Can you believe that we’re already halfway through 2019? In just a few short months, the trucking industry has seen the ebb and flow of several trends, with more to come in the second half of the year.
We take a look back at some of the year’s top stories.
Probably one of the most talked-about trucking news stories this year is the easing of restrictions that dictate how long drivers can be on the road without pulling over for a mandatory rest period.
While this means more trucks on the road and a boosted bottom line for fleet owners, it can also mean drivers could struggle to get enough rest. Remote fleet management is crucial for keeping an eye on fatigue or hours logged — a move that can support on-the-road safety.
Driving talent shortages
As the trucking industry grew and veteran drivers retired in waves, fleet managers faced increasing demand for driver talent. It’s estimated that there are nearly 50,000 truck driving jobs unfilled with several factors contributing to these gaps.
For fleet teams that are running a skeleton crew, it’s crucial to use data from vehicles to optimize schedules. It’s also important to keep an eye on driving hours and idle time to find opportunities to reduce costs and widen margins.
An increase in industry volume and a competitive job market have fueled a boost in average driver pay. Not only is this move meant to keep truckers loyal to fleets, but it can also help attract younger drivers and change the dynamic of the emerging workforce.
Another benefit of raising pay is the reduction of turnover — something that’s not new to fleet managers but can be especially frustrating during times when driver demand is high and fleets remain competitive to attract the top talent.
Maintenance gets predictive
Tightening budgets, driver shortages, rising fuel costs — these are all prompting fleet managers to find as many ways as possible to grow their margins. Predictive maintenance can offer that opportunity.
Using sensors that relay data to easy-to-use dashboards can spot problems in real-time and deploy repairs before they become serious. Your remote management solution should also take that data and transform it into actionable opportunities to avoid downtime.
An exploding e-Commerce industry and the “Amazon effect” have turned the logistics industry — and trucking — on its head. Shoppers want their items fast and cheap, shining a spotlight on last-mile delivery.
Even for drivers of last-mile deliveries, it’s important to keep a close and consistent eye on idle time during drop-offs, optimized routes for fuel savings, and delivery schedules that keep your best trucks and drivers on the road.
Focus on driver health
Driver health was one of the biggest factors in changing restrictions that mandate drivers pull over after a maximum amount of hours on the road. Sleep apnea is the most commonly discussed challenge , but obesity and heart health are also risks that drivers face.
Making sleeper cabs healthier or plugging in an apnea device could mean an increase in idle time, so keep an eye on driver data to see which vehicles could use help reducing idling or optimizing power use and cutting fuel costs.
Although less mainstream than other trends, some major fleets are already using blockchain and experts say it could be a standard practice in the next few years. Blockchain offers transparency in the supply chain, consistent data, and information that can’t easily be tampered with.
Your fleet may not be utilizing blockchain now, but as you upgrade your tech and business processes over the next few months, it’s worth considering implementing on some level.
While ELDs have had their time in the spotlight (and will again with the restrictions easing) other tech innovations have helped shape the industry in the last few months. Dashboard cameras, maintenance sensors, innovative GPS trackers and more are also changing the industry.
ELD tech on its own has been a hotly contested topic as restrictions have been changed, relaxed, and changed again, but they’re much easier to use as a tool to track driver data and leverage it for your fleet to grow.
As we head into the second half of the year, it’s important to take a closer look at your fleet’s goals — and how you can meet (and exceed) them by taking advantage of trends that are shaping the industry.