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Role of Connected Logistics in the Food and Beverage Industry

Consumer behavior has undergone a rapid change due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As consumers stayed home for the better part of 2020-21, and even beyond, their preferences, habits and expectations changed. Needless to say, like every industry, the food and beverage sector has been affected too. Nowadays, what customers expect from this industry is very different from pre-pandemic times, and these trends are here to stay.

Present challenges faced by the food and beverage industry

Health Concerns

Nowadays, consumers are extremely conscious about what they should eat and what is to be avoided. They are aware of food related disorders too. It has led to the role of food in the day-to-day progressing from beyond taste, to nutrition and wellness. 

Manufacturers have been known to add sugar or other sweeteners to products. The alarming incidence of diabetes, obesity, and allergies has led to dairy, gluten, and sugar consumption being vilified. That is why product managers are now focusing on products that don’t contain preservatives and additives.

The real challenge is to create tasty and nutritious alternatives without compromising quality of taste. Cost-effectiveness is also a crucial factor. Another trend on the rise is the demand for organic food due to positive health impact.

Meat Alternatives

A rising percentage of the population is becoming plant-forward, by reducing meat consumption. That is why, the demand for vegetarian and vegan products have gone up. Giants like SainsburyNestleandAldi are now launching meat alternatives at retail outlets. Main checkpoints include taste, texture, and nutrition. Yet another hurdle here is the time frame. With evolving expectations and demand, consumers and retailers alike are looking for new options.

Sustainability

Did you know 108 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States every year[1] , according to Feeding America? According to food and beverage market research, it shows that sustainability is one of the critical challenges faced by the industry. It is imperative to streamline the supply chain to reduce waste, while coming up with alternative methods for packaging and energy sources to minimize impact on environment.

Need for Transparency

There are several ethical concerns plaguing the food and beverage industry. That is why consumers wish to be associated with brands that maintain transparency and accountability. International and fragmented supply chains often cause gaps in traceability.  Transparency covers a wide range of aspects starting from the source of fresh produce, type of farms, employees, and working conditions, to the type of processing, packaging, and more. Large brands can cover the gaps, but tier two and three brands have a hard time. Thus, it leads to a lack of transparency across the global food supply chain.

What is the role of Connected Logistics in the food and beverage industry?

When it comes to maximizing revenue in the food and beverage industry, it is imperative to maintain a focus on transportation and logistics. Accessing real-time data round-the-clock is crucial, and IoT plays an integral role in optimizing vital logistics and transportation operations. Using Connected Logistics, it is possible to form a centralized network that gives better visibility across the supply chain, helps to capture and share important data, and much more.

Stellar Visibility

Due to end-to-end visibility, small problems can be detected immediately, which allows timely decision-making. It combines an organization’s online presence with the physical stores and enables it to collect and make data available at key points in the supply chain. Using sensor-enabled IoT solutions, the location and speed of vehicles can be monitored at all times. This technology can monitor temperatures and send warnings, thus preventing wastage of perishable/FMCG products.

Asset Management

When it comes to delivering food and beverages on time, Connected Logistics plays an integral role in managing maintenance schedules, daily vehicle usage, and service routes. It helps to minimize fleet downtime, which is possible via IoT-based devices and sensors. Real-time equipment and infrastructure monitoring can be useful for precautionary measures to avoid future risks and revenue leakage arising from perishable/FMCG spoilage. Fleet management becomes easier, safety is enhanced, insurance-related costs are reduced, and the possibilities of damaged inventory decrease.

Smart Warehousing

Storing goods and managing stock levels are very important for FMCG/perishable goods. Connected Logistics supports seamless inventory organization by ensuring clear-cut transparency in several operations. IoT-enabled sensors help to keep tabs on inventory items, along with status and position. It monitors optimum temperature so products don’t get spoiled. If a particular unit has experienced a temperature drop or rise, the sensor sends out a warning right away. Connected logistics helps in smart warehousing to ensure the safe storage of items, which prevents losses.

Completion of Tasks on Time

Connected Logistics helps to identify bottlenecks that could cause the breakdown of assets. Using predictive and condition-based maintenance, it is possible to measure and analyze parameters that define the performance of vehicles. Thus patterns related to breakdown can be predicted. Real-time alert systems can be used to trigger warnings about unexpected malfunctions, which can be avoided via condition-based maintenance. It ensures there are no unprecedented delays in delivery, so customer satisfaction isn’t compromised. Predictive applications help to execute timely delivery operations.

How Anstel Connected Logistics can help?

For any company in the food and beverage industry, timing and efficiency is a must. Managing a facility with products coming in and going out can be a tough task without proper solutions. To streamline processes and increase productivity, Anstel’s Connected Logistics can be of immense help. It provides real-time fleet data and simplifies day-to-day tasks while helping companies boost revenue and cut down costs.

Tracking Inventory

When transporting food and beverage items, especially perishable goods, it is important that deliveries are made on schedule. Using sophisticated tracking technology, fleet managers view the location of vehicles in real-time and see where they have been throughout the day, week, or month. Automated alerts can be set up to send instant notifications when vehicles enter or exit specified locations, with the geofencing feature. Thus, fleet managers can ensure products are being picked up and dropped off without delays.

Monitoring Temperatures

There are several regulations in place when it comes to the safe transportation of perishable items. To ensure food and beverage safety, certain products must be kept in a refrigerated unit at specific temperatures.  Anstel’s Connected Logistics solutions can help to monitor temperatures using sensors. If temperatures move outside of a specified range, fleet managers receive an immediate alert.

Remote monitoring is an added advantage during the pandemic, with distancing still being the need of the hour. Thanks to advanced sensors, fleet managers can keep tabs on inventory at all times. They can view a record of temperature readings for a particular time period as well. It helps to reduce product loss and improve shipment quality.

Driver Safety

Driver efficiency and optimized routes are a must to ensure flawless operation of the supply chain. Using real-time information, along with synchronized alerts, fleet managers can keep an eye on driving patterns. Be it harsh braking, rapid acceleration, or any other sign of reckless/aggressive driving, the system triggers a warning right away.

Customer Satisfaction

Supply chain management won’t work without on-time delivery, which negatively impacts customer satisfaction. Monitoring the performance of vehicles in their fleet allows food and beverage companies to identify problems such as common reasons for the breakdown of trucks during deliveries. They are able to predict patterns and make smart decisions regarding maintenance schedules, so customer satisfaction and on-time delivery are never affected.

Food and logistics professionals can improve operational efficiency while boosting revenue and decreasing costs using Anstel’s Connected Logistics solutions. There will be plenty of future advancements when it comes to functionality and features, designed specifically for this industry, thanks to the rapid growth of the telematics industry.

How does Telematics Help the Auto Insurance Industry?

Over the past decade, the auto insurance industry has hardly utilized telematics data to their advantage and also pass on further discounts to users. However with Autonautics it is going to undergo a massive change now. 

Telematics data from Connected Fleet along with user-based insurance policies is having an enormous impact on the insurance industry when it comes to claims processing and ensuring driver safety. Insurers can now get access to data, which helps them increase their frequency of interaction and proximity with customers to offer extra services, improve profit margins via specialization, and understand customer behavior and risks.

How does it work?

Telematics collects data using onboard diagnostics devices, smartphone apps, smart tags, and other devices. These devices are equipped with an advanced GPS tracking system, motion sensors that provide information regarding impact on the vehicle (like in the case of accidents), a SIM card for transmitting data, and software that controls how the data is transmitted and analyzed.

