Continuous Improvement for your Transportation

Fleet Management|Blogs
commercial van in city

Commercial transportation is one of the largest industries in the world, fulfilling the logistical needs of all types of businesses daily. From semi-trucks hauling large volumes of freight across state lines to sprinter vans driving through the city completing scheduled deliveries at restaurants, commercial vehicles are constantly in motion.

Because of this, preventive maintenance is one of the highest priorities for fleet managers. Additionally, experts are working tirelessly to explore areas of continuous improvement in transportation to keep operations running smoothly and reduce waste.

In this article, we’ll look at the multifaceted aspects of commercial transportation and why ongoing enhancements for vehicles, data and analytics, routing, scheduling, and other pivotal areas are crucial for the long-term growth and sustainability of logistics.

The Importance of Optimizing Vehicle Efficiency

Well-built vehicles can handle years of driving without breaking down, but still require regular maintenance to combat wear and tear. Just the same, components such as engines, braking systems, and transmissions have undergone various changes over the years to keep up with changing technology, regulations, and automotive trends. Additionally, auto parts have been upgraded to:

  • Enhance fuel efficiency
  • Reduce environmental impact
  • Increase safety for drivers
  • Improve visibility behind the wheel
  • Provide more user-friendly capabilities for newer drivers

While most commercial vehicles, from trucks to vans, utilize internal combustion engines (ICE) running on unleaded and diesel fuels, more companies are investing in electric vehicles (EV) powered by cutting-edge batteries to eliminate emissions. For instance, once Ryder introduced BrightDrop electric vehicles to its rental fleet, more customers were capable of maximizing uptime and profits while minimizing the cost of their investment.

Autonomous vehicles have also been recently introduced to the market. Often referred to as “self-driving vehicles,” these trucks and cars offer partial or full automation through advanced technology that monitors and detects changes in the environment for safety. Autonomous vehicles are capable of steering, accelerating, and braking under light or heavy traffic conditions. Although the U.S. Department of Transportation has authorized many of these top-rated vehicles for legal use, they’re still being cautiously adopted by consumers; only time will determine if there’s a full shift to behind-the-wheel automation.

Why Enhance Scheduling and Timeliness

Continuous improvement in transportation doesn’t just involve the commercial vehicles on the road. It also involves processes and operations that are overseen by fleet managers. One of the most critical factors is scheduling maintenance and keeping timeliness a top priority. Efficient maintenance scheduling allows drivers and businesses to meet customer demands and minimize delays. In turn, brands are more likely to maintain a strong, positive reputation that builds and retains loyalty with their customers.

Streamlined scheduling requires thorough, constant communication. In the past, fleet managers, clients, and drivers had to rely on emails or phone calls to stay connected, and these methods had the potential to create costly gaps in miscommunication. Fortunately, third-party logistics (3PL) providers like Ryder utilize real-time tracking systems such as RyderGyde™ to view updates at any given moment. That means customers are informed of any changes in delivery times. Plus, these data systems allow logistics professionals to use predictive analytics to optimize scheduling and foresee potential disruptions.

Why Are Data and Analytics Important

From an outside perspective, some individuals may believe that transporting goods is as easy as driving a truck from point A to point B. But, it is much more complicated than making a delivery.

A successful business thrives off a strong strategy in place, and this concept is no different for logistics professionals. Any decision made in the world of e-commerce, logistics, and trucking can impact profits, expenses, employee retention, customer loyalty, safety, and many other factors. Simply put, choices cannot be made blindly; instead, data-driven decision-making is crucial to avoid risky, detrimental consequences.

Companies that leverage data and analytics in their daily operations are more likely to have a competitive advantage in the market. For example, when two separate businesses rely on a fleet to make routine deliveries, the business with a higher focus on analytics will, presumably, observe data that encourages them to keep up on preventive maintenance. With this in mind, the business that doesn’t utilize analytics as often may have more downtime on their vehicles, and this can mean less jobs when compared to their competitor. In other words, companies must build a strategy centered around statistical, analytical insights to future-proof their business for success.

Smart Routing for Cost and Time Savings

Have you ever wondered how your GPS-enabled device is able to provide you with an immediate ETA of your destination, as well as any updates pertaining to accidents or road closures? This is through satellite technology and machine learning algorithms that gather evolving trends and historical or real-time data to accurately predict traffic patterns. And, as more individuals start driving autonomous vehicles, it has become more important than ever to develop and optimize smart routing systems to keep drivers safe.

Utilizing machine learning algorithms and the latest advancements in software, experts can gather crucial information from real-time tracking tools such as traffic management systems to gain a full oversight of dynamic traffic patterns that help drivers modify their commute and adapt to any changes. In turn, this creates the following benefits:

  • Reduced fuel costs
  • Decreased travel time
  • Increased safety
  • Fewer carbon emissions

Adapting to Regulatory Changes

Another area of the commercial transportation industry that is continuously improved is evolving regulations that impact drivers and fleet managers. Every year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) makes changes that are designed to keep roads running safely and efficiently, plus provide fair working conditions for transportation professionals. These areas include standards that involve the environment, labor, skills and competency, and compensation. Regulatory changes are commonly updated, so it’s important for companies to stay agile and continuously adapt to compliance requirements.

Embracing Sustainability Practices

Although commercial vehicles are essential to economical and societal needs, long-term exposure to the gas emissions produced can have a damaging effect on the environment. This concern has become increasingly prevalent and there has been a growing importance for more sustainability in the transportation sector. Fortunately, many transportation specialists are stepping up and instituting carbon offset programs, or adding eco-friendly commercial vehicles that use alternative fuels to their fleets.

How Can Working With a 3PL Help You?

Running a business requires a lot of hard work, time, and commitment to achieve significant growth. For companies that oversee various procedures on the floor and behind the desk, it can be difficult for executives to allocate time to their transportation needs without a dedicated fleet manager. That’s where a 3PL like Ryder can help. Third-party logistics providers handle the daily operations involved with fleet management, and are ideal for business owners whose specialty lies outside of logistics expertise.

From embracing advanced vehicle technologies to leveraging data for informed decision-making, companies that prioritize ongoing enhancements position themselves for long-term success in an ever-evolving landscape.

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