Trucking & Fleet Management: Tech You Can Take Advantage of Now

The rising tide of tech continues to strike in the world of automobiles. Each passing day seems to bring another round of self-driving cars, 4D driving simulations, or fully electric vehicles. With such a blinding wave of advancements, it can be easy to over-look the less flashy, but arguably more immediately useful advances being made available now, long before self-driving cars will ever benefit businesses.

What are the smaller steps trucking company owners and drivers can take to capitalize on today’s technological advancements in safety and productivity?

Heavyweight veterans in the world of industrial trucking, Chris Wurtz of McNeilus and Alex Moody of FiveCubits, shared how technology is transforming trucking fleets during an education session at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017.

Track Your Trucks

A big step being taken for trucking is the introduction of telematics (the process of wirelessly communicating data between remote devices, often in real time). This usually translates to advanced GPS systems that can track a truck's location and amount of time spent in any stage of transportation.  

Moody says this can dramatically improve overall efficiency. By tracking how different drivers handle actions like loading or pre-driving checklists, companies can determine where to apply additional training to make up time. Additionally, this data can be assembled to reflect the total net income brought by certain trucks, allowing owners and managers to make crucial decisions about vehicle repair and replacement.

Monitor Driver Performance

There are more ways than ever to keep an eye on your truck drivers to ensure they are being safe while on the road. Wurtz made a point to discuss the benefits of mounted tablets in trucks, communicating with and displaying information from the engine. This allows not only the driver but operators in the office to record real-time information about a truck’s performance and locate unusual actions.

For example, a tired driver, working late at night, could receive a notification that his or her RPM has been inconsistent for the last half hour, an important signal that they may not have noticed in time. This can be compounded with audio and video sensors in the truck’s cabin, which will activate when the mounted software detects irregularities such as inconsistent mileage or unnecessary lane corrections. This way, tired drivers, not even realizing that they’re driving dangerously, can be alerted to stop for coffee or switch operators if need be. The result is optimum truck performance and less danger for tired or inexperienced drivers.

Apps Designed with Truckers in Mind

In addition to performance and safety benefits, there are a number of third-party apps designed just for truck drivers. Moody says owners can expand far beyond the standard GPS tracking; for example, trucks can be wired to send real-time data about locate and time spent at locate, allowing overseers to send and receive alerts about potential problems. Other apps include paperless payrolls, driver logs, signatures, damage and maintenance reports, etc.; but the most innovative advances are in messaging. Besides integrated instant messages, two-way radio itself can be replaced by an app, allowing for safer, hands-free communications between fleet members.

These advancements don’t just promise convenience. Across the board, increasing vehicle monitoring and paperless technology increases profits. The average adapter of truck tech sees 12 percent increase in driver productivity, not to mention an eight percent decrease in payroll costs and an eight percent decrease in maintenance costs. But the big savings come in fuel economy: Moody gives the example of one of his clients who, upon implementing smart trucking initiatives, saved 50,000 gallons of gas over the course of a year.

It won’t stop there, either. The future of trucking is particularly exciting, looking at fully autonomous vehicles, electric trucking, and full connection between trucks and entire fleets. This will increase safety, efficiency and productivity: but it will also bring new challenges, new training, and an entirely new way to transport materials. The world of trucking won’t be revolutionized anytime soon, but the first wave of technology has arrived and is ready to make trucking easier, safer and more profitable.

Want More Information?

CONEXPO-CON/AGG’s comprehensive Education Program is the leading source for contractors, business owners, construction material producers and end users to obtain cutting-edge information for today’s challenging economy and business model.

For those unable to attend the education sessions or who would like a copy of what was presented, recordings are available for purchase on a USB drive. There are over 130+ unique sessions from all ten education tracks: Aggregates, Asphalt, Concrete, Earthmoving & Site Development, Cranes, Rigging & Aerial Lift, Safety & Regulation, Technology, Equipment Management & Maintenance, Management: Business Best Practices and Management: Workforce Development.

For more information and to purchase education program recordings, visit education