How to Modernize Fleet Management with Mobile Technology version 2
For logistics companies, complying with the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is an obligation that leads to invaluable opportunities. By...
How to Modernize Fleet Management
with Mobile Technology
Go Beyond the ELD Mandate
Take Advantage of the Technology
Complying with the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is an obligation that brings invaluable opportunities for logistics companies. When you connect the cab to the back office and customers, fleets can enhance their performance and gain a substantial competitive advantage.
Many fleet operators bought basic technology to comply with the original mandate and didn't get a lot for their money. Those now in the process of refreshing or upgrading are seeing the true high potential of ELDs.
It's not just mining all the data ELDs produce and combining it with routing and scheduling applications to improve fleet operations. ELDs can be powerful, versatile mobile devices. These ruggedized smartphones and tablets connect drivers, managers, customers, and onboard systems with end-to-end applications that improve communications, reduce data entry, and add efficiency to all kinds of business processes.
By using certified, widely available mobile devices, fleets can offer drivers an easy-to-use platform that supports a wide range of functionality and will handle ongoing technological developments. Devices like smartphones and tablets not only improve safety and efficiency, they enhance the driver experience and improve job satisfaction.
Leveraging the power of mobile devices gives fleet managers the tools to tackle complex operations with variables in many areas, such as management, point of delivery, and maintenance and repair. The competitive advantage goes to fleets that leverage the powerful endpoint technology to drive improvements across all processes.
This white paper will review the opportunities in ELD systems and the mobile devices available for fleets ready to move beyond mere compliance to embracing the benefits that technology can deliver.
Fleet Managers Are Empowered Like Never Before
Mobile Devices, the Smart Hub for the Smart Truck
With drivers, trucks and trailers linked by sensors collecting and transmitting data, mobile devices are the smart hub for the smart truck that can give transportation businesses greater control across the board.
Automated trucking ﬂeet solutions are available on a number of commercial mobile devices, with minimal installations required. Some software can be deployed right out of the box, while others are designed for extensive customization for different applications and user roles.
While free navigation software can provide basic routing features, it lacks the deeper capabilities of purpose-built software. Such solutions typically provide essential safe driving information — such as maximum heights for bridges and road restrictions regarding hazardous loads. An out-of-the-box offering can help smaller ﬁrms and owner/operators create an effective IT infrastructure with minimal effort.
By tapping the power of telematics, trucking companies will be able to take advantage of data analytics from mobile devices within the vehicle as a competitive differentiator.
Fleet and Route Optimization
Information to manage the ﬂeet better — down to the individual driver and truck level — is at everyone’s ﬁngertips. Managers can make decisions based on the availability of assets that include a driver’s working hours as well as truck and load locations.
Digital precision produces operational beneﬁts that may not have been considered before. Using ﬂeet telematics, dispatchers can be more disciplined. Both the driver and dispatcher have access to the same information about the driver’s HOS, and they can both see if it makes sense to accept a load. Drivers can avoid getting routed to a load but running out of time on the way, for instance, or running out of time before a delivery is made.
ELD systems that interact with dispatching systems can also populate load data such as shipper numbers and bill-of-lading (BOL) information to save drivers' time.
In addition to a full set of ﬂeet management and telematics solutions, ﬂeets can deploy sensors that track truck movements, inventories, temperatures and performance — all in real time — and which are integrated with cloud capabilities and an Internet of Things (IoT) management platform.
These solutions are designed to provide real-time information to the driver as well as the ﬂeet owner. For example, sensors in trailers can help alert both the driver and the ﬂeet owner to temperature changes, avoiding damage to perishable items.
Private truck ﬂeets, including merchandising trucks for food and beverage manufacturers, construction vehicles, municipal service vehicles and retail fulﬁllment, can also beneﬁt from connectivity. Fleet telematics and IoT connectivity can boost asset utilization and customer satisfaction through improved service, as ﬂeet management and other workﬂows converge and interact in a single device.
