Whether we’d like to admit it, mobile phones are an important part of our personal and professional lives. From communication with loved ones, customers, and employees to reading news and performing transactions, we would be lost without our phones. Joe Scioscia of software development company VAI discusses why mobile phones should be integrated into truck fleets.
MWS: WHAT STRIDES ARE MOBILE DEVICES MAKING IN THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY?
SCIOSCIA: In the world of trucking, staying connected is vital in order to track deliveries, update schedules, and stay in touch with drivers. As fleets look to become more interconnected, truckers are increasingly leveraging mobile devices with applications to automate processes.
The trucking industry relies heavily on technology of all kinds, from GPS trucking and routing to remote sensors for monitoring engine conditions and plans for autonomous trucks in the future. To use technology solutions from any location, fleet managers began to familiarize themselves with mobile applications, which are now central to fleet and warehouse connectivity. In fact, the rapid adoption of these applications through mobile devices within the trucking space is changing everything from fuel purchases and route navigation to freight shipment invoicing.
MWS: HOW WOULD FLEETS BENEFIT FROM THIS TECHNOLOGY VS THEIR EXISTING OPERATIONS?
SCIOSCIA: Historically, fleet managers have manually sorted and mapped out truck routes or used dedicated GPS devices. Over time, this method has proven to be insufficient due to the amount of orders that come in and out of warehouses every day. By switching to mobile devices that use mobile applications such as mobile order entry, companies can dramatically reduce miles and driver overtime, increase customer service satisfaction, enhance driver performance and accountability, and maximize driver and equipment productivity.
At the same time as getting rid of manual paper trails, drivers can handle their day-to-day schedule, such as stops, provide proof of delivery with a POD application, and deal with inconsistencies in a timely manner.
MWS: WHAT IMPACT WILL MOBILE DEVICES AND APPLICATIONS HAVE ON TRUCK ROUTING?
SCIOSCIA: For companies with their own truck fleet, managing drivers and stops, inventory allocations, vehicle capacity limits, stacking restrictions, and more must be performed under tight time constraints.
With a mobile route management application, managers can use their devices to organize routes and ensure that warehouse pickers and truck drivers have the right information, minimizing breakage and maximizing efficiency. Through a route management application, orders that are released to the warehouse can be cued up in a route manager screen—which can display key metrics drivers should be aware of when transporting supplies. From this application, a user can change the trailer for more capacity, manage stops, allocate inventory, view shorts, allow item substitutions, and much more, such as geofencing. This not only helps drivers improve their routes, but it provides warehouse employees with full visibility into what products are still on the trucks and which still have to be delivered—enabling more insight into the driver’s bandwidth.
MWS: WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR DAY-TO-DAY MOBILE DEVICE USE FOR FLEETS?
SCIOSCIA: Mobile applications will continue to evolve, expand, and offer increasing opportunities for fleets as they continue to manage their day-to-day processes. With more and more companies embracing mobile to run operations and improve productivity, fleets can use mobile to reach their maximum optimization level—ultimately scaling business and increasing customer satisfaction.
As more progress is made to mobile applications, fleets will be able to use mobile devices to streamline processes, increase accuracy, simplify inspections, optimize routing, and switch to paperless documentation, enhancing all aspects of fleet management. Wireless devices will also be equipped with purpose-built apps that can be carried or dashboard mounted to complete a variety of tasks seamlessly, advancing the way fleets manage orders. As more mobile devices are used and applications created, the trucking industry will soon rely on mobile for various aspects of their business.
MWS: WHAT DO TRUCK MANUFACTURERS HAVE TO DO TO STREAMLINE MOBILE DEVICE USAGE ACROSS THEIR FLEETS?
SCIOSCIA: In order to streamline mobile device use, truck manufacturers need to ensure that mobile applications meet the needs of both truck drivers and warehouse workers.
Truck manufacturers need to have electronic infrastructure to support today’s various mobile devices. As orders are placed to warehouses, employees must be able to process those orders, pull them, and easily update driver’s routes so they are aware of upcoming pickups and deliveries. Through integrated applications, updates can be sent directly to the driver’s mobile device screen, allowing them to reorganize the trailer to add more capacity, manage stops, allocate inventory, view shorts, allow item substitutions, and more. These powerful mobile applications will allow managers to view the status of each route and the picking progress in real time.
Fleet operators must also make sure their mobile devices can be used online and offline. If disconnected from the internet, fleets can continue to use their mobile devices in an offline setting. Once connectivity is restored, the device applications should automatically synchronize data with the company’s server—updating warehouse employees in real time and streamlining operations. This will help all managers and drivers stay up to date and enhance processes.
MWS: ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS?
SCIOSCIA: The trucking industry is transforming. In turn, warehouse employees and fleet managers must work together to increase visibility and properly track where products are distributed. Mobile devices will be critical for work truck operators keeping track of their projects and responsibilities.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Joe Scioscia is the vice president of sales at VAI. His responsibilities include both direct and indirect sales, worldwide field support, field strategy and planning, sales operations, and product development. Joe has sold enterprise management solutions to distribution and manufacturing companies for more than 25 years, and he has helped some of the industry’s most recognized companies improve efficiencies and responsiveness. Joe is an IBM Certified Specialist and has spoken at numerous events as a subject matter expert.