Into the Clouds:

Automation and Technology: The Key to Thriving in the New Normal

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A lot has changed since the start of the pandemic. In only a year, almost every industry has had to adapt to new and constantly evolving regulations and safety standards. For many, this has meant quickly implementing new processes or completely pivoting operations in an effort to cope.

Now, with 12-months of hindsight, we can see that for many companies, technology and automation have contributed to survival, and in some cases even helped them thrive despite the odds. Academic institutions have moved to remote learning, many workplaces have made the transition to work-from-home, online shopping has hit an all-time high, and businesses across the globe have found creative ways to meet customer demands.

The digital shift in the transportation industry

Deemed an essential service early on, the transportation industry has played a critical role in maintaining the supply chain throughout the pandemic, ensuring we get the food, medicine, and other essential products we need. It hasn’t been an easy road for trucking companies, but some valuable learnings have emerged along the way. As stated in an article published by Deloitte:

“The crisis highlights the importance of always maintaining full visibility of their supply chains. To make this happen, control towers and tools that enable managers to predict and analyze supply chain disruptions will become essential. T&L partners that can adapt and provide versatile solutions will emerge as winners.” 

IoT fleet and asset tracking solutions can help provide the visibility that companies need to limit disruptions, increase efficiency, and optimize operations. These cloud-based solutions utilize GPS tracking, IoT sensor technology and cellular connectivity to provide real-time visibility into the location and condition of trucks, trailers, and the cargo within.

Here are a few of the ways IoT technology is helping businesses in the transportation industry stay on track:

  • Dispatchers have access to real-time information on the location of all fleet vehicles, enabling them to make better schedule decisions and respond to issues quickly
  • Driving routes are optimized with help from GPS data so good are delivered in a timely manner
  • Geofencing enables dispatch and management to monitor when their drivers arrive at or leave a depot or customer’s location. This helps provide more accurate ETAs, and helps track who employees are coming in contact with throughout the workday
  • IoT sensors enable trailer cargo volume and available floor space to be tracked, which helps reduce empty drive miles and partial loads
  • Cargo temperature can also be tracked in real-time with automatic notifications sent to the driver and office when temptations go outside of range. This helps to ensure the efficacy of pharmaceutical products and reduce spoilage of perishable goods
  • Door open and close status can be monitored so dispatch and management can understand load and unload times and react quickly when unauthorized activity occurs.

We aren’t at the end of this pandemic yet so it will be a while before we understand the full implications of the changes to the transportation industry. However, it’s safe to assume that there’s no going back. The processes and technologies that are being implemented out of necessity now are very likely here to stay. Even in non-pandemic times, the real-time visibility, increased efficiency and productivity afforded by technology can only be seen as beneficial for any transportation company. 

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