Load Matching and Customer Communications
With mobile devices, drivers can connect with load matching services such as the Omnitracs Sylectus Alliance Network to claim loads to improve utilization rates dramatically. The load matching services pair available space with available loads. Truckers who use load matching apps report they increased from four loaded trips a week to ﬁve, boosting earnings and receiving payments more quickly.
With hours of service and location data readily available, drivers can communicate with dispatchers better and reduce time spent on the phone. If a customer calls about a load, the dispatcher can access the truck's location via the online portal without having to call the driver, and then inform the customer of the driver's location and status for on-time delivery.
“Truckers who use load matching apps report they increased from four loaded trips a week to ﬁve, boosting earnings and receiving payments more quickly.”
Driver Retention and Recruitment
Driver retention and recruitment continues to be a problem for the industry. In fact, the American Trucking Association projects a shortfall of 175,000 drivers by 2024, and this is driving a bidding war between ﬂeets to hire and retain good drivers. Mobile devices can help ﬂeets attract and retain employees with engaging, efﬁcient tools that are widely used in both business and personal lives.
The devices can also help businesses manage drivers and other staff more effectively, because they can be loaded with apps for managing schedules, time off and payroll and tax issues.
Because there's such high demand for their services, truck drivers can be particular about where they work. They're looking at quality of life issues and building long-term relationships with their companies. Communication, training and personal wellness are some of the factors that drivers weigh when deciding where they'll continue to work.
In a recent survey, communications with dispatchers and driver recruiters were cited as the top factors in whether a driver would continue working with a company past the ﬁrst three months. The survey from Stay Metrics, a provider of evidence-based driver feedback, found that 70 percent of driver turnover happens within the ﬁrst year of employment, and 35 percent occurs within the ﬁrst three months. The top three factors for early driver turnover were work conditions (such as pay, quality of equipment and facilities), company and management (for example, communication and respect shown to drivers), and lifestyle (for instance, their number of nights at home).
One of the best ways to reduce early stage turnover, the survey found, is through high-quality recruiter/dispatcher communication. Connecting drivers with mobile devices creates a higher level of engagement across a breadth of activities, from recording daily hours of service, to dispatching and problem-solving, to training and off-duty activities such as exercise.
Increasing Job Satisfaction
With telematics, ﬂeets can address one of the top problems that drivers face: wasted time.
Before the ELD, logbooks were kept in increments of 15 minutes, but now status changes are recorded by the minute, which allows drivers to recapture several minutes of productive time each day.
In addition to basic hours of service compliance, a robust ELD solution can perform many other functions, including Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) administration, as well as driver and vehicle performance monitoring.
For DVIR and IFTA, a mobile device can automate what had been paper processes to streamline data entry and reduce the risk of non-compliance. Electronic versions stored in the cloud also guarantee that paper records won't be lost.
Improving Performance and Safety
Sensors on trucks can measure vehicle operations and driver behaviors in real time. On an individual and aggregate basis, managers are able to monitor how drivers operate their vehicles: Are they harder than average on brakes? Do they waste diesel accelerating too quickly? Based on ﬂeet data, the management system can recommend best practices for routing and driving habits. Using the telematics data, drivers can participate in company-sponsored contests to incentivize driving efﬁciencies, perhaps including reward systems for drivers who exceed their goals.
Better information about driver performance can help create a culture of safety. Bad habits such as hard braking and speeding can become safety and compliance issues for the entire ﬂeet. When driving is monitored, drivers are more likely to perform according to company and regulatory standards, leading to fewer accidents and law enforcement encounters and lower insurance costs.
Enhancing the Driver Experience
As ﬂeets deploy mobile devices to meet the ELD, there's also signiﬁcant potential to use these same devices to improve the driver experience on the road and during breaks. By equipping your ﬂeet with a tablet-based ELD, you’re providing a popular employee perk and a powerful work tool for use when not on the road.
Drivers have grown comfortable using smartphones and tablets for communicating with family and friends, personal banking, games, entertainment and many other daily activities. They’re accustomed to using touch screens with minimal typing, and ﬂeets can improve their satisfaction and task performance by installing the same type of technology in the cab.
Retention has always been a challenging aspect of ﬂeet management, but an effective device policy that provides some connectivity to drivers can help mitigate turnover.
Drivers can use the devices off-duty for movies, games and communicating with family and friends. A trucking ﬂeet may also be able to attract younger digital natives to the driver corps with the promise of a mobile device for personal use.
It also, however, brings with it a considerable security challenge for companies with ultra-mobile employees, like those with managing trucking ﬂeets in the transportation sector. IT staffs need to ensure a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and containerization of data is established on each device as constant travel opens vulnerabilities such as lost or stolen devices or unsecured Wi-Fi connections.
Given the non-conventional schedules followed in the transportation industry, a security protocol that works to protect business data needs to be an “always on” solution, but still offer enough ﬂexibility for the user to engage with personal applications during non-work hours.
With Knox Platform for Enterprise, business applications and data can reside in an encrypted secure container while still working in tandem with MDM solutions. Additionally, Knox Platform for Enterprise supports enterprise-level VPNs, so IT administrators know data being transmitted from the ﬁeld back to the corporate team is traveling through a secure pathway, while also providing a separation from personal applications if the user accidentally taps into an insecure connection.
While businesses are concerned about the safety of their critical information, the transportation industry brings with it a need for physical safety as well. While company policies and public safety laws prohibit drivers from using handheld devices while operating vehicles, not everyone abides by the rules. With Knox partitioning business and personal data in a scheduled format — creating the inability to access non-work-related information during scheduled business times — the risk of a user engaging with a smartphone or tablet while driving is minimized as a result. The same would go for a user tapping into Wi-Fi locations during work hours; the device can be conﬁgured to only allow personal usage when the secured business container is fully closed and “off the clock.”
Mobile devices allow drivers to participate in training exercises wherever and whenever they choose. A driver might review a safety video while resting in the sleeper or get a refresh on the right way to inspect a bumper while standing right beside it.
At least one large carrier ﬂeet has added training videos for inspections and other procedures that drivers can access anytime, as videos are more likely to be consulted than a thick instructional manual. A large ﬂeet may train several hundred new drivers per week, so having everyone follow the same procedure for connecting the truck and trailer makes sense.
Additionally, mobile devices have a familiar user experience, so there's a minimal learning curve when it comes to operating them.
Improving Driver Wellness
Wearables can also play a role in driver health and performance, with the ability to monitor driver sleep habits, improve safety and provide tools for workouts. Skimble, for example, has created Active Trucker workouts for its Workout Trainer App, available for phones and tablets. Paired with a Samsung Gear S3 or Gear Fit wearable, the workouts sync with the phone or tablet. The display on the Samsung wearable shows useful prompts at a glance during workouts, like the current exercise name, timing and repetition cues, as well as handy exercise tips.
The exercises are designed to reﬂect the daily reality of life on the road to help promote truck driver wellness, and the videos feature demonstrations by a driver at a trucking facility or a truck stop. According to Skimble, one group of drivers lost an average of 8 pounds using the workouts.
"Connecting drivers with mobile devices creates a higher level of engagement across a breadth of activities, from recording daily hours of service, to dispatching and problem-solving, to training and off-duty activities.”
Secure Your Data
Mobile Device Security and Enterprise Mobility Management
Any ﬂeet that deploys mobile devices must account for device security in order to protect company and customer data. It’s important to choose tablets or smartphones that are protected from the chip up. Samsung mobile devices, for example, ship with built-in Knox security, which delivers defense-grade, multilayered protection. The platform ensures application and device security in an enterprise-ready system that defends against malicious attacks targeting the device, software and data moving between the device and the internet.
Samsung Knox protection is available for small and large enterprises. Knox Platform for Enterprise enables containerized workspaces that create separate work and personal user identities on the same device. With that sandbox capability, a ﬂeet can create a corporate space for all approved applications, while a personal space allows the driver to access their entertainment and communication apps without intermingling data.
