What possibilities are now available for the ‘connected’ truck?
The ground-breaking world of the connected car has been well documented. But what opportunities does the same connectivity offer to owners of HGV fleets in the transport industry?
The answer is unequivocal – lots. Fleet management software has witnessed a quiet revolution over the past couple of years where integration has become the key game changer. Gone are the days when the IT team or costly IT consultants would have to be called in to help develop bespoke systems combining, for example, tracking and telematics with routing and scheduling software.
Now, the introduction of open platform systems by forward thinking telematics providers mean that integration with existing systems is easier than ever before. Supply chain planning, asset management, enterprise resource planning, invoicing software… the list of potential combined applications gets longer every month.
New tablet-style devices make life easier for both drivers out on the road and managers back in the office by combining navigation with off-the-shelf business apps that allow them to complete critical daily tasks.
Here, we look a look at some of the combined solutions which improve efficiency for HGV fleets. By allowing greater automation of key processes, each app improves workflow management and brings the mobile workforce closer to back office.
Working Time Directive compliance
Integrating telematics with tachograph management systems provides a one-stop shop for transport companies needing to comply with working time regulations. Remote downloads for driver card and mass storage of the tachograph can be scheduled automatically to ensure deadlines are not missed.
Transport operators can see figures for remaining driving time in map view in real time and are notified when a driver is due to take a break, a shift is due to end or when an infringement has been committed.
Mobile customer invoicing
Using an app’s signature capture functionality, in-built camera or near field communication chip, drivers can submit proof of their materials delivery. Integration with mobile printers then allows an invoice to be printed immediately for the customer, with proof of time on site and journey details provided by the telematics system.
Truck drivers often find it difficult to balance the need to comply with resting period legislation against knowing when and where they can take their breaks in the safest, and most comfortable, way.
Apps are now available for truck navigation devices which both remind drivers when the next stop is due and show them where suitable truck parking spots – with user reviews – are located across Europe.
Faster load weight invoicing
Integrating telematics with on-board weighing systems allows real-time weight information from vehicles to be sent directly to back office software, without vehicles having to visit weighing bridges. Tagged with vehicle location and journey data, this allows finance to raise invoices based on load weight as soon as materials have been collected.
Cold chain reporting
For cold chain operators, integration with on-board temperature controllers will allow invoices to be created which display exact temperature at different times and GPS locations throughout a journey.
Meeting duty of care obligations and improving driver safety
Vehicle checks can be conducted using a tablet-style device, with the results updated in the back office to help ensure Duty of Care obligations are met and that maintenance schedules are kept up-to-date.
Integration with on-board devices such as safety cameras and vehicle sensors can help to improve the safety of drivers and provide concrete evidence in the case of claims or complaints.