Now that 2017 is in the rear view mirror, it’s time to embrace all that 2018 has to offer. Regardless of whether 2017 was good to you or whether you’re muttering ‘good riddance’ under your breath, 2018 is sure to be filled with new opportunities for the haulage industry. Here are three of the most anticipated trends for the upcoming year. Although some may seem impossible, others will be easy to adopt... and 2018 will certainly test the resolve of haulage companies and the industry as a whole! |
Technological advances within the industry are expected to have a banner year. Technology’s influence on fleet management is expected to be huge. 2018 will bring more accurate data to haulage companies through user-friendly telematics systems with greater scope and detail. More reliable data means more efficient logistical reforms regarding cost-cutting, risk assessment and maintaining a fleet’s optimal performance.
• Cost-cutting – More efficient route planning allows for lower fuel expenses and decreased maintenance expenses. Greater monitoring of a vehicle’s and a driver’s performance in turn leads to fewer insurance claims and ultimately the use of fewer vehicles on the road due to enhanced efficiency of the existing fleet.
• Risk assessment – Predictive analytics are the industry’s crystal ball, allowing a vehicle’s mechanical problems to be anticipated and fixed before they affect performance.
• Maintenance – Detailed and accurate telematics are providing haulage companies with data analysis like never before. Complicated algorithms that used to be formulated manually are now produced automatically, allowing management to see how many vehicles they need to accommodate a customer’s needs, as well as providing critical data on each and every vehicle within a fleet.
The only danger here is perhaps the advent of ‘data overload’ with so much information being provided by a fleet’s telematics systems. The greatest management talent will have the ability to process the information and glean what is needed to increase productivity in the most efficient way.
As the millennial generation begins to move into positions of power within the industry, the talent that is needed to utilise these technological advances will be at the forefront of the show. A generation that is not only more tech-savvy but also shifting the lanes of the industry’s priorities will undoubtedly bring about change in some unexpected places.
Haulage companies may be feeling the effects of driver shortages, but this too may be resolved in an unusual way. Highly skilled drivers are in demand, allowing them greater flexibility and higher rates of pay. Internally, the workers who know the industry will bring about the change that is needed. Again, the millennial generation will provide a unique workforce who will embrace the technologies used to increase efficiency in route scheduling, offer the opportunity for remote work and be able to utilise more automated systems of invoicing and expense reporting.
Sadly, 2017 saw an increase in severity of HGV crashes over the numbers reported back in 2015. The industry has quickly recognised the need for improvement regarding safety, and haulage companies are now embracing fleet tracking, driver-assist technology and telematics to further their efforts towards making the roads safer for all.
In conjunction with these safety measures, fleet managers are also pressing manufacturers to include video backup, clearer monitoring systems and automatic braking systems. Greater predictive maintenance technology is also giving managers the on-board diagnostics needed to anticipate problems within a vehicle before it breaks down.
The Future is Bright
These latest trends are a prize opportunity for fleet managers to understand and analyse what lies ahead. Successful haulage companies are known for embracing the latest technologies and now must bring in the workforce that can harness its power. The potential priorities and prospects for the upcoming year are certainly taking on a new and exciting shape, and although ‘trends’ are not guarantees, it is fair to assume that adopting these changes will improve your chances of staying ahead of the pack.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies or self-employed drivers with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 4,800 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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