Knox Platform for Enterprise creates a secure path to connect to the corporate network environment from their personal or corporate-owned devices. For personal use, drivers may be responsible for their own Wi-Fi access, so Knox can keep corporate data safe, even if the network is not fully secure, and can also neutralize malware attacks. Corporate data can be wiped off a device remotely in the event it is lost or stolen, while leaving personal data intact.
Enterprise Mobility Management
For the IT staff, an enterprise mobility management (EMM) tool such as Knox Premium or Knox Manage offer other important opportunities. The Knox Premium option enables simple device management using a cloud-based platform that creates a secure container on an enabled device. Knox Manage is a cloud-based EMM solution that provides a simple deployment process to help address security concerns for an organization's device ﬂeet, without having to invest the cost and time to build a dedicated infrastructure.
Both Knox Premium and Knox Manage provide a cloud-based command center to manage devices across multiple operating systems remotely. This adaptability ensures sensitive data — from corporate emails to customer records and ﬁnancial information — stays secure, regardless of the device operating system. Devices can be remotely locked or wiped if one is lost or stolen.
Both systems control access to websites and apps through whitelisting and blacklisting to manage data usage and employee access to unauthorized sites. With Knox Manage, a kiosk mode can lock down the device to allow the use of approved websites without access to the internet at large.
Knox allows IT managers to segment users by groups or policies to allow access to speciﬁed apps or websites or other functions that aren’t required by the entire enterprise. This allows ﬂeets to create different workgroups and deploy unique application sets to each one.
Applications and updates can be managed remotely to push access as needed by groups or individuals.
Many transportation companies have a strong business case for customized applications, building tools that ﬁt their workﬂow and business strategies. With the Android platform, Samsung mobile devices offer an open development environment that enables comprehensive customization. Companies can develop custom apps and distribute through a private online store or push them out via Knox Manage and Knox Premium.
The First and Last Mile Matter the Most
From the trucking customer’s point of view, the ﬁrst and last miles usually matter the most. A high level of performance in the last mile is essential for delivery success.
The last mile may also be the toughest on mobile devices. That's where ruggedized commercial-grade options such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2 really shine. The Tab Active2 addresses concerns about durability when devices are removed from the cab. Its military-grade design can withstand harsh conditions including drops, altitude, extreme temperatures, immersion, salt, fog, and blowing dust. MIL-STD-810G testing and IP68 certiﬁcation attest to the durability of the device.
The Galaxy Tab Active2 also includes a full HD display and high-resolution cameras front and back. It also offers biometric authentication options such as ﬁngerprint scanning for greater security, and facial recognition for a convenient, unlock-with-a-look experience.
Due to their familiarity with devices, drivers can easily be trained to track orders, capture signatures, reconcile returns, and perform other tasks, instead of maintaining a paper manifest. The Galaxy Tab Active2 reduces the risk of damage with a water-resistant, IP68-certiﬁed S Pen, which allows drivers to use their devices even while wearing gloves. While the S Pen looks and feels like a typical pen, it enables team members to easily jot down digital notes, sketch ideas, or capture signatures.
Matched with a scanning device and the appropriate apps, mobile devices like the Tab Active2 can provide on-the-spot signature capture and tracking information for immediate customer notiﬁcation and veriﬁcation.
Improving Repair and Maintenance Efficiency
The connected truck can also enhance vehicle communications to improve repair efficiency and vehicle uptime. Vehicle sensors monitor and deliver alerts about engine problems and other diagnostic issues while informing dispatch when the vehicle is out of service. With this data forwarded from the ELD, managers will be equipped to plan for maintenance based on actual performance by monitoring vehicle diagnostics. This enables fleet operators to plan for maintenance on a proactively managed schedule and reduce surprise equipment failures that can delay a load and cause an expensive, unscheduled repair.
Aggregating vehicle data can help inform fleet overhaul and replacement planning by tracking maintenance costs and intervals during vehicles' life cycles.
The DVIR can help manage a fleet's CSA score with an inspection record confirming compliance over the long term. With a mobile device, the DVIR can be monitored and reviewed by management to ensure compliance with regulations and company standards. Managers can use the information for coaching and training drivers remotely. Distance isn't a barrier to communications anymore.
