Weather. I’ve been in the business for over 15 years and this one still makes me think!
Weather is always in the top 3 things that fleet operators bring up when we talk about areas we can improve as a technology community. So why has this element been ignored for so long? Over the last few months CLS has been helping a large international fleet with technology planning and sourcing, and we were tasked with researching the technology available to help manage and plan for inclement weather. Surprisingly, we didn’t find anything that would really fill the gap.
We decided to map out opportunities around weather and try to understand why this is such a forgotten component today. We started with understanding the requirements, and broke these up into three areas:
Before: Much like an airline pilot checking the weather during a flight, knowing what’s to come is huge in planning and safety. Being able to predict seasonal impacts to MPG or even adjusting rating for loads based on likely delays.
During: “Merge into right lane, hands on 10 and 2, reduce speeds” (speaks the ELD system). As a trucker enters high winds, provide re-routes based on a severe snow storm in Minneapolis, or your time to spoil in Zone 3 of the refrigerated trailer is 6 minutes today due to a heat advisory. Correcting driver behavior is endless.
After: We now know that we only achieve an average of 4.9 MPG in Fargo, ND between December and February. Maybe our shippers should cover some of this added expense. “Take I-75 as we predict an 18% increase in accidents in the Detroit area this month.”
We see such an opportunity to help the industry manage weather and take one less unpredictable factor out of a razor thin margin business. This past week the CLS team filed patents on some pretty cool things that we hope to bring to market soon.
After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure.