Data Shaping Fleet Solutions During Hurricane Season
Today the trucking industry is experiencing a reinvention. Fleet owners and operators are undergoing a transformation like never before. Technology has provided tools and systems that have advanced operations from logistics and compliance to payment and driver behavior. The challenges faced over the last decade put the entire industry in a position of desperate need for fleet solutions that could provide efficiencies, organization and streamlined operations. Fortunately, technology is guiding that change — technology and an abundance of data that is helping even more. While we are currently faced with what looks to be a significant hurricane season, technology and the data that follows is helping to shape responsive fleet solutions that will, in turn, guide fleets to safety.
Hurricane Florence has proven that once again, Mother Nature is more powerful than we could ever imagine. It has also shown how resilience is possible through preparedness and risk management. Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria made it clear that we could not rely on our own good luck to avoid or recover from a hurricane and with the most recent threat of Florence, industries across the nation have made it a priority to be aware of the patterns and the risk in order to get in front of the situation. While data science cannot provide all the answers, especially where the uncertainty of a weather event is concerned, it can provide variables to consider and historical facts to inform decisions. Some data collecting models can predict early warning signs for rainfall amounts, runoff and flooding. Data can also provide insight into what could happen in the future and the actions that can be taken to mitigate the most damaging risks. Fleet owners and operators have learned a great deal from previous hurricanes, positioning them to be poised to deal with Florence and future hurricanes. Mobile data can be used to track weather patterns in real-time, so drivers can assess the potential risk and locate shelter if needed. Mobile data can also provide information on best practices for fleet solutions during a hurricane. Like any business or resident in the path of a hurricane, effective fleet solutions include the same kind of preparation.
- A written plan for drivers and company employees: Know what to do and where to go. Assign a contact for each department to streamline communications.
- Prepare equipment and facilities: Secure roofs, windows, and vehicles. Maintain generators, lights and back-up systems.
- Identify and secure records: H.R., insurance, taxes and accounting.
- Identify driver location and make a plan: Make sure drivers are in communication and know the plan in case of road and electrical damage as well as fuel shortages.
- Local and Regional Emergency Management Contact: Make sure all employees and especially drivers have emergency contact information
While data science from a hurricane can provide valuable information from lessons learned, it is still dependent on the undependable actions of nature. That is not the case for big data coming from tangible fleet behavior and telematics reporting. Fleets are evolving and growing because of the data that is generated to benefit almost every aspect of business. The transformation is remarkable.
5 Ways Big Data is Transforming Trucking
1. Telematics Devices: Fleets are taking advantage of big data and the increased reporting frequency of telematics devices to achieve safer, more efficient and productive driving.
2. Mobile Notifications: Using an open-architecture remote diagnostics system, truck drivers and fleet managers can receive mobile notifications and pending performance issues. Like the weather, the ability to predict issues before they happen helps to avoid unplanned downtime.
3. Over-the-air Engine Reprogramming: Much like mobile phones, today’s engines benefit from frequent software updates, and will soon be about to receive these updates remotely via over-the-air reprogramming. Benefits like improved fuel economy can then be achieved without multiple service visits. Over-the-air programming can also be used to recalibrate engines for new usage patterns, such as mountainous terrains or heavier loads enabling vehicle efficiencies.
4. Truck Health Reports: Open-architecture remote diagnostics systems that work with the truck’s existing telematics systems pull diagnostics-related data from vehicles to create a vehicle health report. Using these reports to capture insights into the operational health of the vehicle, fleet managers can understand the severity of vehicle issues and identify appropriate corrective actions, ultimately leading to increased performance.
5. Environment Tracking: Mobile data can be used to track emerging traffic and weather patterns approaching truck stops, hotel locations and more. Real-time access to this information enables drivers to cut down on time in traffic, hazardous weather and lodging. This data can also provide access to repair facilities and maintenance locations.
Lastly, but certainly not least, big data is transforming the fleet payment. Companies like EFS are beginning to rely on data to inform fleet solutions that make payment easier but also help to carefully manage expenses and mitigate fraud.
“Data Science in the payments sector is multifaceted, with fraud and security being a large part of it on one side, and the optimization of payment processing on the other side. On the fraud side, understanding fraud patterns and trying to bring in obscure data that may help you recognize and catch fraud is incredibly powerful. You can also use Data Science to help your merchant’s process payments more effectively, by diving into authorization and conversion metrics and looking at card holder patterns and motivations”.
— Nathan Trousdell, Director of Strategy & Corporate Development at Payvision, a global online payments processor based in Amsterdam.
Big Data is bolstering the trucking industry in all facets of business operations on a daily basis. It is providing the drivers with security and ease while providing the fleet owners safer, more reliable and more efficient fleet payment and business management tools. The digital transformation is happening and the data is informing a path forward.