Telematics Welcomed Despite Initial Concerns
There were those who felt Telematics brought a little too much Big Brother to logistics. But the technology has proved a hit with shippers and drivers alike.
When telematics was first introduced, there was more than a small degree of trepidation in the truck driving community, and further afield. It’s understandable – after all, if your boss happily announced that he would be “remote monitoring” you at every moment, what would you think?
For those drivers working in European groupage companies, who are charged with managing their own workload and are accustomed to being far removed from management for days or weeks at a time, the concept sounds particularly undesirable.
However, the fears that telematics would lead to fleet managers becoming over-zealous and truck drivers suffering psychological breakdowns have proved unfounded.
The most immediate benefit of telematics is that having up to the minute information about where a cargo is located and how fast it is moving provides better and more accurate information to those who need to know.
In the past, if a truck was stuck in traffic and likely to fall behind schedule, there would be calls, messages and hassle. Now, the information is right there on screen. Far from feeling stifled by the technology, drivers have found it enormously liberating.
If a delivery is running four hours late due to a snarl up on the French autoroute, the fleet manager, sender and receiver can see exactly what is happening, why it is happening and what is the revised ETA. No more panicky phone calls, and no more snide remarks to the driver about oversleeping or stopping for too many snack breaks.
A new type of trucking
Improving information for everyone in the supply chain and making the driver’s life less stressful are both undeniable pluses, but the potential benefits of telematics run far deeper, and could profoundly affect the way road fleets operate in the years to come.
Picture a scene where the location of every truck is clearly understood, and its destination mapped. Suddenly, road space can be intelligently allocated, and capacity can be used to optimise efficiency.
As things stand, road traffic is steadily increasing year on year. The rail network is already struggling to cope, and improvements there will involve billions in investment and take years to come to fruition. The roads are, at present, what we have, and experts say the rate of traffic growth is exceeding the rate at which new roads can be constructed.
Clearly, to avoid a rail-style gridlock from resulting, it is imperative to make better use of the resources that are already available, and telematics provides a way to do exactly that.
Filling the trucks
Modern innovations in groupage have already helped optimise the use of trucks to ensure they are not driving across Europe half empty, but telematics could take this to the next level by providing up-to-the-minute information on what truck has what capacity, where it is going, and when it will get there.
As Internet of Things technology continues to develop, there is even the possibility of the freight itself joining in the “conversation” by letting everyone know when it is vacating the vehicle.
The future looks like an increasingly exciting place.