I’m a fleet management provider and recently traveled to Dallas for the first time to attend the Great American Trucking Show. I was excited to be at a show where truckers could test products, get health screenings and Department of Transportation physicals, and learn best practices from fellow owner-operators and the Texas Trucking Association. And of course, I wanted to gauge interest in improving truck fleet efficiency and talk with fleet managers and owner-operators about how they could improve their bottom lines with the help of technology.
I’d heard the expression “everything’s bigger in Texas,” and it really was. From the expansive Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to the whopping Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in downtown Dallas where the show was held, everything was indeed bigger than what I was used to, and given the turnout at the show, it was clear that the trucking industry was alive and well.
Trucking and the Technological Evolution
There’s been a massive technological shift in the trucking industry, and much of that has to do with improving truck fleet efficiency. Let’s start with the electronic logging device (ELD) rule from the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and then talk a bit about fleet management software’s role in bringing efficiency to you and your company.
Electronic Logging Devices and Truck Fleet Efficiency
As a fleet management provider, our booth at the truck show was emblematic of the technological shift in the trucking industry, and it was our job to explain how the ELD rule that becomes a mandatory requirement for all long-haul truck drivers by the end of 2017 will make life easier, not more complicated.
The new regulation specifies that digitally recording hours of service (HOS) will replace traditional pen-and-paper logs — an idea that has raised some eyebrows in the trucking community. While some truckers are eager to embrace the new technology to automate their HOS recording, others see the ELD mandate as government overreach and are less than enthusiastic about the change.
Let’s look at the reality. Having your HOS recorded automatically will mean you have one less thing to worry about — and you’ll save money too. According to the FMCSA, the trucking industry will save (in 2013 dollars):
- Between $579 and $694 million per year in reduction of crashes
- Between roughly $2.4 and $2.5 billion in paperwork costs
Thus, even with the expenses of buying the ELD and compliance, the trucking industry is expected to net approximately $844 million to $1.2 billion per year.
In addition, the use of ELD means drivers will spend less time recording their HOS than with the paper-and-pen method, resulting in administrative efficiencies and less “unnecessary paperwork,” according to US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Improving Truck Fleet Efficiency with GPS Fleet Management Software
Just as ELD will improve truck fleet efficiency, so too will adopting GPS fleet management software.
Imagine you get a call for an emergency pickup. You could:
- Radio your drivers to ask for their location and hope they get back to your promptly so you can figure out who best to send on that mission, or
- Glance at a screen to see exactly where they are and what direction they’re headed in, which would let you know in moments who is closest to where you need them to be
That is what’s possible. Talk about improving truck fleet efficiency!
GPS Fleet tracking software also lets you optimize routes more efficiently, keep better track of fuel costs, know automatically when maintenance is needed and how many miles each truck has driven — you’ll feel completely in charge and in control of your service or delivery area.
And, Back to the Great American Trucking Show
The point is that just because something works, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way of doing it.
My colleagues and I are used to having to win people over selling a relatively new product like fleet management software that the industry has lived without for so long. Every individual and every conversation we had at the show was different, but we always ended up looping back to a common notion: efficiency.
I left the show feeling great about my interactions with all the fleet managers and owner-operators. Some were more receptive to our message of technological evolution than others, but we all learned a great deal about how our industries work.
Change is seldom easy, but we did convince many truckers that, in the long haul, ELDs will make their jobs easier, and fleet management software brings more efficiency and a healthy return on investment.
Are you ready to take the next step towards improving truck fleet efficiency — and your bottom line? Get in touch with the team at Nero Global today. We’re here to help you find what best works for you.