Telematics data is used to measure different aspects of a customer’s driving – it is then sent to the insurer. The company can then determine how safely the customer drives and adjust their premium accordingly. Nowadays, they are developing programs where drivers who adhere to road rules and safety standards are given rewards. Once they decide to renew the policy, telematics is used to calculate new premiums after checking the individual data about the customer's driving.

What are the benefits of telematics for the auto insurance industry?

Consumer demands regarding specialization and personalization are at an all time high. Telematics helps to develop user-based insurance (UBI) programs that match the present trend. Insurance companies use this data for assessing risk and calculating renewal premium costs. Insurers also take advantage of telematics when it comes to processing and managing claims.

Yet another area where telematics is set to play an integral role is claim triage, analytics, and loss control. In fact, few insurance companies have already invested in this technology to track down stolen vehicles, provide necessary assistance after accidents, and gain a clearer insight of accidents to recover money from the individual who is responsible for it.

It can provide contextual information regarding car accidents, which is important for the following reasons:

  • It helps reconstruct what actually happened, so customers reporting a claim know all the details (even if they are unable to recall exact details after an accident, as is often the case).
  • Telematics helps insurance companies understand how much of the claims process can be predicted and prevented.

To put it in a nutshell, telematics helps to bring down costs of vehicle insurance, while boosting road safety by increasing driver awareness.

How are insurance companies using telematics to their advantage?

OBDII Device

Companies have developed UBI programs that utilize an OBDII device plugged into the onboard diagnostic port of the car to collect mileage information and driver behavior data. Based on the collated data, customers receive coaching and feedback about their driving. If they drive safely, they can earn sizeable discounts too. 

Data Usage

Data collected using telematics can be extremely useful if you know what to do with it. Insurance telematics can offer companies a lasting competitive edge. Companies have devised a telematics solution to use data at various points of their value chain. For instance, when it comes to interactions with clients, they can boost the claims management process and offer users extra services with the help of collected data, such as quick roadside assistance. Here too, there is ample scope for recording trip scores and providing behavior-specific coaching.

Teen Driving

Accidents caused by teens have been increasing at an alarming rate. That is why, insurance companies have offered teenage drivers and parents the opportunity to get email or text alerts for monitoring harsh braking or acceleration, speeding, unauthorized driving times, and unapproved driving locations (via geo-fencing). There is a teenage driver coaching functionality as well. Real-time information about driving habits is provided through a web portal. Drivers who participate get a discount on their premiums for a particular time period.

Apart from helping insurance companies come up with personalized offers and nurture customer relationships, telematics supports claim management and payment. Insurance carriers that execute a unique UBI strategy with the help of this technology can create powerful assets and gain competitive advantage using the data.

Connected-Fleet-Technology

What is Connected Fleet in Logistics: A Brief Guide

With the world becoming “connected” in every sense and digitization taking over all aspects of our lives, connected fleet technology is all set to take the automobile industry by storm. Effective implementation would totally revolutionize the way we drive!

Read on to know more about

What is connected fleet technology? 

A connected vehicle utilizes wireless networks to connect to devices in its vicinity. Connected fleet technology is what creates connected vehicles that can predict each other’s movements and therefore avoid accidents by warning drivers about dangerous driving, slowing down, and overtaking. It delivers a variety of vehicle-related data that can be used to streamline fleet operations. Connected fleet technology can be used for the following purposes:

  • Vehicle tracking to pinpoint the precise location of vehicles, which includes geofencing and proximity search.
  • Route planning, scheduling, and dispatch.
  • Monitoring driver behavior – watching out for troubling driving patterns, mileage logging, expenses management, driver ID, working time, etc.
  • Promoting eco-driving.
  • Remote diagnostics and maintenance alerts. 
  • Order management, which includes, order entry, dispatch, order status information, electronic proof of delivery.
  • Reducing expenses related to fuel and idling.
  • Tracking and recovery of stolen vehicles.
  • Preventing unauthorized use of assets during and after work hours.

How does connected fleet technology work?

As of now, vehicles have to be linked up to the Internet, in order to be successfully connected. But in the future, cars could be connected by short-range radios for extra communication. This technology relies upon instant communication between vehicles in order to work effectively, but it needs to work universally too, regardless of vehicle brand, model, or location. 

There are two kinds of systems being used in vehicles these days – embedded, which means the car is equipped with a chipset and built-in antenna, and tethered, where vehicles are integrated with hardware that connects to the driver’s smartphone. Connected fleet technology can be used to gain access to and send data, connect with other devices and vehicles via IoT, download software updates or patches, and provide Wi-Fi connectivity. Even telematics data can be accessed conveniently.

Using connected fleet technology in fleet management

Needless to say, connected vehicles will improve fleet management services by a great deal. Once vehicles are connected to the Internet, all information can be accessed swiftly by fleet managers. As mentioned, this technology can be used to access telematics data, so drivers get notified of vehicle health, along with potential problems. If a component needs to be replaced or a part isn’t working the way it should, proper maintenance procedures are a must, before they become the cause of accidents.

It is highly likely that connected fleet technology will be seamlessly integrated into completely autonomous vehicle technology in the future. At first, drivers could still be required to fill a precautionary role in autonomous vehicles. This way, the transition from human-driven vehicles towards fully autonomous, driverless, technology, is smoother. When fewer drivers hit roads to carry cargo and more traffic is being supervised by autonomous programs, fleet management will become an even more important task within transport-oriented companies. The technology can effectively survey the status and health of its company vehicles via IoT. Even though route optimization does a great job, connected vehicle technology can be used to fine-tune the process, in order to find the perfect route to avoid traffic. 

Take a look at how connected fleet can be beneficial

Connected fleet is much more than just monitoring assets and drivers on a virtual map. It can be used for cost reduction, addressing maintenance problems, optimizing routes, and much more. Take a look:

Cost reduction

When drivers operate the vehicle recklessly or aggressively, it increases fuel consumption and results in premature wear and tear of components. But connected vehicles are equipped with vehicle tracking that alerts fleet managers whenever there is rapid acceleration, sharp turns, rough braking, and other troubling signs. The system also sends notifications about idling, so fleet managers can take preventive measures accordingly. Since you get regular updates about vehicle diagnostics, maintenance procedures can be scheduled. Predictive maintenance leads to great cost savings in the long run.

Instant alerts about unauthorized use

When vehicles are parked at work premises, parking lots, depots, or any other place, you will get instant notifications if they leave the area. This is where the geo-fencing feature plays an integral role. You can utilize it to ensure drivers don’t deviate from pre-determined routes while staying away from restricted areas. The moment a vehicle changes its route, you get a notification. Automatic alerts are also useful if someone is trying to steal the vehicle.

Creating a safe work environment

Since fleet managers are aware of the real-time location of assets at all times, a proactive approach can be developed to keep personnel and assets safe. If there is an emergency situation on the road, immediate help can be dispatched. To promote safe driving practices, you should constantly monitor speeding, hard braking, phone usage, and aggressive acceleration, and make good use of this data to target troubling driving behavior.

Boost operational efficiency

Using connected fleet technology, fleet managers can get crucial evidence when it comes to liability mitigation and root cause analysis. Important data like date, time, and location validation is important to prove or disprove a case, in case there is a dispute or accident that involves an employee. Basically, it helps managers with both backend and vehicular operational improvements to avoid potential breakdowns, repair costs, and coordination problems, which could affect customer delivery and result in damage to the bottom line and credibility. 

Optimizing routes

It isn’t possible to stick to fixed routes. Fleet managers should concentrate on scheduling routes that are not only fast but cost-effective as well. The tracking feature can predict where and when a truck will arrive at a location, meaning that coordinating the next load and keeping that truck moving efficiently is simple. Here too, geo-fencing is very useful as it helps to create a virtual map for vehicles to arrive and depart, so managers know when a certain vehicle enters and exits. 

Offer better customer service

At the end of the day, it is all about keeping the customer happy, which means shorter delivery times and premium quality service in one package. Since live tracking lets you know the precise location of fleets, you can provide updates accordingly. You don’t want to deal with angry customers asking when their shipment is due or why there is a delay. 

How to integrate a connected fleet in your fleet management?

A few years back, basic vehicle tracking was sufficient for businesses, but now there is a need for wider and clearer visibility across the entire fleet. A humongous amount of data is generated from vehicles, assets, and related systems, which are collated for making informed business decisions. Predictive analytics are also vital when it comes to maintenance issues, which helps to increase the lifespan of assets and keep them functioning for a longer period of time.

When you integrate connected fleet technology in your fleet management strategy, it lets you view operations as a whole. Instead of focusing only on assets and vehicles, it enables you to visualize the entire workforce as a single entity, which means better fleet management and smooth business growth. 

When it comes to managing drivers in the field, it can be quite challenging but mobile workforce management with the aid of connected fleet technology makes it simpler. For instance, you can create customized training plans for each driver to boost safety, as the technology lets you monitor their driving patterns consistently. You can even use a driver identification feature to find out which driver is behind the wheel of each vehicle and for how long. Integration of connected fleet means massive improvements in accountability, safety, maintenance, asset & vehicle management, cost savings, inventory management, payroll, and back-office operations. 

Risk involved in connected fleet

Connected vehicles can drastically lower the number of fatalities and serious injuries due to accidents on roads and highways. While the number of people surviving crashes has increased significantly thanks to airbags, anti-lock brakes, and other technology, it is imperative to implement solutions that prevent such crashes in the first place. 

Connected fleet technology allows cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles to "talk" to each other with in-vehicle or aftermarket devices that continuously share important safety and mobility information. This technology has more benefits than newer ones appearing in high-end vehicles such as radar, lidar, cameras, and other sensors. This technology has a greater range than onboard vehicle equipment that allows receiving alerts regarding dangerous situations. It gives more time to react and prevent accidents as it doesn’t rely on “line of sight” communications to be effective, unlike radar. So if a car ahead is braking hard on the other side of the hill due to an obstruction, you would still get notifications, even if you can’t see or aren’t aware of the hazardous situation. 

Human intervention isn’t required to avoid collisions or detect failing engines. For instance, a truck hauling a load of perishables is cruising down the highway, but road conditions suddenly change, due to a patch of gravel up ahead. The car beside the truck bounces and swerves to the right, but the Connected Fleet technology in the truck senses it and automatically brakes, thus averting accidents. As smart cities build smart roads, those roads are being filled with smart vehicles. And those vehicles are becoming computers on wheels, using onboard monitors to track the location of the vehicle, its mechanical health, and the driver’s performance. Even though vehicles have transitioned from using basic GPS tracking, the GPS-enabled telemetrics still make up the crux of the connected fleet. 

Did you know that nearly 40% of fleet managers consider “connected vehicles” as a must-have, as per a survey by Frost & Sullivan? The research firm predicts there will be 63.5 million trucks as part of the globally connected fleet by 2025. Safety benefits of the connected fleet are quite obvious, like collision mitigation systems that keep vehicles at a safe distance from each other, along with lane departure monitoring systems that can alert a driver operating on any road that a car is their blind spot. Apart from that, it helps to keep up with customer expectations, such as informing them when their package is due to arrive. 

Apart from guaranteeing safety, a connected fleet also increases transportation options and reduces travel times. If traffic managers are able to control the flow of traffic better with the advanced communications data available and prevent or lessen developing congestion, it could significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions. It has excellent potential to succeed and can be applied to conventional vehicles and self-driving cars. 

The Future of Connected Fleet

It is evident that the connected fleet will play an important role in the future. Here are the aspects to watch out for:

  • Capturing information – It allows fleet managers to access OEM-specific data that helps manage daily business decisions and long-term investments such as the total cost of ownership.
  • OEMs being embedded with telematics devices – Fleet managers don’t have to purchase and maintain extra hardware, no installation is required, and the system is easier to manage. Moreover, aspects like vehicle location, routing, fuel usage, and idle time can be monitored at all times.
  • Telematics service providers (TSPs) collaborating with OEMs – it is being done to improve data capture capabilities to benefit fleets by providing API connections for larger fleets, both directly and through telematics service providers.
  • Clear and actionable insights – With tremendous amounts of data being generated from fleets, the real value lies in turning that data into actionable insights that can help your business and make the process easier. It enhances productivity and allows better route optimization while helping to manage downtime and costs. 
  • Evolution of electric vehicles – This part is related to the total costs of ownership. While there could be fewer data to manage on some conventional fronts like maintenance and fuel costs, new data has to be factored in, around charging infrastructure, employee charging reimbursement, and management information.
  • The emergence of 5G – 5G networks continues to be deployed rapidly, so the Ericsson Mobility Report states that the automotive industry is expected to be among the Big Four for 5G enabled service provider opportunities by 2030. 5G, combined with 4G LTE services, greatly improves the potential for fleets as they become software-defined, network-aware, and ultra-connected

Connected fleet technology helps to make timely and accurate decisions regarding fleet operations, utilization, driver behavior, cost reduction, and other crucial factors. It is convenient to integrate as well, so fleet managers can focus their attention on other important matters instead of tracking shipments or calling drivers to find out where they are.

What is Connected Vehicle Technology and How Does it Work?

With the world becoming “connected” in every sense and digitization taking over all aspects of our lives, connected vehicle technology is all set to take the automobile industry by storm. Effective implementation would totally revolutionize the way we drive!

What is connected vehicle technology?

A connected vehicle utilizes wireless networks to connect to devices in its vicinity. Connected vehicle technology is what creates connected vehicles that can predict each other’s movements and therefore avoid accidents by warning drivers about dangerous driving, slowing down, and overtaking. It has a wide range of applications such as syncing entertainment systems with smartphones or vehicles connected via the Internet that can communicate with other vehicles, mobile devices, and city intersections, as well.

How does connected vehicle technology work?

As of now, vehicles have to be linked up to the Internet, in order to be successfully connected. But in the future, cars could be connected by short-range radios for extra communication. This technology relies upon instant communication between vehicles in order to work effectively, but it needs to work universally too, regardless of vehicle brand, model, or location.

There are two kinds of systems being used in vehicles these days – embedded, which means the car is equipped with a chipset and built-in antenna, and tethered, where vehicles are integrated with hardware that connects to the driver’s smartphone. Connected vehicle technology can be used to gain access to and send data, connect with other devices and vehicles via IoT, download software updates or patches, and provide Wi-Fi connectivity to passengers too. Even telematics data can be accessed conveniently.

Using connected fleet technology in fleet management

Needless to say, connected vehicles will improve fleet management services by a great deal. Once vehicles are connected to the Internet, all information can be accessed swiftly by fleet managers. As mentioned, this technology can be used to access telematics data, so drivers get notified of vehicle health, along with potential problems. If a component needs to be replaced or a part isn’t working the way it should, proper maintenance procedures are a must, before they become the cause of accidents.

