Businesses in the commercial trucking industry need to move quickly and efficiently to ensure deliveries are on schedule and intact. As more companies increase the size of their fleets, the ability to properly manage their drivers becomes more difficult. As a result, fleet owners rely on a variety of mobile solutions to not only track their equipment, but also help their employees work smarter, not harder. The growing demand for mobile technology has forced solution providers to stay ahead of the curve on capabilities that improve communications, productivity and performance.
Transportation and service providers deploy drivers who travel thousands of routes in a week. These drivers are often faced with unexpected obstacles and depend on push-to-talk (PTT) technology to quickly troubleshoot alternative solutions with dispatch managers. For example, a truck driver traveling in harsh weather conditions must have a simple way of contacting a supervisor. With a PTT device, the dispatch manager and driver can easily discuss an alternate route with a touch of a button. Now, the driver can switch to a different path and remain on schedule for delivery.
It’s no secret that PTT devices can help drivers communicate quickly in fast-paced environments. However, today’s fleet owners are realizing the many benefits of integrating other technology with their PTT devices. For example, we are seeing more companies incorporate dispatch solutions with their PTT deployments. By integrating dispatch technology, supervisors now have a dashboard view of their entire convoy of drivers on a desktop computer. If a company vehicle breaks down in a remote area, the dispatch manager can identify its location and hold a group conversation with both the stranded motorist and a nearby driver to coordinate help. Fleet owners are utilizing this added functionality not only to improve efficiency, but also to increase the safety of their drivers.
The ability for drivers to efficiently transfer information is important, especially given today’s regulations on hours of service. Long-haul trucking companies often manage these administrative processes manually to keep accountability of vehicles, equipment and employees. Dispatch managers spend valuable time and money processing large amounts of paperwork. As a result, drivers are now relying on mobile solutions to transfer time-sensitive reports such as time cards and vehicle logs. Rather than spending time filling out a lengthy form, drivers can send their delivery schedules and manifests via their smartphone or tablet. A dispatch manager now has near real-time insight on which drivers are approaching the maximum number of hours behind the wheel.
Having access to real-time information from vehicles and assets can help businesses improve productivity and reduce expenses. Fleet owners are trying to determine how to adequately deploy their workforce to ensure deliveries are made in a timely manner. Companies depend on mobile solutions for conducting faster talk times, identifying faster routes and reporting hours of services for drivers. At the same time, solution providers are working hard to develop more technology that can help fleet owners become more agile and keep the customer satisfied.
By Igor Glubochansky, executive director of big data and advanced solutions for AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions.