Over the past few years, the trucking industry has encountered an increasing set of key challenges, much like many other industries.
The supply chains are struggling to keep up with the escalating demands of ecommerce, and the rate of retirement among older drivers is surpassing that of their replacements.
Furthermore, trucking companies are finding it increasingly difficult to attract the younger generation of drivers and convince them to join the industry. That being said, the future of trucking business seems to be at stake.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy posed unprecedented challenges for the trucking and fleet industry in 2020 and 2021. Even though the pandemic's influence on businesses is gradually receding, trucking companies and fleets are still encountering several obstacles.
Such challenges include ongoing pandemic-induced effects, government regulations, climate change, and swift advancements in technology. Among these factors, technology is anticipated to be the most significant challenge and catalyst for positive transformation.
The adoption of advanced technologies, including a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) and many others, has proved to be beneficial for the trucking industry in several different ways. Securing the future of trucking business is imperative, and certainly, only advanced technologies can help in the trying times.
Securing the Future of Trucking Business
In today's world, technology plays a critical role in ensuring safety, performance, and efficiency, especially in the trucking and fleet management industry. The future of trucking business is set to undergo a significant transformation due to technological advancements.
It wouldn’t be sufficient to rely on traditional and redundant methods, especially if companies want to stay competitive. Therefore, it's essential to explore innovative technologies to future-proof your operations and maintain a competitive edge in the market.
Future-proof Trucking with Advanced Technology
In this blog post, we shall discuss how advanced technology, including the use of Al-powered TMS, can help in future-proofing your trucking business. To be precise, how technology can secure the future of trucking business.
It's worth noting that while some technologies are currently in use, others like fully autonomous vehicles are still being tested.
Cloud-based Transportation Management System (TMS)
A cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) can future-proof a trucking business in several ways that are discussed as follows:
A cloud-based TMS allows a trucking business to easily scale up or down its operations as demand changes. Since the TMS is hosted in the cloud, it can be easily accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, and it can handle increased traffic without the need for additional hardware or software.
An effective cloud-based TMS helps trucking companies quickly adapt to changes in the industry. For example, if new regulations are introduced, the TMS can be updated to comply with them. Additionally, the TMS can be customized to meet the specific needs of the business, whether that involves integrating with other software or providing additional features.
A cloud-based TMS provides real-time data that can be used to optimize operations and make informed decisions. By analyzing data such as delivery times, fuel consumption, and driver behavior, a trucking company can identify areas for improvement and make changes to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
It would be safe to say that a TMS provides a trucking business with the agility, efficiency, and collaboration needed to remain competitive in an ever-changing industry. Companies can future-proof their operations and position themselves for long-term success by investing in a TMS.
Fully autonomous vehicles are still years away from dominating the roads, but technological progress is paving the way for autonomous vehicles, making them safer and more efficient.
One such technology is lane-assist, which uses sensors to detect when a vehicle is veering out of its lane and can even redirect the wheel to keep the vehicle in its lane.
Another innovation is a forward-collision warning, which alerts drivers of stationary objects on the road and automatically engages emergency braking if necessary.
The platooning strategy, which involves multiple vehicles driving in a line, is also becoming more advanced, and one day may require only one human driver to control the lead vehicle, with the following vehicles controlled by sensors and cloud-based communications to maintain proper speed and distance.
This technology could significantly improve fleet efficiency and reduce fuel costs by decreasing wind resistance and fuel consumption in vehicles.
IoT devices, which are connected to the internet, collect a variety of real-time data that equip fleet managers with the means to make informed decisions based on data. In the US, approximately 42% of fleets are presently using IoT technology, and this figure is constantly increasing, as fleet managers are becoming more aware of the benefits that IoT devices offer.
Real-time location tracking of vehicles allows fleet managers to have complete visibility of each vehicle's whereabouts at any given time. This data can be utilized to provide real-time updates to customers and shipping partners, optimize routes, identify potential disruptions, and enhance customer satisfaction.
Shipment Quality Monitoring
Shipment quality monitoring involves keeping a close eye on the condition of goods being transported to prevent perishable items like pharmaceuticals and produces from expiring or getting spoiled during transit.
By using connected temperature sensors, fleet managers can detect changes in temperature and make adjustments to routes or deliveries as needed to ensure goods reach their destination in optimal condition.
Sensors can be employed to provide early warnings about potential issues with vehicles before they grow into more serious, costly problems.
This approach helps fleet managers to schedule maintenance more efficiently, prevent breakdowns, and reduce maintenance costs while maximizing vehicle uptime and lifespan.
Driver monitoring can help identify unsafe driving habits such as speeding, harsh braking, and sharp turns. By alerting fleet managers to these behaviors, action can be taken to address and correct them, reducing the risk of accidents, fines, and insurance premiums.
Other safety technologies include in-cab cameras and ignition locks that require drivers to pass a breathalyzer test before driving.
Big Data and AI Technology
The transportation industry is showing interest in big data analytics, and it is expected that the global transportation analytics market will grow to $21.8 billion USD by 2027. Fleet managers can benefit from the insights provided by big data analytics to improve all aspects of fleet operations and make informed decisions.
However, managing the large amounts of data collected by IoT devices and extracting meaningful insights can be challenging. Some companies are turning to AI-powered analytics programs to overcome these challenges and make predictions based on past metrics.
AI technology can also be used to optimize routes, which can lead to increased efficiency. By considering factors such as trailer capacity, traffic data, and warehouse lead time, fleet managers can make better decisions and streamline their operations.
Conclusion: What Lies Ahead
The future of trucking business may seem volatile but there’s still hope. Trucking companies and fleets can derive ongoing advantages from technological advancements and upgrades to existing technologies.
However, fleet managers face the challenge of keeping up with the latest technological trends, deciding which technology is worth investing in for their fleets, and determining the right timing for adoption or upgrading—rather than whether to do so.
However, one of the viable ways to address these challenges is working with a fleet management company as it can help provide valuable assistance. Such companies can help stay abreast of emerging technologies, evaluate which technology investments would benefit the fleet in the long run, and determine the ideal timing for adoption or upgrade.
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.