It is highly likely that connected vehicle technology will be seamlessly integrated into completely autonomous vehicle technology in the future. At first, drivers could still be required to fill a precautionary role in autonomous vehicles. This way, the transition from human-driven vehicles towards fully autonomous, driverless, technology, is smoother. When fewer drivers hit roads to carry cargo and more traffic is being supervised by autonomous programs, fleet management will become an even more important task within transport-oriented companies. The technology can effectively survey the status and health of its company vehicles via IoT. Even though route optimization does a great job, connected vehicle technology can be used to fine-tune the process, in order to find the perfect route to avoid traffic.

Connected vehicle technology could help improve road safety

Connected vehicles can drastically lower the number of fatalities and serious injuries due to accidents on roads and highways. While the number of people surviving crashes has increased significantly thanks to airbags, anti-lock brakes, and other technology, it is imperative to implement solutions that prevent such crashes in the first place.

Connected vehicle technology allows cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles to “talk” to each other with in-vehicle or aftermarket devices that continuously share important safety and mobility information. This technology has more benefits than newer ones appearing in high-end vehicles such as radar, lidar, cameras, and other sensors. Connected vehicle technology has a greater range than onboard vehicle equipment that allows receiving alerts regarding dangerous situations. It gives more time to react and prevent accidents. This technology doesn’t rely on “line of sight” communications to be effective, unlike radar. So if a car ahead is braking hard on the other side of the hill due to an obstruction, you would still get notifications, even if you can’t see or aren’t aware of the hazardous situation.

Apart from guaranteeing safety, connected vehicles also increase transportation options and reduce travel times. If traffic managers are able to control the flow of traffic better with the advanced communications data available and prevent or lessen developing congestion, it could significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions. It has excellent potential to succeed and can be applied to conventional vehicles and self-driving cars.

Practical Tips for Successful Last-Mile Delivery

Last-mile delivery might sound simple, but it is actually the most difficult step of the whole shipping process. The rapid growth of the eCommerce industry (accelerated due to the pandemic), has increased demand for flexible, fast, traceable, and personalized last-mile delivery. That is why it is imperative to devise a seamless operation so last-mile deliveries are executed successfully.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Find the right delivery partner

Most retailers don’t specialize in the actual delivery of the products they offer – it is passed on via a partnership with a shipping provider or even a postal service. Take your time to research any company you consider partnering with. Find out if they specialize in a particular sector, the markets they cater to, specific last mile solutions provided, and of course, the technological solutions they bring to the table. For instance, does the delivery service offer easy technology integration? If not, you might want to look elsewhere. The delivery partner should meet your business’ needs and customer expectations.

Invest in visibility

Make sure you use a last-mile software that comes with effective tracking capabilities – it lets you spot problems right away and resolve them proactively. Gaining visibility on shipments, drivers, and delivery vehicles via GPS tracking allows fleet managers to act quickly and decisively when unexpected scenarios crop up. Last-mile tracking also proves a key selling point for customers who appreciate knowing about the ETA of their shipment, along with driver location. Being aware of the ETA ensures they are present to receive it, which means the possibilities of failed deliveries is reduced. Moreover, the customer service team doesn’t have to field calls from angry customers demanding to know why their shipment is getting delayed!

Optimize routes

No one relies on manual route planning anymore! Using route optimization software helps to map out the fastest and most cost-effective routes between two points within minutes while accounting for real-time variables too. Having drivers spend less time in traffic or preventing them from traversing unnecessarily long routes means real cost savings in the form of reduced fuel expenses and vehicle maintenance costs. Moreover, shorter and more accurate routes mean company resources aren’t wasted. Route optimization also allows businesses to handle on-demand deliveries or accommodate last-minute changes and adjustments.

Offer personalization of delivery

Most people are familiar with how Amazon has revolutionized last-mile deliveries with the same-day delivery offer for its Prime customers. But it is worth bearing in mind that a majority of customers think they will get same-day delivery, whenever they see “fast delivery” mentioned. However, delivery personalization takes it to a whole other level. While speedy delivery is vital, so is convenience. Retailers that want to provide outstanding last-mile delivery should factor in same-day delivery, chosen time delivery, or perhaps local pickup delivery, where the customer picks up their shipment from a parcel locker in their vicinity. The greater the personalization of last-mile delivery choices, the more likely are customers to be happy.

Reduce last mile distance

As we all know, the last mile is the journey from a fulfillment center or warehouse to the end-user – its actual distance is typically much longer than a simple journey from point A to B. Reducing distances in the actual last mile distance could result in greater efficiencies and lower costs significantly. One way to achieve this is to use retail outlets as distribution centers, especially in areas with big customer bases. Those who conduct business online and at brick-and-mortar stores will find it convenient to do so. Even purely eCommerce retailers have the option of renting out spaces and using them to minimize last mile distances in areas where their products are particularly popular.

Last-mile delivery is one of the most important stages in the delivery process, but complex logistics and inefficient operations can cut into profits, hamper credibility, and lead to customer dissatisfaction. These practical tips will help to streamline the last mile process, so you can execute successful deliveries without hassle.

How Real-Time Tracking and Tracing Can Improve Last-Mile Delivery Management?

Last-mile delivery is the last leg of the supply management chain that transports the package from the warehouse or sorting facility to the destination. Due to the pandemic, an increased number of people have begun to shop online even more than usual, which has put enormous strain on the last mile delivery system. To keep up with the competition, and maintain the speed and efficacy of deliveries, most companies have adopted certain methods like tracking and tracing.

Why is last-mile tracking and tracing important?

Customer expectations are rising, and so are their demands. Most of them want same-day deliveries or deliveries within an hour and two. Telling a customer “no” is the last option for businesses, which means they need to improve last-mile management, so deliveries are completed accurately and on time. This is where real-time tracking and tracing play an integral role. Using various tools and techniques, businesses can get access to real-time insights regarding the location of vehicles and the status of delivery. It provides precise information about delayed and on-time deliveries, so delivery stakeholders can boost KPI benchmarking and improve productivity. 

What are the benefits of last-mile tracking and tracing?

An advanced last mile software includes features like real-time tracking and tracing, which improves the whole process. Take a look:

Make the process more secure

Losing a shipment or misplacing it happens quite often, but customers will always blame the carrier. That is why implementing real-time tracking is a must – it ensures the safety of the package and lets the company trace it, in case it gets lost. Telling a customer that their package is “lost in transit” is simply not good enough. But if companies are able to track a misplaced shipment, then customers will understand the reason for the delay.

Companies should also offer a warranty for safe delivery. Having a local warehouse at every delivery point is essential to ensure the safety of the products while they are in storage. While logistics companies usually have their own warehouses in major cities, but not in local regions, it is advisable to rent a warehouse based on their necessity.

Track last mile carriers properly

Businesses have to achieve a perfect order index, which means improving the tracking of last-mile carriers is vital. Last-mile delivery software can help to boost carrier management by enabling end-to-end tracking of shipments. It provides critical data regarding core carrier KPIs such as time taken to complete a task, the number of successful deliveries, failed and delayed deliveries, route taken and diversions from the planned route (if any), driver productivity, material handling, and much more.

Effective route optimization

Using the route optimization feature, the last mile software maps out the most cost-efficient route(s) between two destinations. When drivers follow this route, it reduces delivery time and cost, as tasks are completed on time and failed deliveries are minimized. Deliveries are automatically assigned to specific drivers on certain routes to ensure faster processing.

Using the route optimization feature, the last mile software maps out the most cost-efficient route(s) between two destinations. When drivers follow this route, it reduces delivery time and cost, as tasks are completed on time and failed deliveries are minimized. Deliveries are automatically assigned to specific drivers on certain routes to ensure faster processing.

