Telematics: The Fastest Growing Technology Sector for Trucking

At one time, technology was thought of as a utility. Today it’s more like a competitive weapon. That according to Scott Klosoky, principal at the consulting firm Future Point of View, who told an audience at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) that we are in the midst of a historical transformation when it comes to technology.

Technology has become so important, Klosoky says, that it will determine who wins and who loses.

Klosoky noted that you don’t necessarily have to be on the bleeding edge of technology adoption, but you should try to be on the leading edge. To do that, you need to start exploring the benefits and challenges of various technologies, and the sooner the better.

So what kinds of things should you be focusing on? The most obvious is telematics. If you are not using telematics devices in your trucks today, you are behind the curve. Derek Kaufman, managing partner at Schwartz Advisors and president of C3 Network, calls telematics the fastest growing technology sector in trucking.

At HDAW, Kaufman suggested that when determining the ROI on your telematics devices, you need to consider a variety of factors. The navigation capability of telematics helps with routing and out-of-route miles, and if you are using telematics for this alone, you will still see significant productivity gains.

But telematics can do much more. It enables electronic logs, which will soon be required on all commercial vehicles that currently are required to keep paper logs.

It also allows you to track your trucks’ locations which helps manage unauthorized use and can be essential in quickly locating an asset that has been stolen. Some even see telematics as a deterrent to theft.

A big win for telematics is their allowing for remote diagnostics and service scheduling. Knowing exactly what is wrong with the truck streamlines the repair process and gets the truck back on the road faster, important for a business where uptime is the name of the game.

With telematics, you can monitor driver behavior, especially in areas like percent of time idling, time in cruise control, etc. This type of data can be used to train drivers to drive more efficiently.

Telematics is the platform on which other technologies will be based. Examples such as vehicle-to-vehicle communication which enables platooning, and digital short-range communication that can relay data from moving vehicles and enable wireless roadside inspection, all are dependent on telematics devices.

While there are a host of technologies currently available on the horizon for trucking, telematics is the one you need to invest in now. If not, you’ll soon become what Klosky calls “a laggard.” Get moving!

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