How Technology is Impacting Logistics and the Role of the Driver
Technology is important for creating the best logistics solutions.
From supply chain management efficiencies to driver safety and satisfaction, technology is being utilized to meet growing demands in the most cost effective way possible.
Drivers are a critical part of the supply chain. Making sure drivers are safe, providing them assistance with staying compliant with (seemingly) endless regulatory requirements and enhancing lif on the road are important to drivers. The use of technology increases efficiency, streamlines processes and increases productivity, allowing drivers to do what they do best – move products from point A to point B.
What are some of the technologies that increase logistics efficiencies and create a positive experience for drivers?
ELD Technology Impacts Logistics and Drivers
The single biggest technological impact on both logistics providers and drivers is the federal government’s mandate of the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) in all trucks on the nation’s highways.
In the past, drivers would manage all of their hours of service, loads carried and miles traveled on paper, taking time to manage and record their day’s work. Drivers were held to safety standards, such as a certain number of hours that could be worked during the day, and manufacturer and shippers expected drivers to pick-up and deliver loads; working under the assumption that drivers were accurately tracking their hours legally.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case. Drivers were manipulating written hours to gain additional paid time. Shippers and manufacturers were expecting drivers to complete deliveries no matter what type of schedule the driver was on. Driver fatigue-related crashed were impacting safety on the road.
As it became available, progressive logistics companies started using electronic logging technology to track driver number of legal hours and the amount of deliveries that were completed daily. Now, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ruled that by December of 2017, all trucks need to have an ELD installed in their trucks to accurately track a driver’s hours of service.
This technology has already proven to make safer and more efficient drivers. Drivers and logistics companies that have invested in this technology have seen the following benefits:
- Drivers spend less time completing paperwork associated with hours worked and miles traveled; according to the FMCSA drivers can save $705/year in paperwork
- Data is collected and easily transmitted for logistics company records or to comply with law enforcement
- Total crash rates are significantly reduced. According to data from the Center for Truck and Bus Safety of Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, drivers using ELDs had a lower total crash rate (a 11.7% reduction) and a significantly lower preventable crash rate (a 5.1% reduction) than trucks not equipped with electronic driver logs
- Complying with the ELD mandate also satisfies other regulations including Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)
Many in the transportation industry including logistics companies, drivers, shippers and manufacturers, are still learning about the implementation requirement of ELDs and the subsequent impact they will have on the industry once the mandate goes into effect. Yet initial results show the positive effects that this significant piece of technology has already had.
Mobile Technology Creates Positive Driver Experience
There continues to be a need for drivers. More and more of the most experienced and professional drivers are retiring, and there is simply not enough supply of new drivers to meet the demands of business.
Dupré has strategically assigned drivers local routes that allow their employees to be home every night, however this can’t always be the case. Mobile technology available through smartphones and tablets makes the time away from home easier to manage. Although the use of smartphones while driving on the road is not encouraged, Facetime, Skype and other communication apps allow drivers to see their families on a regular basis whether it be during a break or when settling in for the night. Streaming video and on demand services give a variety of entertainment options for drivers that contribute to a better overall quality of life than was previously available..
Progressive logistics companies create a culture where drivers’ needs are being met through the availability of technology, taking into consideration the long hours spent on the road.
Logistics Technology Makes Better Drivers
Technology impacts logistics and the role of drivers by facilitating overall process improvement through increased efficiency and productivity for drivers, while keeping them safely moving on the road.
One additional piece of logistics technology that has proved to reduce driver accidents and increase overall logistics efficiency is GreenRoad. This technology uses the latest information, tools and real-time feedback to detect and warn drivers of risky maneuvers; make drivers aware of fuel wasting habits; and detects harsh driving that can negatively affect equipment. The use of this technology creates added safety awareness for drivers, reduces driver accident rates and creates better fuel efficiency. This directly affects the bottom line, saving money for both the logistics company and customers.
Technology will continue to impact the trucking industry to improve logistics management, driver satisfaction and safety and in turn, facilitate overall process improvement and efficiency for businesses. As you consider your next logistics partner, confirm that they are utilizing these technology resources to best serve customer and driver needs.