In this era of drastic digital transformation, new information technologies have opened up numerous opportunities in the transport industry. Indeed, the complexity, scale, and scope of business technology have advanced at an exponential rate.
Improved accessibility to sophisticated technology facilitates a thriving digital culture that becomes a source of competitive advantages across all company functions—recruiting, sales, training, sourcing, marketing, and so much more.Because of these new technologies, transport companies can now enjoy a better work environment, operating models, and customer experiences.
By offering an attractive basis for differentiation, innovation, and improving cost efficiency, synergy between business processes and technology is no longer optional. It is a must-have.
So how can I.T. improve the business strengths of your transportation company?
#1: Improved Data Management
With the relentless digitization of society and business, companies now have access to large amounts of data. Specifically:
Through information technology, transportation companies can leverage this data to improve operational efficiency and provide better customer experiences. The most important thing isn’t to gather data, but to leverage it with insight and analysis.
From an organizational perspective, making use of this data requires expertise from different disciplines to collaborate together to peel back the layers of insights from your data and find the usable, actionable nuggets of information.
In this case, success doesn’t depend only on the indiscriminate application of I.T. to data; it also depends on a coherent approach of identifying and analyzing critical data that matters and then utilizing the right technology to generate actionable and relevant insights. After that, the professionals involved deliver their recommendations to key stakeholders within the value chain.
#2: Huge Savings on Labor Costs
Payroll costs cut deeply into a company’s revenues. Consequently, most companies are now looking for effective ways to reduce expenses related to supporting employees. If one of the focal points of your transportation business is on mitigating labor costs, information technology can help you to gain further savings.
Emerging tech is changing the way transport enterprises across the country work through automation. Machines are now handling some of the work that once involved many people. Machines communicate directly with each other.
One area of technology that is of particularly great help to modern transportation companies is automated online assistants. Nowadays, nearly all businesses are online. Many have a website dedicated to illustrating and explaining the services and/or products on offer by the organization. Sadly, a good number of website visitors have unanswered questions after thoroughly exploring the site. Consequently, most companies resort to employing customer service agents to field emails and calls from clients. Naturally, these agents cost money. Often, it’s impractical to offer these services 24/7. A cost-effective solution lies in automated online assistants.
#3: Improved Efficiency and Resource Management
Communication technologies are completely changing resource management. Ultimately, they’ll radically restructure how transportation companies work. For instance, it is now possible for one operator to supervise and control fleets of unmanned trucks across the globe from one location not only at a lower cost but also with lower accident rates and higher reliability than ever before.
Moreover, experts can be deployed virtually almost instantly to solve production and other issues anywhere in the world.In terms of efficiency, technology can help to either speed up the existing processes or enable new and more flexible ways of handling a job. To enhance I.T. efficiency, you can introduce things such as computer networking, mobile technology, and cloud computing.
#4: Improved Safety
Injuries and deaths in the transportation sector continue to be a major concern to business leaders, regulators, and insurance companies. According to research, the costs of these injuries and crashes amount to approximately $155 billion annually. (That figure includes medical expenses, vehicle damage, property damage, productivity losses, wage losses, etc.)
Accidents in the transportation industry can be severely damaging to the livelihood of smaller businesses. Clearly, an effective solution is necessary. When vehicles are safer, it translates to less loss of capital, fewer deaths, and fewer injuries. Embracing this need, a good number of transportation companies are turning to technology.
For instance, some are linking the use of smartphones in their units to safety programs that aim to reduce the number of crashes and accidents by limiting distractions. By doing so, companies are hoping to integrate the capabilities of smart gadgets into the vehicle so that a driver doesn’t have to be distracted by handling his or her phone while driving.
The following are three ways that tech is enhancing safety on the roads:
Apple CarPlay is one of the safety innovations that is positively affecting the transportation sector. It mainly focuses on enabling users to safely and easily navigate the functionalities of their phones while in a moving vehicle. The app also enables auto commands to communicate effortlessly with a vehicle’s control system.
It exclusively uses voice commands for basic apps such as phone calls, maps, testing, etc. The major difference between Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is the fact that the Apple solution brings with it more options for functionalities and voice commands. Nevertheless, according to most Apple supporters, more isn’t always better. According to them, added distractions aren’t necessarily an excellent idea.
Android AutoThe Android Auto system uses a dashboard display to enable a driver to keep his or her eyes fixed on the road while at the same time enjoying all the capabilities of his or her smartphone. Using this app, a driver can search Google Maps, receive/send texts, answer calls, make phone calls, and more, without taking eyes off the road.
By completing navigation and communication tasks via the dashboard instead of the phone display, the driver can keep eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times. The best attribute of this system is the fact that it is touch-free. It communicates with the driver via its audio system in such a way that communication both ways is strictly done vocally.
