedly, any vehicle moving towards a collision course, dangerous events like the occurrence of flames, and more.
Trucks and trucking operations have become a lifeline for both businesses and economies around the globe. But the transportation of goods across vast geographies needs to be empowered with technologies that facilitate better navigation, faster and reliable routes, better compliance, improve driver safety, and streamlined dispatch operations.
With innovative technologies like large distance matrix APIs and route optimization, trucking companies have access to tools that improve all aspects of their operations — right from better task management and job scheduling, to on-road driving enhancements like automated collision avoidance.
NextBillion.ai’s enterprise-focused mapping services and solutions offer a multitude of options that enable better and safer trucking operations, with relevant features like custom vehicle profile routing.