Like we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, keeping up with technology can be extremely challenging -- especially if you’re a smaller fleet looking to grow strategically. Timing and resources are everything. If you adopt one as soon as it hits the market, you could end up paying more than necessary AND may subject yourself to an unreliable technology with too many bugs. On the flip side, waiting too long could mean that you lose the competitive advantages these new technologies could provide your fleet. Having a good partner as your back office, like a factoring company, who has its eye on new technologies can reduce that risk and allow you to focus on the business of moving freight.
If we were to look into a crystal ball to see what the future of trucking technology could hold, there are three technologies that we believe all progressive fleet owners should keep an eye on:
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
RPA doesn’t actually involve robots. It’s the use of software designed to take on the repetitive tasks that take up a large portion of our employees’ time. Think of the incredible amount of paperwork and manually entered data your team inputs every day to ensure the right cargo gets to the right place at the right time while still adhering to all the necessary regulations. Now, imagine what would happen if those cargo manifests, customs declarations, delivery dockets, and warehouse inventories were all computerized and automated.
A good RPA can potentially free up your best employees to do more of the things that humans excel at (and computers don’t) like solving problems, dealing with unexpected events, thinking creatively, and managing people effectively. Removing repetitive, manual processes could allow employees to focus on more complex tasks that add value to the organization.
Blockchain is a decentralized ledger of transactions. In other words, it’s a fancy form of digital record keeping that can’t be tampered with, changed, or deleted because all the transactions are digitally encrypted and recorded. Blockchain ledgers also ensure that every data point is verified by all the parties in a transaction. This means data is consistent across the supply chain and is completely transparent to all the parties involved.
In the trucking industry, blockchain can potentially provide an instant audit for ELDs and truck drivers’ hours of service (HOS). Because these records cannot be modified, fleet managers would have an unchangeable version of all the data, which is invaluable for making informed decisions concerning driver performance, the need for ongoing training, truck maintenance, and more.
Even if you are not a large fleet owner, you can take advantage of the efficiencies these new technologies provide at a fraction of the cost and at no risk by working with a partner that uses these new technologies after vetting and proving they work for you. A good factoring company can provide you with all these efficiencies and none of the worry. The technologies are still emerging and you may find that working with a partner who is efficient and technology savvy may be all you need to run ahead of the pack.
Keeping up-to-date on these emerging technologies can help you determine the right time to adopt them to ensure you maximize its potential impact on your fleet’s operations. Which truck technologies have you been keeping an eye on?