Logistics businesses are crucial to the integration of the economy because of their transportation services. Trucks, trailers, ships, freight, and various other vehicles travel all through the day and for several days at a stretch to get goods from one place to another. In such a business, the assets transported must reach the destination safely: without damage, without deteriorating en route, and without getting stolen.
A lot of logistics businesses are incorporating various technological devices like telematics to monitor their vehicles and goods when they are being transported. This article focuses on some methods businesses can employ to ensure the safety of transported assets.
What Businesses Should do to Ensure Safety of Assets
In recent times, vehicle manufacturers, logistics business managers, and customers are all increasingly giving importance to the integration of technology like the Internet of Things (IoT) and transport vehicles. This is because the onus is on everyone to transport goods safely from place to place. Given below are eight techniques that businesses should follow to make use of technology for this purpose.
1. GPS Tracking of Vehicles
This is the simplest way companies can keep track of the goods and the vehicle that carries it: using a GPS tracker attached to the vehicle. Knowing where the vehicle is, which checkpoints it passes, how long it takes to go from one transit point to another are details that will tell you whether the driver/vehicle is sticking to the planned route and timing.
GPS sensors can also instruct the drivers to take the route with minimum traffic and minimum risk (based on the history of accidents and robberies, say). This further ensures quick and safe movement of goods.
2. Asset Trackers
Tracking vehicles tells you the location of the truck or ship but doesn’t convey any information about the asset itself. Asset trackers are of two types: one is for location tracking but just for the container or trailer, which contains the goods. This is useful when multiple trucks have to carry the same trailer, or if the container is to be stored in a warehouse overnight, or if only the asset is stolen.
The other type of tracker is a sensor that typically measures something else, like temperature or radiation. If the vehicle transports something like biological samples where the temperature needs to be carefully regulated at all times or a radioactive material that can potentially release radiation, sensors come into play to alert the concerned parties.
3. Driver Monitoring
Drivers are humans, after all, and hence, they can get sleepy or distracted during the journey. Driver monitoring systems consist of a camera mounted on the steering column that scans the driver’s eyes to sense any unusual behavior that could potentially result in an accident. Generally, this triggers warning lights and sounds to alert the driver, and, if there is still no action, brings the vehicle to a forced halt.
4. Driver Training Programmes
Safety is an important factor in the transportation sector, and one such measure of this is the compliance, safety, accountability (CSA) score that is assigned to carriers that move on the road. Careful hiring of drivers, giving them proper broker training, and maintaining the vehicles well will keep the CSA score under control (on a scale of 0 to 100, 100 indicates the worst performance).
Driving simulation software, analysis of dashcam footage, reconstruction of accidents can all be used to train the drivers on the practices of driving so that they have a good safety record.
5. Predictive Maintenance
Every vehicle, particularly heavy-duty ones like trucks, need regular maintenance. But the common problem is that drivers and managers often ignore this because they want to make more trips, and maintenance will lead to more downtime.
Telematics systems in vehicles can keep track of engine parameters and correctly predict when the next maintenance needs to be done. This will make sure that the vehicle doesn’t unexpectedly break down during a trip. The managers can be prepared to reassign drivers or vehicles to cover the one undergoing maintenance.
6. Accident and Emergency Alerts
Devices like fleet dash cams and trackers, as well as regular maintenance, are intended to prevent accidents from happening, but measures must also be taken in case an accident does occur. Based on the damage, there must be a manual or automatic trigger that alerts some manager in the company, nearby truck drivers, and mechanics in the area. Managers can then take a call on whether another truck should take over the transportation or if they should wait for the repair and also asses the damage to the goods if any.
7. Autonomous Vehicles
This is a method where the human factor and accidents are eliminated. This recent technology involving autonomous vehicles, drones, in particular, is being used to deliver goods over short distances like within the same city. Semi-autonomous trucks, where a human is in the truck only to monitor the automated system, have already been employed by some companies to travel long distances.
The major advantage is the speed of delivery because there would be no rest breaks or food breaks, and the accuracy of the AI driver would be much more than a human.
8. Analysis of Data
The various sensors and devices collect a wealth of data that logistics companies can analyze and use to improve transportation services in the future. This can be related to drivers (assign a rating to each driver and put the higher-rated ones for priority trips), vehicles, or routes (optimal routes for repeated trips).
For example, GPS trackers, combined with some analysis software, can also calculate how much fuel is being used based on the speed and idle time of the vehicle. Doing this can optimize fuel consumption during the journey, ensuring minimum stopovers.
Does Your Business Carry Out These Steps?
If you are a part of or own a logistics or fleet management business, the safety of transported goods would be one of your top priorities. If you needed an idea of how you could ensure goods go safely from one place to another, these eight tips would have surely been useful to you. Get the CSA score of your carriers up and improve your business right away!
Infographic created by Track Your Truck, a GPS vehicle tracking devices provider