Trucks at Work

Getting more human factor support from data in trucking

So I got a chance to chat with Brad Taylor here in Las Vegas at the annual Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) conference – the newly-installed VP of data and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for Omnitracs.

Taylor is giving a presentation here at TCA entitled Driving Fleet Productivity With Big Data: What You Should Know, ostensibly about how fleets can gain greater efficiencies – and thus reduce costs and/or boost profits – through greater “real-time” analysis of data.

But he said one thing that gets lost in the mix in all the talk about “Big Data” and predictive analysis is the human element: What all of this means to the people driving, maintaining, and managing trucks day in and day out in this industry.

“At the end of the day, it’s really all focused on the human factors: how can we make it easier and safer for someone to do their job in trucking,” he told me.

It’s also helpful to view the technology providers as the “TurboTax” of trucking, Taylor (at right) noted; companies that are trying to make it easier for fleets remain in compliance with the ever-more complex motor carrier regulatory environment.

At its heart, TurboTax is a software package designed to make tax preparation easier and faster for individuals and businesses like – thus helping them cut the number of hours needed to spend on tax filing while reducing the chance of mistakes.

Taylor explained that in the case of electronic logging devices (ELDs), technology providers like Omnitracs and others are trying to craft systems that will comply with the many facets of hours of service (HOS) regulations while minimizing he hassle for drivers and fleets alike.

“The idea is that instead of the driver or fleet manager trying to get all the pieces of the puzzle to fit, the technology does it for them,” he noted.

That is part of what Taylor calls “demystifying” the regulatory compliance process so fleets can focus on making themselves better from a safety and profitability standpoint – so the people involved gain a safer work environment and one that returns more profit for the better met of all involved.

It will be interesting to see how deep the roots of this particular philosophy will go in this industry.

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