Allow auto-dispatch

Manually assigning deliveries is a near-impossible task if you are working on multiple deliveries along complex routes. Last-mile software helps to assign deliveries automatically, as mentioned above, and matches them to the right driver, depending upon the route. The efficiency of the algorithm has proved to be perfect, and they require minimal to no manual intervention. To maintain speed delivery, everything is regulated by these algorithms right from the dispatch process till the package reaches its destination. Customers get a message about the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) of the shipment. They are also updated on any delays if any. It reduces failed deliveries, as the customer is present to receive the package

Get customer feedback

Customers can give their inputs regarding delivery and service – it is an important feature of real-time tracking. Thus companies can analyze their progress, find out where they went wrong, what they can do to improve, etc.

Real-time tracking and tracing of shipments can not only pinpoint the exact location of vehicles and shipments but improve the last mile delivery management as well. Customers will receive packages on time and give positive feedback, which not only means preventing revenue leakage but building upon credibility as well.

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Power of Two – Cipia and Anstel collaboration

Two of the biggest challenges for fleet managers these days are guaranteeing driver safety and ensuring that fleet performance is top-notch. Anstel’s Connected Fleet provides an all round-solution that helps to manage assets, gain better control of fleet operations, improve efficiency, and keep tabs on real-time location of vehicles and drivers at all times. Access to such useful data has helped managers make strategic decisions that have proved instrumental for businesses. Combined with Cipia Driver Monitoring System, which allows extensive in-cabin monitoring, it is possible to optimize both vehicle and workforce performance.

Collaboration of Cipia and Anstel

Small distractions on the road could have a drastic impact, as it can lead to major incidents, driver injuries, repair costs, damage to credibility, and revenue leakage. Apart from being able to manage fleet operations, it is crucial to enforce safe driving practices. Anstel’s Connected Fleet and Cipia DMS create a robust driver and fleet monitoring system that automatically records daily driving behavioral data, which helps managers with a clearer fleet performance overview.

Using alerts, reports, and driver scorecard analytics, it is possible to be informed of every single instance of unsafe driving, negligence, and other problematic behavioral patterns in the fleet. It includes features such as monitoring sudden acceleration, sharp braking, idling, fuel theft, unauthorized usage, driver fatigue, non-optimized routes, and so on.

How a driver and fleet monitoring system can be of help

With the in-depth data collected from the driver monitoring system, fleet managers can identify areas for improvement and take appropriate action. It helps to assess driving patterns and make informed decisions. Apart from rectifying driving behavior issues, managers can protect employees, while ensuring safety of other drivers and pedestrians on the road. Training modules can be developed for grooming employees into conscious and responsible drivers.

Paving the way ahead

Thanks to vehicle telematics and IoT technology, fleet managers have the chance to visualize, analyze, and implement big data to streamline fleet operations. DMS and Connected Fleet together form a potent fleet management system - a centralized hub for monitoring, evaluating, and producing reports. It helps to identify potential fleet anomalies before they become major issues, and correct troubling driving behavior that can cost the company a great deal!

Investing in a driver and fleet monitoring system enhances efficiency, promotes growth, brings down expenditures, protects drivers, and also optimizes overall operations.

About Anstel:

A market-focused company that prides itself in creating ground-breaking IoT (Internet of Things) based solutions. We partner with Telcos and other businesses to develop convenient and cost-effective IoT-based solutions by integrating  sensors and smart devices.

About Cipia:

Cipia, formerly Eyesight Technologies, is a pioneer in intelligent sensing solutions that use edge-based computer vision and AI for safer and smarter mobility experiences. The company focuses on the automotive in-cabin environment, offering the Cipia driver monitoring system for fleets among other in-cabin solutions for the automotive industry. Cipia’s computer vision AI solutions help to understand vehicles better, meet business requirements, and offer an improved mobility experience without compromising on safety.

What is Fleet Maintenance?

What is Fleet Maintenance: The Complete Guide – Anstel Global

Fleet maintenance is very important these days, as it not only keeps both fleet vehicles and drivers safe but also ensures that assets are on the road for an extended amount of time. Thus, your business stays profitable as you complete tasks within the designated time frame, which adds to your reputation and keeps customers content.

Key Takeaways:

What is fleet maintenance?

Keeping vehicles running smoothly and operating in top-notch condition, to ensure they are safe and stay on the road for a longer period of time, is defined as fleet maintenance. It is imperative to develop a preventative maintenance program for your fleet because it helps to minimize operating costs by a great deal. Take a look at the main objectives of fleet maintenance:

  • The fleet vehicles should be safe for employees, customers, and others on the road.
  • A reliable fleet should be maintained sans unexpected problems or downtime.
  • Extend lifespan for assets by reducing repair and fleet replacement expenses.

What are the benefits of fleet maintenance?

Managing a fleet is anything but easy – there are several aspects involved that have to be tracked properly, in order to ensure smooth operation, and the bottom line is unaffected. Fleet maintenance has the following benefits:

  • Keeping the fleet safe

Did you know the FMCSA states that 27% of accidents involving one truck and one passenger vehicle were caused due to brake problems? A safe fleet means maintaining the vehicles in good condition, with all components functioning as they should.

  • Protecting employees

If your drivers are operating vehicles that haven’t undergone routine maintenance in months, then their safety is at risk. Fleet maintenance keeps your drivers safe and helps avoid exorbitant costs associated with an accident like higher worker’s compensation premiums, insurance costs, legal fees, and vehicle repairs or replacement.

  • Maintaining reliability

Even if one vehicle is out of commission due to repairs, your business loses quite a lot in revenue. Preventative maintenance programs can help to address problems like faulty parts and repair them so that reliability isn’t affected.

  • Lower maintenance costs

As mentioned, if you develop a preventative maintenance program to fix things before they become major hurdles, then you can save big. For instance, you should check for wear and tear of the brake pads regularly, or change the engine oil before the check engine light comes on.

  • Lesser compliance issues

You need to comply with several state, federal, and local laws, and keep regulations reporting, registrations, safety scores, inspections, etc. in mind. Maintaining your fleet ensures you have fewer compliance issues to deal with. 

  • Reduced fuel costs

As per Automotive Fleet Magazine, the correct maintenance procedure can enhance fuel economy by almost 40%. Simply changing the oil and filters can give a boost in miles per gallon.

  • Customer satisfaction

A well-functioning fleet means tasks get completed on time without delay, which means customers will be more than happy with the service provided.

Why do fleets need fleet maintenance software?

The ultimate responsibility for a fleet’s health depends on the manager. They have to ensure proper fleet maintenance, inspection compliance, vehicle resale or acquisition, driver retention, fuel usage, and customer satisfaction. It isn’t possible to keep track of everything manually, so fleet maintenance software is a must for the following reasons:

  • Regulate fuel consumption to prevent wastage and comprehend when a particular asset loses efficiency.
  • Get alerts about malfunctioning components and systems.
  • Get notified regarding routine maintenance schedules for each vehicle and when it should be done.
  • Be on the uptake about parts and inventory, so that service and repair times are kept to the absolute minimum.
  • Recall information is generated as per vehicle registration data, so you know when they are due for parts replacement. 
  • Staying informed about sup-optimal processes and make changes accordingly.
  • Managing fleet aging properly – helps to understand when the vehicle should be replaced with a newer one.
  • Tracking drivers and assets in case there is an incident on the road.

What is fleet maintenance software and how does it work?

