Connected Truck

Fleet monitoring has been the focus of significant modernization in recent decades. The ultimate goal of fleet monitoring is to maintain a connection between fleet managers and fleet vehicles, not merely for tracking and visibility, but also to improve driver safety and security, preserve the company’s assets, and guarantee the intact delivery of the freight on board. These days, simple telematics systems alone may not be sufficient to accomplish these goals. Modern fleet management goals now necessitate the advent of what may be considered the “connected truck.”

What is a Connected Truck?
Beyond remote diagnostics, GPS, and zone monitoring, today’s connected truck monitors the current condition of the vehicle and the vehicle’s ability to best utilize its resources to make specific deliveries safely and efficiently. In addition to providing simple diagnostic data, today’s connected truck considers what is on board each truck and who is in the field. It interacts with fleet planning and tracking software, manages telematics and deliveries, and is acutely aware of the current inventory on each truck at all times.

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Seem too good to be true? Trust me, it isn’t. This technology is already available, and when fully leveraged, it can deliver enormous benefits to your fleet operations.

Increased Driver Utilization
Connected truck drivers are always aware of their delivery schedules in real time. Updated dispatch information is delivered to drivers en route, where they can view changes to their delivery schedules right on their mobile devices anytime they are safely at a stop. A connected truck is not only connected to dispatch, but also to the other drivers. If it makes sense to change a delivery based on a truck’s immediate location, remaining fuel, time left on the clock, truck condition, or inventory, these changes can be made and communicated immediately to all involved. Drivers also receive optimized routes throughout each shift to ensure the maximum number of deliveries can be completed by the end of the day.

Improved Customer Service
Implementing a connected truck platform also helps you serve your customers better. After all, without delighted customers, fuel efficiency numbers, geofences, and braking and acceleration ratios just don’t matter. Beyond mastering these considerations, a truly connected truck safely completes the fundamental task of delivering the desired inventory in a reasonable amount of time. Customer-focused features such as inventory level sensors, order histories, and breadcrumbed activity tracking enable drivers to provide customers with more exact planned and actual arrival and departure times. Place all that data in the cloud, and you always have the numbers you need to satisfy – nay, delight – your customers at all times.

Simplified Billing
Closely related to improved customer service, simplified billing is another key feature of a truly connected truck. Consider two scenarios: In one, inventory is delivered to a customer by an otherwise disconnected truck. Two weeks later, the customer receives a paper invoice in the mail that gets lost, is forgotten, goes unpaid, accrues late fees, and so on. At best, this sort of old-school billing is a nuisance. At worst, it leads to higher costs in fees and results in strained relations between the customer and provider. In the second scenario, the invoice from the connected truck is provided right on the spot, right at the site of delivery, right after delivery takes place. Signatures are captured electronically. Delivery tickets and invoices are printed and left on site, providing proof of delivery, consensus of volume, and accurate transaction details. No paper. No forgetting. No misplacing. No fees. No strained relationships. All because the truck in the second scenario is connected to all necessary fleet management and accounting software.

Enhanced Inventory Management
For some, inventory management is a combination of guesswork, eyeballing, and gut. No doubt, these folks get close…sometimes. Other times, not so much. Especially when a truck in question has to make 20 deliveries in a day. A connected truck removes the guesswork from inventory management with ERP integration that allows drivers and dispatchers to know exactly what inventory is available on all trucks at all times. So, if at delivery #16, one truck is running short on inventory, not only can dispatch send another truck to take care of the delivery, but the newly-dispatched truck receives all relevant customer information automatically for seamless execution.

The concept of a connected truck is not some futuristic ideal – the platform exists right now. If you’re looking for a comprehensive connected truck solution – one that goes beyond the mere provision of arbitrary numbers and links you directly with your customers – take a look at the logistics management solutions available from PDI – particularly PDI TransPac. Don’t wait any longer to connect with your data and with your customers.