It seems the days of storing data in a closet onsite are ending—and while the trucking industry may have been slow to adopt technology in the beginning, that is not the case today. Fleet management in the trucking and transportation industry is embracing technology of all sorts, and that includes cloud storage and cloud services.
In a nutshell, the cloud is a network of internet-connected computer servers used for data storage and computing. Cloud-based storage can take a couple of different forms, and though your trucking company probably still has servers onsite, it probably also is storing data in the cloud. The most common forms of cloud-based technology in the trucking industry are telematics and transportation management software. These services provide efficiencies and transparency that we would otherwise never be able to access, and they are almost solely responsible for the current growth and transformation of the industry. The cloud is no longer a threat—it is critical asset.
In the trucking industry, we are coming into the age of the cloud every single day. While the technology has improved, one of the more important changes is that most IT staff no longer view the cloud as a threat.
— Ben Barnes, vice president, IT services, McLeod Software
It helps that we are becoming reliant on the cloud in our own homes through streaming video and smart phone technology. We are experiencing better and faster technology with high-speed internet capable of vast amounts of storage. The cloud may very well have saved precious time, media, and documents in our personal lives, allowing us to become much more comfortable with embracing it in our professional lives. Cloud-based systems are also becoming more accessible in terms of cost. Small and medium-sized companies that cannot afford the cost of an entire IT department are turning to cloud-based services for the same support.
The world has changed, and it’s not about what is inside of your walls.
— Ron Godine, vice president IT and cloud services, TMW
Cloud fleet solutions can provide everything from telematics to financial management and payment. Fleet management is eager to partner with the experts to leverage the cloud for vendor payment, payroll, expense management, data analytics—the list goes on. Payment leader EFS/WEX has relied on the cloud for their fleet solutions from the beginning, and they continue to develop products and services that utilize the efficiencies that the cloud has to offer. Some of those fleet solutions include:
1. Fleet fuel cards with automatic expense tracking, enhanced security, and detailed reporting. Choose the best fleet card for your business.
2. Powerful mobile apps to access your account, help drivers find the cheapest nearby fuel, pay at the pump, and more.
3. Premium GPS telematics for tracking vehicle location, speed, fuel use, and more—to capture the data you need to keep improving your bottom line.
4. Advanced analytics software to keep you informed, help you find new ways to save, and streamline your overall fleet operations.
Big Picture Fleet Management Advantages
So now that mobile apps have succeeded in presenting a seamless integration of function and payment, we are starting to see entire industries open up to the possibility and embrace the cloud as an opportunity. Where traditionally the trucking industry has experienced a certain fragmentation of data and a separation between process and payment, companies like EFS/WEX are helping to break down those silos and develop fleet solutions that integrate the payment function within a number of different fleet solutions and platforms. The opportunities for procurement, travel, and expense management are remarkable within a fleet solution leveraging the cloud. And where once the security of the cloud was in question, it is now proven to be the highest standard of security. GTG technology group suggests the following:
Another advantage of cloud computing is the safety it provides by keeping information safe. By keeping the information in an isolated server instead of within hard drives, it reduces the possibility of damage that can undo a large amount of work. Cloud systems are also set up with redundancy and multiple backups that account for human error, making the deletion of data harder to occur. Cloud companies are also working on improved recovery services and backup vaulting. However, when it comes to critical data such as financial records or compliance documents, security experts recommend having both cloud and hard drive backups as servers, because cloud recovery sometimes takes up to 24 hours, which can shut down the fleet’s operations.
The greatest advantage that the cloud offers fleet management today is, in a word, efficiency. The productivity brought on through visibility and speed in an industry that is in constant motion has been transformative. Multiple people being able to see the same information at the same time has been the biggest advancement the trucking industry has ever seen. Clearly, with the continuous developments in tech and the growing capacity of the cloud, there is no telling where the industry is headed but it is sure to be forward.