The landscape of the trucking industry has completely transformed with the increased adoption of advanced technology such as transportation management systems (TMS). Among several other top trucking technologies, TMS stands out as one of the most significant for trucking companies.
Trucking businesses are using TMS systems to plan, manage, and optimize the physical movement of fleets, navigate uncertain business scenarios, and boost performance.
It is a no-brainer that the trucking and logistics trends keep evolving. Also, the industry is now facing substantially more competition than it ever did in the past.
Every day, the transportation market faces a growing list of challenges including higher fuel prices, an increase in distribution channels, ongoing capacity constraints, driver shortage, complex and global supply chains, and higher customer expectations for faster delivery times and better tracking information.
This has prompted many trucking companies to seek better ways—trucking technologies to be precise—to keep loads moving safely around the world, reduce fuel consumption, assess better carrier rates, and avoid empty miles by utilizing options such as backhauls and pool distribution.
Similar to many trucking technologies, today’s AI and cloud-based TMS systems offer greater functionality at a much-reduced cost compared to their predecessors, allowing smaller businesses to seek benefits from them.
Trucking technologies can help businesses increase their bottom line while improving safety. Let’s discuss must-have trucking technologies that help trucking companies gain a competitive edge.
Top Trucking Technologies for a Competitive Edge
Here are the top trucking technologies for trucking companies that enable them to efficiently manage their operations, reduce expenses, locate new business opportunities, and enhance driver safety while minimizing insurance liabilities and assessing driver and fleet performance.
Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)
To ensure safety and compliance with federal regulations under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), monitoring driver hours is crucial. The FMCSA has mandated the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) for most trucking operations to track and analyze data on driver hours, vehicle engines, location, speed, and mileage.
There are several suppliers of ELD devices for trucks that can be used for logging driver hours and meeting safety standards. On the other hand, LoadStop TMS integrates with several ELD providers, helping reduce the amount of HOS paperwork for drivers and saving time for carriers.
Telematics is the integration of telecommunications and informatics, which involves computer systems used to store and retrieve information. It includes GPS and dynamic routing and enables fleet managers to perform various tasks such as monitoring drivers and containers.
Samsara, a telematics provider, offers apps to assist fleet managers in deploying vehicle and shipment tracking. Similarly, TMS systems also integrate with telematics systems to provide a one-window solution to trucking companies. This integration provides real-time tracking and monitoring of vehicles, trailers, and shipments.
At the same time, it also allows for improved visibility and control over transportation operations, enabling trucking companies to optimize their supply chain processes, reduce costs, and improve customer service.
Telematics has a significant application in coordinating groups of trucks, known as platooning, where multiple trucks can be communicated with and coordinated in formations to reduce wind resistance and traffic conflicts, improve efficiency, and enhance road safety for non-truck vehicles.
Companies like Peloton Technology offer platooning apps to help organize fleets of vehicles more efficiently.
GPS Tracking Apps
Truck drivers face more complexity using GPS technology compared to car drivers as they need to be aware of roads that are accessible for trucks, refueling stations, and rest areas. However, GPS tracking apps offer features tailored to the specific needs of truck drivers.
Digital Freight Matching
The transportation industry is experiencing exciting technological advancement through digital freight matching apps. These apps assist trucking companies in maximizing their revenue. They work similarly to how Uber matches riders with drivers, but instead they connect shippers with carriers effortlessly.
The matching is done based on parameters such as available truck space, desired travel dates, and planned routes. Some of the top-performing digital freight matching apps include Convoy, Uber Freight, and uShip.
Utilizing a GPS app to plan your route can be helpful, but external factors like weather, road repairs, or traffic congestion may require adjustments. With the use of commercial truck technology, you can automatically and rapidly find alternative routes by incorporating dynamic routing, allowing for faster and smoother navigation.
Choosing a truck navigation app with dynamic routing features, such as CoPilot, can help you quickly adapt to real-time traffic and weather conditions, ensuring that your trucks reach their destination quicker and more efficiently.
Vehicle Maintenance Apps
Neglecting vehicle maintenance tasks can harm your vehicle's performance and result in financial losses. In the past, these tasks were managed through spreadsheets and fleet software, which was time-consuming.
However, modern truck inspection and maintenance software, such as Fleet Rabbit, uses cloud technology to automate scheduling, generate PDF inspection reports, and schedule reminders for inspections and maintenance tasks. Additionally, 1-click work orders can be created based on inspection results.
Fuel Price Apps
Fuel is one of the most significant expenses for trucking companies. Fortunately, fuel price apps like GasBuddy can help reduce costs by automatically comparing pump prices.
Trucker Path, for instance, offers features that verify pump clearance for trucks. To maximize fuel savings with price comparison apps, select a base jurisdiction with a low gas tax rate, resulting in lower tax payments regardless of where you refuel.
Dash cams are equipped with sensors and cameras that record events and notify fleet managers in real-time, which can be essential for insurance claims.
Although drivers of smaller vehicles may be at fault in collisions with trucks, they are often perceived as the victim. Truck drivers can obtain forward-looking camera systems from providers like SureCam.
To ensure safety and recognize top-performing drivers, it's crucial to monitor driver performance using driver scorecards. These automated systems rely on GPS and telematics data to track key performance indicators and identify unsafe driving behavior, which can be addressed through additional training.
Conversely, exceptional drivers can be identified and rewarded for their superior performance. Additionally, it's possible to set performance targets in areas such as productivity, safety, regulatory compliance, and vehicle maintenance. Companies like Geotab offer driver scorecard systems.
Fleet Management Apps
Driver scorecards enable you to monitor the performance of individual drivers, while fleet management applications allow you to monitor and improve the performance of your entire fleet by tracking critical data such as mileage, hours, fuel, and service costs.
This aids in the identification of inefficiencies requiring corrective action. Fleet management apps also provide capabilities for monitoring vehicle and equipment information, automating maintenance scheduling, and integrating telematics data with other systems and data. Fleetio and similar apps are effective tools for optimizing fleet performance.
Transportation Management Systems (TMS)
Transportation management systems help trucking companies streamline their operations, manage their fleets, and optimize their logistics. By using TMS technology, trucking companies can gain a competitive edge by improving efficiency, reducing costs, enhancing customer service, and increasing visibility into their supply chain.
TMS technology can also help trucking companies comply with regulatory requirements, manage risk, and stay ahead of their competitors in a fast-paced and highly competitive industry.
Modern trucking technologies help companies find shipping loads, enhance operational efficiency, reduce fuel expenses, improve safety, and limit insurance liability, as well as evaluate driver and fleet performance. These advanced trucking technologies are being adopted by companies to gain an advantage in the market.
To remain competitive within the market and surpass your competitors, it's important to keep up with the latest developments in trucking technology and assess whether investing in these tools could benefit your business
About the Author: Sara Naveed
Sara Naveed is a creative and digital content writer who uses her creative skills to develop and edit professional web content. Being a writer has always been her dream. She earnestly hopes people appreciate her writing—an asset she deeply covets. Using her 8+ years of working experience, she writes for trucking industry experts who are always looking for better technological solutions to their problems.