Fleet maintenance software improves communication between managers and drivers, which improves the overall functionality of the fleet. It is incorporated with the latest technology and accurate GPS tracking, so drivers are able to send alerts immediately if they sense malfunctioning components, excessive idling, and so on. The software keeps track of routine inspections of assets, manages inventory issues, and identifies and addresses maintenance concerns, so vehicles are always in great condition.  The software gives you complete control over fleet vehicles. Here is how it works:

  • Automated email and text reminders ensure that dates of vehicle inspections for maintenance aren’t neglected.
  • Seamlessly manages work schedules to prevent unnecessary downtime.
  • Ensure assets are in good condition by maintaining correct and detailed records.
  • Track and report the information, time, and costs of the maintenance of your assets to keep you informed regarding all expenses.

What are the benefits of using fleet maintenance software?

Operating fleets become all the more easy and streamlined with the right fleet maintenance software. Here are its benefits:

Automation

Software solutions are designed for fleets of all sizes, so they can be scaled as per requirements. It automates processes like scheduling vehicle inspections, keeping tabs on driver behavior, knowing when components are malfunctioning, and so on.

Reduces downtime

Be it proactive maintenance that checks for early warning signs, or reactive maintenance that sends an alert about a component requiring fixing, the software ensures your vehicles are on the road for a longer period of time. It helps to cut down drastically on vehicle downtime.

Meeting compliance laws and guidelines

Commercial vehicles are subject to meeting a wide range of compliance requirements, which isn’t possible to track manually. The software lets you stay on top of these compliance issues by monitoring aspects like driver checks, defects, inspection sheets, daily vehicle checks, several types of reporting, insurance, and so on.

A centralized hub for reporting

The software provides a platform for maintaining comprehensive records about each vehicle. Reports can also be extracted for virtually any purpose, including complying with any insurance claims, audits, etc.

What are the types of fleet maintenance workers?

Fleet maintenance usually involves these types of workers:

  • Fleet Managers

As is evident, their role is to supervise the whole fleet when it comes to creating maintenance plans and service schedule. They are also involved with acquiring new vehicles and selling off older ones.

  • Drivers

They are responsible in a major capacity when it comes to the daily diagnosis of the vehicle’s condition. For instance, if they see warning lights or spot signs of trouble, they need to convey this information to managers immediately. They should be trained to conduct regular inspections too.

  • Mechanics

A dedicated fleet mechanic sees to the regular maintenance of the entire fleet, by performing repairs, fixes, and replacements, as and when needed.

What are some examples of fleet maintenance?

Transport companies

Consider a trucking company with cargo trucks that have to cover long distances and encounter a variety of climates and weather conditions. It is a must for this company to have a robust maintenance structure so the vehicle doesn’t break down and get stranded in the middle of nowhere. Moreover, the timely completion of tasks has a direct impact on the bottom line of the company. Delays mean missed deadlines, dissatisfied customers, revenue leakage, and damage to credibility.

Vehicles owned by companies

Any organization that maintains company vehicles for employees comes under this category. If employees travel in vehicles that aren’t in peak condition, it poses a huge safety risk that might lead to accidents. Thus, it is in the best interest of both the company and its employees to invest in a fleet maintenance program.

Which organizations utilize fleet maintenance?

All organizations using company-owned vehicles must have a fleet maintenance program as well. Take a look;

  • Car rental agencies – There is a wide range of variations in customers and driving styles, so detailed individualized maintenance is performed on every vehicle.
  • Government vehicles – General-use vehicles used for transporting government workers are regularly inspected.
  • Trucking companies – Maintenance is performed either on-site or at the vehicle’s destination.
  • Farming & construction – Regular maintenance is performed on all farming and construction equipment.

What role do drivers play in fleet maintenance?

Since drivers spend a great deal of time in fleet vehicles, they have a crucial role to play when it comes to fleet maintenance. It is necessary to train them properly on how to conduct both pre-and post-haul inspections on a daily basis to satisfy inspection report requirements (as specified by the transport authority of where the company operates). It is also important in order to detect warning signs that something might not be functioning the way it should.

What is fleet maintenance planning?

There are various tools, technologies, and software available that make it convenient to develop and implement an effective fleet maintenance program. You just need to consider the following aspects while structuring a fleet maintenance plan – here goes:

  • Checklist to be covered during preventative maintenance.
  • Person (s) responsible for preventative maintenance services.
  • Timing of the service.
  • Come up with a simple system for record-keeping and maintenance history.
  • Resources for more information regarding fleet maintenance.

What are the types of fleet maintenance?

Fleet maintenance can be classified into two categories:

Proactive

This type of scheduled maintenance is to stay on top of planned preventative maintenance schedules. It means checking the vehicles regularly to identify minor issues before they become major hurdles that lead to costly repairs or replacement of parts. Thus, small fixes can be implemented, before they become a more serious and expensive problem.

Reactive

Even if you develop an optimized fleet maintenance schedule, there are bound to be problems in between routine checkups. You can’t plan for flat tires, broken components, issues caused by accidents, etc. This is where reactive or unscheduled maintenance comes in. Remember that emergency repairs are almost always more expensive than routine ones and involve more vehicle downtime. But then again, if you make routine preventative maintenance a priority, then several types of problems can be easily avoided.

Tips for effective fleet maintenance

What are the types of fleet maintenance?

Even though your checklist should be based on your fleet’s requirements and unique makeup, it should contain these items:

  • Engine oil and filter changes
  • Transmission fluid
  • Fuel system
  • Cooling system
  • Engine and transmission mounts
  • Driveshafts or CV joints
  • Belts and hoses
  • Tune-ups
  • Electrical system components
  • Braking system
  • Steering and suspension system
  • Tyres, wheels, and rims
  • Exhaust system
  • Undercarriage and frame
  • Exterior and interior lights
  • Body, glass, and mirrors
  • Windshield wiper system
  • Horn
  • Seatbelts and seat structures
  • Fluid leaks
  • Auxiliary systems

Establish rapport between drivers and repair technicians

Drivers are the first line of defense when it comes to unexpected breakdowns and repairs. Train drivers to complete pre and post-trip inspections daily, so you can address issues while they are still minor, and prevent costly unscheduled fixes down the line. For instance, they should monitor basic safety items like tires, brakes, steering, etc. along with performance issues like misfires and rough idling. They need to report any vehicle problems right away. Based on what drivers report, repair technicians or in-house mechanics can perform detailed inspections on components and systems. If this service is outsourced, always provide the fleet servicing vendor with your own preventive maintenance checklist.

Examine both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance information

Come up with a preventative maintenance schedule that works for your fleet. Kilometers traveled, engine hours, fuel usage, and calendar time are the typical guides used to create a schedule. You should also keep tabs on the number of breakdowns, tows, jumpstarts, and emergency repairs, in order to identify patterns that might require adjustments to the schedule.

Enhance driver performance

Leveraging telematics data provided by fleet maintenance software allows you to examine driver’s performance, so you can offer necessary feedback and make recommendations. Anstel’s Connected Fleet solution helps to monitor driving patterns and identify troubling signs such as harsh braking, rapid acceleration, sharp turns, excessive idling, etc. that can lead to fuel wastage and early wear and tear of components. The technology helps to train drivers to perform better and adhere to rules and regulations on the road.

Who is a fleet maintenance manager? What is the role of a fleet maintenance manager?

As mentioned, a fleet manager has to be responsible for the entire fleet. Their duties range from hiring and driver HR to maintaining maximum fleet efficiency. To put it in a nutshell, they have to manage vehicles, drivers, and other assets in the most efficient manner. Their responsibilities include the following:

  • Scheduling routine vehicle maintenance and emergency repairs.
  • Guaranteeing overall quality and safety of fleet vehicles. 
  • Working with equipment suppliers, technicians, and mechanics.
  • Registration and licensing of newly acquired vehicles.
  • Ensuring compliance of assets with company policies, applicable laws, regulations, and safety standards.
  • Creating a budget for maintenance and adhering to it.
  • Working with fleet management teams, drivers, and employees to conduct daily operations and achieve business goals.
  • Keeping precise and updated records of routine maintenance and repair history.

