The drive for greater operational efficiency has led to a rapid growth in the availability and affordability of software and on-vehicle technology for fleet operators and road hauliers. The ability of these systems to automate processes and digitise data has a number of benefits associated with removing the risk of human error and the replication of tasks.
There are however a number of other opportunities presented by digitisation that are perhaps less commonly recognised.
1. Driver Safety
Health and safety is quite rightly the number one priority for everyone involved in the supply chain sector. Vehicles at work continue to be a major cause of fatalities and serious injuries. Every year there are over 5000 incidents involving transport in the workplace with approximately 50 of these incidents resulting in people losing their lives (The Road Haulage Association).
The digitisation of systems can have an important role to play in the improvement of driver safety. This can start before the vehicle has even left the depot with the system requiring vehicle checks to be completed before the route can be started. Once on the road, the system can measure driver performance enabling specific issues to be addressed at a debrief or during training if required. Considerate placement and mounting of devices and easy-to-use interfaces also reduce the opportunity for distraction whilst the vehicle is in motion.
2. Building the Brand
The benefits of vehicle and driving monitoring are not solely limited to safety. Drivers across the world are often the public face of the business and the main point of interaction between the service provider and the customer. As a result, there is a great deal of benefit in ensuring that they represent the business in an appropriate manner and that they act as ambassadors for your brand. This may include a need to monitor adherence to the speed limit, understanding de-tours that are being taken and checking the correct time is spent taking breaks. A lot of this data can be viewed in real-time by the back office. This can then be used to improve driver behaviour in an attempt to ensure legal compliance, reduce fuel consumption and improve customer satisfaction.
3. Improved Customer Experience
For many companies the starting point for on-board technologies is vehicle tracking. In isolation however this does not always provide the level of information required. Just because a driver has taken a certain route, it doesn’t mean that services were successfully completed. Combining these systems with RFID technology, for example, can provide irrefutable proof of service as well as providing granular management information. If a service cannot be completed, tablets or other handheld devices can be used to record images. These can be sent directly to the customer to provide evidence as to why the collection or delivery could not be made.
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