There are many unanswered questions surrounding our current global situation. Our civilization relies on the trucking industry now more than ever to ensure hospitals get necessary supplies, civilians have plenty to choose from on the grocery store shelves, and that last-mile deliveries are made, whether they are delivered to private residences or essential businesses. COVID-19 has affected the trucking industry more than you may realize. Here to tell us more about it is Jonathan Bates of MiX Telematics.
MWS: CAN YOU GIVE A SUMMARY OF MIX TELEMATICS AND EXPLAIN YOUR ROLE WITH THE COMPANY?
BATES: MiX Telematics is a leading global provider of fleet and mobile asset management solutions delivered as software as a service (SaaS) to 812,000 subscribers in over 120 countries. The company’s products and services provide enterprise fleets, small fleets, and consumers with solutions for efficiency, safety, compliance, and security. MiX Telematics was founded in 1996 and has offices in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uganda, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates as well as a network of more than 130 fleet partners worldwide.
I am the head of global marketing at MiX Telematics.
MWS: HOW HAS COVID-19 AFFECTED THE DELIVERY INDUSTRY?
BATES: Truck drivers play an essential role in keeping much-needed food and supplies moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand has gone through the roof with a large portion of the world’s population confined to their homes. This means that the delivery industry faces almost daily new challenges and scenarios to plan around and is stretched to the limits.
MWS: THE FMCSA HAS RELAXED HOS RULES DURING THIS PANDEMIC. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR DRIVERS?
BATES: It means that the world is asking for even more from drivers and that we must have a firm focus on continuing to protect their safety now even more than before. Safety and productivity is a relationship that is always a delicate balance, and now that we are asking for extreme levels of productivity, we must be sure to recognize the inherent risks to drivers.
MWS: WHY IS DRIVER SAFETY MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER IN THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES?
BATES: We rely on these drivers to keep essential food and supplies moving, but we need to make sure drivers are safe on the roads. Safety has always been the primary focus for our customers, and now keeping drivers safe and healthy becomes even more important as people rely on those supplies to get where they need to go. Reducing accidents is also important as hospitals are already at capacity in most major cities.
MWS: WHY IS TELEMATICS DATA ESSENTIAL FOR DELIVERY OPERATIONS DURING COVID-19?
BATES: Telematics technology helps fleets improve safety and efficiency during the crisis in a number of important ways:
- Electronic logging eliminated the need for paper logs that used to be passed from person to person.
- Similarly, ELDs and other mobile devices/apps have enabled fleets to go entirely paperless when it comes to delivery confirmations and the like.
- Telematics data helps improve fuel efficiency and vehicle use to keep costs down.
- Telematics data also helps fleets stay on top of vehicle maintenance so that trucks are out of service less frequently.
- In-cab safety alerts (e.g., if a driver drifts into another lane) can help fatigued drivers say safe (since the FMCSA has relaxed HOS rules during the crisis).
MWS: ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS?
BATES: Visibility of operations and driver safety is paramount right now. We must be careful not to lose our values in a world that is struggling not to panic. Collectively we must use the information that is available to us to plan effectively, to react, and to use innovation to help us wherever possible.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Jonathan Bates is the head of global marketing at MiX Telematics. Jonathan has worked passionately in the fleet industry for 15 years; eight years at a leading commercial vehicle OEM and seven years at MiX Telematics. His experience spans product management and market strategy, focused on road-related safety and best practices. Find out more, visit www.mixtelematics.com.