What are the common challenges of a fleet manager?

As is evident, the role of a fleet manager is anything but easy. Here are a few of the challenges they have to face:

  • Even with the latest technology at their disposal, the skills and components required to maintain modern fleet vehicles are quite complex and costly.
  • There is a shortage of experienced mechanics and technicians.
  • Budget allocation is lesser than what is required for a comprehensive fleet management program. 
  • Managing costs related to repairs, maintenance, fuel, and so on, which keep going up.

How can you set up and improve your fleet maintenance program? How can Anstel help in fleet maintenance?

One of the main responsibilities of fleet maintenance managers is to keep up-to-date records of vehicle maintenance servicing. This is where Anstel’s fleet management software – Connected Fleet, comes in handy. By automating maintenance reminders for performing tune-ups and oil changes and integrating past service records, it alerts managers about which components have to be repaired or are scheduled for a routine inspection. Thus, it eliminates the risk of human error. 

This type of software uses GPS to connect to the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics system. An alert is sent via text or email, whenever a maintenance issue occurs, so fleet managers can determine the course of action. Detailed records can be maintained that:

  • Indicates when a vehicle’s registration should be renewed.
  • Shows the renewal period for fleet insurance.
  • Monitors vehicle inspection dates.
  • Keep tabs on and protects fleet vehicles and assets remotely.

This way, the software ensures all vehicles are efficient, compliant, safe, and in excellent condition.

What features should you consider while choosing fleet maintenance software?

Fleet technology continues to expand over the years, and with proper fleet maintenance software, managers get access to a fast and mobile platform capable of housing all crucial data at a central location. Keep the following features in mind:

  • User-friendly

Shifting to a new system isn’t easy, but the transition should be smooth and comfortable. A user-friendly and intuitive interface makes it possible.

  • Manage assets

Regardless of the size of your fleet, you have to remain in control of critical aspects. The software should offer functions that let you build a customizable database, create codes, and group your assets. It basically provides a hub for information about your fleet that is easily accessible, shareable, and searchable.

  • Maintenance management

Proactive maintenance is a must so that sudden breakdowns don’t lead to massive revenue leakage. This feature lets you schedule repairs and maintenance when needed, schedule routine inspections, know when a unit is going to be due for service and associated downtime, and keep detailed records and generating reports.

  • GPS tracking

Zeroing in on the position of vehicles in real-time, which gives you a clear idea if drivers are stuck in traffic, are driving recklessly, or have made unnecessary stops.

How to reduce fleet maintenance costs?

Not only does routine maintenance detect problems before they become serious, but they help to save money too. While you may think getting vehicles serviced constantly would cost you more, it is less expensive over time, as compared to delaying a routine inspection until a problem arises. For instance, paying for frequent oil changes is more economical than replacing a whole engine.

Moreover, when a vehicle experiences a major technical problem, it always means losing money over and above what the repairs cost. Even if a single vehicle is taken off the road for an extended period of time for costly repairs, the resulting unplanned downtime means wasted wages and delayed loads, both of which impact the bottom line. 

Fleet maintenance software provides reports with details regarding the status and condition of every vehicle across the fleet, which alerts managers to potential problems. Following organized maintenance, schedules mean that vehicles stay in mint condition for a longer period of time, which increases their resale value.

How to track fleet maintenance?

Fleet managers understand the importance of keeping track of vehicles that are due for maintenance – missing out on these schedules can prove to be costly and damaging for your business. The following aspects can be used for tracking fleet maintenance:

  • Staying updated regarding fleet insurance.
  • Knowing when it is time to renew vehicle registration. 
  • Keeping tabs on dates scheduled for routine vehicle inspections.

How to manage fleet maintenance?

It is imperative to keep your vehicles and drivers safe, without compromising on productivity and efficiency – that is the key to manage fleet maintenance successfully. Here are a few tips:

  • Preventative maintenance

When vehicles are maintained properly, it means fewer unscheduled repairs and downtime. It might include oil changes, tire rotation/inspection, and general safety vehicle inspections. Fixing a problem beforehand means saving on costly repairs later on!

  • Total cost of ownership

Monitor maintenance expenses so you know if they start to rise based on the vehicle age. Go through the manufacturer’s warranty coverage and how it impacts the total cost of ownership. It is imperative to know about the residual value of the asset, trends in the used vehicle market, and the optimal time to sell the vehicle for a cost-effective fleet.

  • Inform drivers about company policy

Drivers should be made well aware of responsibilities and company vehicle-use policies. They need to know the preventive maintenance schedule, policies regarding maintenance and repairs, and stay informed about the right course of action if the vehicle needs repair or is in an accident.

  • Work with your fleet maintenance provider

If you face a setback when the vehicle is in for repairs, don’t hesitate to inform your fleet maintenance provider, so they can step in and resolve the problem.

Parting Thoughts

Fleet maintenance solutions help to minimize downtime, improve customer satisfaction and optimize productivity for your fleet. The software automatically records data about pre-and post-trip inspections and sends a digital report to managers, so they become aware of troubling issues in real-time.

What is Driver Fatigue?

What is Driver Fatigue: The Complete Guide

The National Sleep Foundation states that half of the adult drivers in the United States admit to getting behind the wheel while feeling tired or sleepy. Shockingly, 20% have stated they have fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point! Driver fatigue leads to accidents and even loss of life as it is an extremely serious threat to road safety. Unfortunately, signs of fatigue are sometimes tough to identify, so a driver might not even know if they are fatigued.

In this article, we learn about:

  • What driver fatigue means and its causes
  • Signs of driver fatigue and effect
  • Times of day when the risk of driver fatigue is highest
  • How to overcome and manage driver fatigue?
  • Who is at risk for drive fatigue?
  • Taking breaks to combat driver fatigue
  • Know more about driver fatigue monitor
  • Reducing fatigue for long-distance trips and long-haul driving
  • Find out if adaptive cruise control can reduce fatigue

What is Driver Fatigue?

One of the most common hazards of road safety is driver fatigue. It not only poses a risk to the driver but to drivers in other vehicles and pedestrians too. To put it in a nutshell, driver fatigue is a state of extreme tiredness, lethargy, or weariness, which impacts focus. Drivers have less time to react to dangers since their concentration is impaired. When on-road decision-making capabilities are compromised due to fatigue, it poses serious danger to road safety.

What causes Driver Fatigue?

While driver fatigue can happen to anyone for a number of reasons, here are the most common ones. Take a look:

  • Physical exhaustion - feeling tired, weary, and lethargic.
  • Long working hours, along with Inconsistent or disruptive work schedules - the body and mind both feel exhausted, so focus is dangerously impaired.
  • Not getting sufficient sleep over multiple days puts excessive stress on drivers, which can lead to periods of micro-sleep, loss of concentration, etc.
  • Inadequate rest periods or breaks during long journeys mean drivers aren’t well-rested.
  • Disorders like sleep apnea, where the person stops breathing during sleep. It leads to poor sleeping patterns.
  • Medications that cause drowsiness and lethargy, which is bad when the driver is on the job.

What are the signs of Driver Fatigue?

Did you know that 20% of fatal road accidents in Australia are related to driver fatigue? It is important to identify these troubling signs immediately – take a look:

Constant yawning

When drivers feel tired, one of the very first signs is they yawn frequently.

