How Will Telematics Transform the Modern Supply Chain
Today’s consumers expect goods to be delivered faster and on shorter notice than ever before. For the logistics industry, meeting these demands for greater flexibility and agility has required change, where it’s the adoption of lean logistics principles or the use of Industry 4.0 technology.
Novel telematics technology, powered by recent developments like Internet of Things (IoT) devices and artificial intelligence, are already helping the supply chain satisfy the needs of a growing and accelerating global economy.
This technology could revolutionize logistics in the near future, and here’s how.
Key Benefits and the Impact of Vehicle Telematics
One of the most significant obstacles logistics companies have faced has been the difficulty of tracking vehicle location, health and performance. New telematics technology can help businesses overcome this obstacle by vastly expanding the amount of accessible information on trucks and driver behaviors.. New telematics technology can help businesses overcome this obstacle by vastly expanding the amount of accessible information on trucks and driver behaviors.
GPS trackers can continuously track a vehicle’s location. Other telematics devices can communicate directly with internal car modules, like an engine or battery control unit. This provides a company with direct access to information on the engine health and performance of fleets.
With the speeds offered by 5G, these devices can transmit information in near real-time to the cloud, providing telematics data to the fleet owner and their business partners. The technology has a wide range of applications for logistics companies. Better knowledge of a driver’s current location and behavior can provide more accurate estimates of when a shipment will arrive.
GPS and engine data can also help businesses conform to new regulations like anti-idling laws. If a vehicle remains parked in the same place for long enough while the engine is active, the system can automatically alert the driver and log an idling event. Having a direct line to car data can also be extraordinarily helpful for technicians wanting to maximize the lifespan of fleet vehicles.
On the road, telematics systems can provide a great deal of information to drivers. Some can continuously monitor and report diagnostic trouble codes. Vehicle operators and the technician they work with can instantly know if an illuminated check engine light is caused by something like a loose gas cap or a much more serious problem.
Typically, this information is only accessible via an OBDII reader or code scanner, which may provide codes without explaining what they mean. The telematics solution makes this data more accessible and useful to non-technicians.
Early notification on potential vehicle issues can help fleet managers avoid or mitigate some of the most common maintenance issues in semitrucks and similar vehicles.
Transparency, Traceability and Data-Sharing
Telematics makes it possible to create a log of all information relevant to an order while it was in transit — where it was, what conditions it was exposed to and even the speed it was traveling while in the care of a particular driver.
As a business grows, this information can help managers coordinate an increasingly complex network of drivers, fleet headquarters and vehicles. It can also help companies improve the transparency and traceability of their logistics network.
Data gathered on drivers and shipment location can be provided to business partners, allowing them a real-time view of where critical items are while in transit. This information can also be stored for later use — like providing someone with a fuller picture of how a shipment moved from point A to point B after the fact.
In other cases, IoT can also help provide businesses with more information about how goods are shipped. IoT temperature sensors can supplement an existing telematics solution to provide real-time updates on the temp inside a vehicle.
This information can enable drivers to take quick action if storage temperatures move out of a safe range during transportation. Stored data from a particular shipment can also resolve conflicts if a product spoils while in transit. Temperature information can determine exactly when an item spoiled and more accurately pinpoint who may have been at fault. This technology can reduce the scale of recalls and prevent them from happening in the first place.
Similar devices measuring in-vehicle conditions like humidity and vibration can provide additional information to drivers and managers. This data can help them optimize storage and transportation conditions — reducing the risk that packages are damaged while in transit or sent at suboptimal conditions.
Optimizing Processes With Telematics Data
The data gathered by telematics devices can have value long after the moment in which it was generated. The rise of artificial intelligence and big data analytics means the massive amount of information produced by telematics systems can be analyzed to uncover insights that may have been impossible to find with conventional analytic approaches. This includes moment-to-moment information on driver behavior, location and engine performance.
For example, real-time information on driver routes and vehicle health can be used to create route optimization algorithms that use traffic data and driver behavior information to plan the fastest way to a destination. It could also be used to determine roadways that minimize gas consumption.
Data from deliveries can also be aggregated and used to create new planning algorithms in the long run. They can help companies develop more accurate estimates of how long a particular delivery will take based on available information like drivers available, driving behavior, traffic and weather conditions.
These improved estimates can ensure on-time deliveries and reduce the risk that a company commits to orders they cannot fill in a timely fashion.
Telematics Paves the Way for a More Efficient Supply Chain
Novel telematics technology, assisted by innovations in IoT and AI, greatly increases the amount of data that logistics companies have access to. A business can plug directly into their fleet vehicles with the right solution, allowing them access to truck health and sensor data.
Other telematics devices, like GPS trackers and temperature sensors, can provide additional information on the location of a shipment or the environmental conditions it may be in.
This information will allow businesses across the sector uncover new insights and develop algorithms that can optimize route planning and fleet management.
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