‘From first mile to last mile,’ is it time to expand into new applications?

‘From first mile to last mile’: is it time to expand into new applications?

Freightliner-Sprinter-passenger-and-cargo-vans

 

The trucking industry is experiencing a boom with no end in short-term sight. The latest report from FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index—which tracks changes in U.S. truck market conditions, including freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price and financing—is that the y/y Index remains more than triple the 2017 reading of 2.97. The current 10.30 Index reading represents a carrier-favorable environment that is not expected to see any real change through 2018, with even more positive conditions during the second and third quarter.

The consequence is that equipment is hard to come by. New trailer orders are booked nearly through Q1 of 2019 and Class 8 equipment orders are outpacing industry capacity, according to ACT Research, with orders totaling 34,735 units in April. Buying used equipment to keep up with business demands is one option (we offer tips on shopping for used trailers here); another is buying different equipment and expanding into new applications.

The last-mile delivery buzz is reaching a fever pitch. Consumers are demanding that more products be delivered to their front door, and instead of hauling product across the country or state and handing it off to another carrier for front-door delivery, fleets have the opportunity to invest in medium-duty trucks and finish the job themselves.
Of course, expansion should not be entered into lightly. The first step is figuring out if you can handle it. For that answer, turn to your telematics platform of choice.

“We do see some of our customers looking to expand,” said Kent Norton, who took the reins as chief technology officer at Omnitracs in late January. Norton went onto explain that the truck technology environment of yesteryear was segmented with multiple solution providers whose technology didn’t integrate with one another. Today, that environment has evolved into a more inclusive world where technology and data platforms are expandable.

“As fleets’ businesses expand, whether they’re expanding into first mile or last mile, they could effectively turn on technology, as opposed to implementing another platform,” he said. “On our Omnitracs One platform, for example, it’s essentially a software selection of what features and functionalities you want, based upon where your fleet is at that point in time.”

The most common example of a technology that could enable a move toward last-mile delivery operations is routing. Moving trucks through congested city centers while planning the most efficient route can be a headache for a fleet that has traditionally provided long haul services. That’s where a routing solution comes into play. Offered by numerous technology providers, routing technology combines real-time GPS data with other routing information such as traffic congestion and even weather.

“We also allow the fleet to edit the navigation maps and provide an overlay where they can have a preferred way to get into a facility or take them directly to a back entrance to get to a dock, for example,” Norton said, “as opposed to a typical navigation system that might route a truck to the front door, which is not the way the truck needs to go.”

The optimal routes feature offered by Omnitracs Roadnet Anywhere, for example, allows users to measure the effectiveness and impact of routing decisions on cost, time and distance. Users can generate theoretical route-level scenarios to compare against actual routes, which can provide insight into the decisions made by routers, as well as highlight instances in which an over-emphasis on customer service has led to overall inefficiency.

For many fleets, expansion is about efficiencies—to develop equipment management processes and habits in new application disciplines. While there are many questions to be answered on the road toward new opportunities, the first answer to find is whether you’re ready for the challenge.

You May Also Like

Geotab introduces A.I. co-pilot

Geotab Ace will be available as part of the MyGeotab platform.

Geotab Ace, an artificial intelligence co-pilot designed for fleets, has been announced. Geotab Ace will be part of the MyGeotab platform, and according to the company, "enhances user experience by offering tailored insights through intuitive dialogue."

In 2023, Geotab collaborated with customers on Project G, a beta generative A.l. project garnering real-time feedback and input on challenges and high-level value features. The company says this approach resulted in the integration of Geotab Ace.

Geotab launches GO Anywhere asset tracker

When integrated with MyGeotab, GO Anywhere enables viewing of all assets and vehicles in a single platform, Geotab said.

Geotab, Daimler Truck North America partner on new integrated telematics offering

The integration makes all data from various OEMs and Geotab’s GO devices available in one platform.

GenH2 and University of Melbourne liquid hydrogen research

The global team-up aims to work on research and development for liquid hydrogen, which boils around -423 F.

genh2-logo-web
What it means when heavy-duty trucks are also ‘Virtual Vehicles’

Integrated real-time data aims to enhance heavy-duty trucking fleet efficiency, safety and productivity.

Platform-Science-1400

Other Posts

AT&T to pilot Rivian EVs in emissions reduction effort

AT&T will add Rivian electric vans and SUVs to its fleet in 2024 as part of its strategy to cut transport emissions and optimize routes.

At&t-rivian-van-mockup
The Future of Trailer Telematics: Going Beyond Track & Trace

The Benefits of Integrating Trailer Telematics with Fleet Management Systems

ERoad, BCMI work to streamline concrete supply chain workflow

The partnership is aimed at uploading and auto-updating information in multiple systems simultaneously, limiting the need to manually input the same data in different applications.

ERoad-N-A-Headquarters
Six proven ways to reduce your trucks’ downtime

Six proven ways to reduce downtime in fleet management.

US-Bank-generic-1400