Other Safety Breakthroughs
When it comes to the freight rail industry, ‘’safety first’’ has always been a number one priority. New technologies such as smart sensors, ground-penetrating radar, and drones are being used along rail tracks to ensure that the entire railroad network is safe.
Another technology that’s making roads safer is automatic logging technology. This promising remedy safeguards drivers from unfortunate accidents. Once installed on commercial vehicles, the ELDs (electronic logging devices) not only record everything that takes place during a trip, it also renders documentation of the entire trip paperless. This goes a long way to help operators and managers monitor every mile.
The best part is that information is obtained and monitored in real-time. This means that when adjustments need to be made, the person in charge implements the changes immediately.
#5: Effective Targeting of Audience SegmentsTransportation businesses can take advantage of social media channels like Facebook and search engines such as Google to target different segments of their audience with highly tailored content and ads. For instance, Google enables businesses to target by keywords and demographics, along with a host of other measures.
It is also possible to remarket to users that previously visited the company’s website as well as users that are currently searching for similar transportation products.
With this kind of effective targeting, transportations firms can offer valuable and helpful information to their audience segments. Other forms of advertising or marketing, such as television commercials, reach a large yet very broad audience. Unlike these traditional forms of advertising, search advertising and online display allow organizations to cater specifically to what an audience is searching for.
#6: Cargo Tracking
Cargo theft has been and remains a serious problem. According to the FBI, annual losses stand at more than $40 billion.
Yet thanks to tech and M2M (machine-to-machine) technology, cargo and logistics, in general, are growing more secure. This mobile transmitting device is attached to the cargo allowing operators to monitor and track the cargo throughout the journey via global wireless communications and system technology. In case there’s any attempt to interfere with the device or cargo, the gadget sends an alert signal to the relevant authority immediately initiating a response.
Carriers that benefit from this system include vessels, aircraft, rail trains, and trucks. The system offers a real-time location of both the cargo and container. You can rest assured that your truck and cargo are always safe no matter the time of day or night. Unauthorized intrusion into the cargo, or even things such as temperature changes beyond normal ranges, absence of a driver, or excessive mechanical shock are all reported in real-time.
The three main things that such a system checks include:
#7: Business Analytics and Cloud-Based ComputingOften, people associate the word “technology” mainly with gadgets, devices, and hardware. But more than ever, the technology that is changing the business world is new software and applications.
The huge rise in enhancements and capabilities in architecture for business analytics and cloud-based computing has dramatically affected the transportation industry. RFID, telematics, and other technologies have, for many years now, offered plenty of data that transportation companies could use. However, few transportation companies had the capabilities to access and organize that data, let alone perform complex analytics.
Today, the sophistication of data architecture and software now allows all data to be efficiently manipulated and controlled to generate process flow and a detailed status of activities. It also enables companies to come up with suggestive and predictive advice to proactively enhance operations as well as combat problems before they occur.
#8: Improved Networking and Communication
Improved network communications can drastically enhance market logistics operations by connecting members of the supply chain. An effective manner of reducing lead times and increasing productivity is through sharing crucial operational and market information. One integrated network has the ability to support a logistics chain that’s able to respond rapidly to new opportunities or change.
With any transportation network, there are exporters, importers, freight forwarders, carriers, transportation hubs and routes, service operations, distribution centers, warehouses, and vendors. The idea of optimizing all these through a network and an effective communication channel is enough to give a company a splitting headache.
Optimization not only reduces costs but also helps transportation companies to become more efficient. While some firms hire analysts to do this, others employ the greatest and latest technologies.
New technologies enable the different parties involved in a transportation network to communicate effortlessly. For instance, if, as a company, you find it prudent to integrate a new TMS (transport management system), it must be able to communicate with other relevant departments (such as the billing department). If that doesn’t happen, then inefficiencies will not only cost the company money and time but also result in an increase in the margin for error.
To be successful, a company must map out a network in order to establish the different areas that need the most improvement as well as consider how efforts in streamlining an area of the business will affect others.
In the constantly-changing, multifaceted modern business environment, technology not only helps your transportation business to improve its agility but also offers a cost-effective means to innovate your services and products.Your success depends on adopting the appropriate tools and working with the right partners while actively rolling out change and deployment. The above are some of the ways information technology can improve the business strengths of your transportation company.
Ready to look deeper into how better I.T. can increase your success? JMARK can help. We’ve been helping transportation leaders adopt technology to improve their business for over thirty years. We have offices in Springfield, Missouri and Tulsa, Oklahoma and clients throughout the nation. To learn more about how we can save you money, reduce your risks, and increase your profits, call us at 844-44-JMARK, email [email protected], or drop us a line from the Contact Us page of our website.