Mobile Devices as the Platform for Progress
Forward-thinking ﬂeet managers recognize that the ELD is only an entry point into a new world of ﬂeet telematics. By going beyond the basics of the ELD mandate, ﬂeet managers have the opportunity to turn trucks into computers on wheels, connecting to cellular networks to send data to and from the vehicle.
With smartphones and tablets serving as the driver interface, ﬂeets can deliver intelligent business processes to every endpoint in the ﬂeet: the vehicle, the driver, the maintenance shop, and the point of delivery.
Strategic analytics guide companies in making investments and policy changes for mid- and long-term improvements in efﬁciency, risk reduction, and proﬁtable growth, while tactical analytics gives a company insight to optimize daily decisions across the supply chain.
Rugged mobile devices can stand up to the rigors of everyday commercial use — drivers conducting daily inspections, communicating with a dispatcher, and capturing delivery signatures. They quickly become an integral tool for daily activities that drivers and managers value for conversion of manual processes to easy-to-use digital interaction.
With rugged form factor devices, drivers can use one tool for all their tasks, managing pickups and deliveries, navigation and other ﬂeet management functions.
Wearables for Task Management
Wearables such as smartwatches are another ﬂeet technology that's primed for broad adoption. Paired with an in-vehicle tablet or smartphone, a smartwatch can deliver priority work tasks through a simple interface for any employee whose primary job responsibilities require hands-free access to data.
For example, Hipaax, a Samsung Enterprise Alliance partner, offers TaskWatch, a platform for smartwatches that delivers hands-free access to data for logistics and transportation use. Receiving notiﬁcations via wearables accelerates employee response time and improves communication among employees and managers.
Delivery drivers who make frequent stops can send and receive messages while they're out of the truck. Managers can collect and deliver real-time insight into the location of loads, and drivers can also provide information on load delivery, load pick-up and any in-transit problems.
Wearables can also be leveraged for their health monitoring capabilities to improve driver safety. Built-in sensors on Samsung wearables detect physical position and activity, which can enable important health status alerts. This means that ﬂeet managers or dispatchers can know where a driver is on their route and react accordingly if alerted that a driver is in distress or has fallen on the job.
The Future of Fleet Telematics is Bright for All Types of Fleets
The transportation industry remains ripe for technological disruption that improves efﬁciency and customer service as well as the driver experience.
Ultimately, outﬁtting trucks for the improved gathering of telematics can help companies, drivers and managers be smarter and more efﬁcient throughout the transportation workﬂow.
Certainly, some new investment is required for hardware and software, and changing traditional ways of working can be challenging. However, like many other technology products, the return on investment will be brisk as prices for components such as sensors and connectivity continue to deliver a high level of value.
Any ﬂeets that don’t take advantage of mobility and IoT will be isolated from vital data such as performance and maintenance, as well as the possibility of connecting with loads and shippers with lower overhead.
If it’s not already, it will be practically impossible in the next few years to succeed in the trucking business without a robust ﬂeet management solution.
For more information, visit: www.stratixcorp.com/fleet-management
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Stratix is the largest U.S. pure-play managed mobile service provider, a trusted, long-term advisor for leading Fortune 500 brands – many of whom have been with us since the beginning.
Stratix opened its doors in 1983, long before anyone envisioned a world driven by mobility. Our roots are founded in mobile as supply chain consultants with a vision to help businesses capitalize on technology to streamline their operations and increase productivity. As mobile technology advanced, we became the largest reseller of purpose-built mobile devices. The frequent release of innovative mobile technology and tools fueled our growth. We continually adapted our business model to ensure we could always meet and exceed the mobility needs of our clients. Along the way we created key partnerships, expanded our capabilities, and added high-value enterprise managed mobility services.
Today, we are the largest U.S. pure-play managed mobile service provider, a trusted, long-term advisor for leading Fortune 500 brands – many of whom have been with us since the beginning. For over 35 years, we’ve built that trust by delivering consistency – staying ahead of the market, evolving our services and pushing the limits to exceed expectations.