Driving erratically

Sticking to your lane is a must while driving. If the driver is wandering outside the lines, it is a definite sign of tiredness. Watch out for fluctuating speed, tailgating, and not following traffic signs, as well.

Head bobbing

When you are jerked awake by your head hitting your chest, it is a sign of micro-sleep and is common with driver fatigue. Even if it lasts for a few seconds, it could be dangerous on the roads.

Daydreaming

Disconnected or wandering thoughts can cause drivers to go off-route without having any recollection. It isn’t like micro-sleep, but the driver is unaware of their surroundings and basically “zones out”.

Impairment of focus

The driver is unable to concentrate on the road ahead due to feeling tired, which means a slower reaction time in case a hazard occurs. When the driver finds it tough to keep their eyes open, it spells trouble.

Odd behavior

Are drivers behaving irritably? Are they driving in a restless manner, and becoming impatient? These are definite signs of driver fatigue.

What can fatigue do to a driver?

If someone is awake for 17 hours, their concentration is impaired to the same level as a person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. Drivers shouldn’t take their eyes off the road for even a second! Fatigue impacts attention, which directly affects mental processing and decision-making abilities. Thus, they will react to hazards much slower than usual. And if they lapse into micro-sleep as mentioned above, without realizing it, the risk is greatly multiplied. Drivers are often unaware they are slipping in and out of periods of wakefulness. This lack of awareness can lead to major incidents.  A fatigued driver takes much longer to notice an unexpected hazard on the road, so response time is much more. If a driver misjudges speed and distance, due to a split-second delay, it can have devastating consequences!

What are the high-risk times for driver fatigue?

While driver fatigue can happen anytime, the risks of it are the highest between 2 am and 6 am, and also in the afternoon between 2 pm and 4 pm. The reason is that the internal body clock tends to induce sleepiness during these times.

How to overcome driver fatigue? Can driver fatigue be managed?

The obvious answer to overcoming fatigue is by sleeping! No one should drive when they are tired or feeling drowsy. Here are some ways to overcome driver fatigue:

  • Set limits on overtime and maximum allowable consecutive shifts.
  • Sufficient staff should be available so drivers don’t buckle under extreme workloads.
  • Offer comprehensive training regarding sleep health and fatigue management.
  • Try to develop a sleep disorder screening and management program.
  • Make sure drivers get enough breaks during extended work shifts.
  • Encourage self-reporting by providing supervisors and drivers with checklists for fatigue symptoms.
  • Peer monitoring practices for such symptoms among co-workers should be implemented too.
  • Keep tabs on data from in-vehicle monitoring systems – it helps to identify signs of possible fatigue, like lane departures, irregular speeding, etc.
  • Wearables and in-cabin monitoring devices can be used to send alerts and notify fleet managers of driver fatigue.
  • Incident investigators should be trained, so they can determine the role of fatigue if any accident occurs, and even in near-miss incidents.

Who is at risk for driver fatigue?

Practically everyone is at risk for driver fatigue, but the following groups can be classified as “high risk”:

  • Young drivers from 18 to 24.
  • Shift workers, especially those manning the graveyard shift. Those working rotating shifts have to be careful.
  • People with extremely long work hours. Those with more than 60 hours should exercise great caution.
  • Drivers with undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders.
  • Commercial vehicle drivers, especially long-haul drivers, are on the road for hours at a time.

How often should you take a break from driving to avoid driver fatigue?

It is necessary to stop for at least 15 minutes, every two hours. Drivers can use this time to rest and relax, so they can resume the journey with a fresh and clear mind, along with a sharp focus. Those driving long distances or for extended periods of time should take a longer break of a minimum of half an hour.

What is a driver fatigue monitor?

A driver monitor is a device that offers extensive in-cabin monitoring and is immensely useful for detecting signs of driver fatigue. It tracks eye and facial movements with the aid of sensors, to understand if the driver is feeling tired, or is totally alert behind the wheel. If it senses an irregularity, an alert is immediately sent to the supervisor, who can take corrective action. The drivers are notified too, so they can rectify the issue. Anstel has recently collaborated with Cipia to offer a robust driver and fleet monitoring platform that helps to assess driving patterns, correct troubling behavior, spot signs of fatigue, and ensure road safety.

What can fleet managers do to solve driver fatigue issues for long-haul driving?

Fleet managers bear the ultimate responsibility of protecting drivers and ensuring road safety for others as well. They have to strategically solve driver fatigue problems, so they don’t affect long-haul driving and lead to consequences.

Provide safety training

According to the Law, it is imperative to undertake driver safety training, to ensure all drivers of heavy vehicles or commercial vehicles are aware of how to keep themselves and others on the road safe, from the effects of fatigue. Drivers should be able to identify the signs of fatigue and know how to deal with them. Educate them about the risks involved, so they realize the seriousness of the situation.

Don’t put excessive strain on drivers

Even fleet managers have targets and deadlines to meet, which often puts extra pressure on drivers. However, there is a legal mandate on the hours of service and required rest periods. These are the basic standards that should be followed, so encourage drivers to adhere to these rules. They should try to avoid long stretches of driving whenever possible, and take frequent breaks so they are rested and alert.

Use fleet management software

While driver monitoring systems help to detect signs of driver fatigue inside the vehicle, fleet management software can give a clearer insight into driving behavior. It can sense troubling patterns like sharp braking, speeding, tailgating, rapid acceleration, and more. The information is transmitted in real-time, so appropriate action can be implemented quickly. The software helps to keep tabs on driver hours and provides alerts on potential violations before they occur. It lets fleet managers allocate workload more evenly, so drivers aren’t overstressed, which lowers the risk of fatigue setting in.

How can you reduce driver fatigue during long trips?

The danger is compounded during long trips, as the distance and time increase by a great deal. It is imperative for the driver to be alert and focused at all times. Here are some ways to deal with driver fatigue:

Driving time should be restricted

On average, a person shouldn’t drive more than 8 hours in a single day – after this, tiredness starts to set in. However, drivers are often allotted 10 or even 12-hour shifts. Try to limit their driving time to 8 hours if possible, with plenty of breaks in between. Each break should help to reenergize.  As mentioned, a 15-minute break is a must every couple of hours.

Plan breaks and rest stops

Apart from taking breaks, drivers should also rest when traveling long distances. However, they should be able to take longer breaks too, if it helps to stay focused. There are public rest stops on major highways, where they can eat, relax, and freshen up, before resuming the journey.

Don’t forget to assign a backup driver

If possible, assign another driver as a backup. What if one driver feels ill on the way? The backup driver can take over and even get medical help. It is also a good idea to ensure that drivers keep switching throughout the journey till they reach the destination. This way, no one will be overly tired or succumb to micro-sleep.

How much do driver assists like adaptive cruise control help to reduce driver fatigue?

Adaptive cruise control basically senses the distance of another vehicle in front and adapts the cruise control speed to maintain a safe distance from it. Drivers can set the interval as to how close or far away they want to be from the vehicle in front. They can even choose the farthest setting so the gap is much wider. However, this intelligent feature still requires that the driver is alert and in total control of the vehicle. It acts as an additional layer of protection, and shouldn’t be a substitute for responsible driving.

Parting Thoughts:

Driver fatigue is much more than a little tiredness or feeling sleepy. It can often lead to life or death situations, because a driver’s attention should be on the road at all times, so nodding off, getting distracted, or driving wearily, is simply not an option. Fatigue and sleep deprivation leads to both physical and mental health complications that adversely impact productivity. Combating driver fatigue is a must, so that focus and concentration aren’t affected, they are able to fulfill targets, and your business runs smoothly.

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