Trucking and package delivery fleet managers face pressures to increase efficiencies and reduce expenses while they enhance customer service. Fleet Management and the data maintained by electronic logging device (ELD) solutions paired with rugged, purpose-built mobile devices, are essential for achiving these goals. These devices are designed to perform under adverse and demanding conditions, where consumer-grade tablets and notebooks are not purposely designed to withstand daily usage in commercial vehicles and likely to fail. In order for Fleet Managers to meet their goals, their mobile device deployments need to address these six core competancies.
1. Customer Service
Customers rely on timely and transparent delivery tracking provided wirelessly by on-vehicle mobile solutions to dispatch systems that track progress against planned routes and allow dispatchers to answer inquiries from customers. The mobile devices must have built in optimal wireless connectivity to connect to both GPS satellites and cellular networks — even through weak signal areas. The mobile applications that generate and report conditions along the delivery path ease customer service tasks by delivering regular updates to keep operations staff aware of current conditions or possible delays.
According to Laura Lohrke, senior product manager at Omnitracs, “The lack of mobile connection in each vehicle leaves you blind to their status.” For example, with health-care providers, transport and location of life-critical medical equipment and supplies such as oxygen and medicines must be accounted for in real time.
2. Asset Management
Assets range from forklifts to trucks and trailers, each of which contributes to the smooth and continuous functioning of a transportation fleet. Mobile technology and the applications they support, track and report their locations and when they are expected to return to the company yard or distribution center. This timing information is critical to schedule loading and unloading, and the data collected by the applications is used to understand how assets are performing and when maintenance is needed.
3. Fuel Management
It’s imperative for transport companies to create the most fuel-efficient routes for their drivers through GPS-enabled route guidance. “We can create the perfect plan for mileage, but if we don’t know if the driver followed the plan, costs can be much higher than they should be,” says Lohrke. Vehicles with a telematics “black box” coupled with a wirelessly connected rugged mobile device solution, allow operations to check routes in real time. This provides information on driving habits such as rapid acceleration, idling, and speeding — all of which can increase operating costs.
4. Compliance Solutions
One aspect of the ELD mandate allows that mobile devices such as tablets or rugged handhelds can be used as long as the system as a whole meets ELD requirements. This allows drivers to not only use their mobile devices for navigation and see alerts but also to use them to perform pre and post vehicle inspections. When the mobile tablets are out of the vehicle, they are subject to adversities such as weather conditions and grease. Using industrial-grade mobile tablets or handheld devices that can withstand near constant vibration, extreme weather conditions, survive being dropped or liquid spills and be operated with heavy duty gloves on, will deliver reliable use. Consumer-oriented mobile devices are likely to fail under these conditions and possibly lead compliance issues and even fines.
5. Accurate and Timely Data Reporting
Mobile handheld computing units remove the extra-time and inaccuracies of manual record keeping, as required by the ELD mandate. Automated updates can be triggered by GPS location or time of day, and drivers can enter responses by touching the screen rather than writing. The results of the captured data are transmitted to the transport company’s internal applications wirelessly and become part of the driver-vehicle inspection report (DVIR). Data can also be captured and reported on vehicle performance and maintenance, allowing more proactive and efficient scheduling for service versus dealing with unexpected breakdowns. Results from the data collected by mobile devices can be evaluated by safety supervisors and driver managers, then shared with drivers to address areas of concern, thereby keeping them and their cargo safe and in compliance with regulations.
6. Driver/Employee Safety
Mobile solutions allow drivers to receive critical alerts on weather, road conditions or traffic as well as other timely information updates from dispatchers. Flexible mounting options allow positioning of screens so drivers can see them without being distracted from their view of the road.
Is your mobile fleet management & ELD solution ready to reliably meet these 6 core competencies and comply with the ELD mandate? Purpose-built, rugged mobile device solutions are essential to increase efficiencies, decrease downtime being in compliance. Visit us online for more information on equipping your fleet with rugged mobile devices to improve your fleet operations.