Government regulations are affecting the transportation industry in a number of ways, and more changes are ahead under President Trump’s upcoming legislative changes. Underlying all of this are technologies that impact the entire logistics industry. Here are four trends to watch in 2017.
Fuel Management Systems
Fuel management systems let you abandon fuel credit cards in favor of RFID systems that ensure that the only vehicles refueled by your drivers are those in your fleet. Fuel management systems also let you monitor fuel consumption, flagging up drivers whose driving habits waste fuel and identify vehicles that may need repair.
The Department of Transportation regulations that required drivers to take breaks of certain durations, especially between midnight and five AM, are likely to be withdrawn by President Trump’s administration. The trend toward Electronic Onboard Recorders or EOBR will continue regardless of government regulations, since these devices track fuel consumption, vehicle locations, driving time and vehicle operator habits, like how hard they brake. This allows you to identify which stops take more time than expected and send drivers back for more training before their aggressive driving gets them into an accident.
Expect the EPA for increasing the requirements for fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions to stop going up under President Trump, though they may not be rolled back to 1990s standards. And the economic incentives for better fuel efficiency are likely to be left unchanged also.
Self-driving vehicles are still in their early stages, but if the technology is worked out, it will eliminate many truck driver jobs. However, the risk of hackers taking over the vehicles and intentionally causing accidents or sending your vehicle somewhere that it can be offloaded by thieves will deter its adoption. Then there are the questions as to who is at fault if a self-driving vehicle is in an accident and the lucrative payout for staged accidents with self-driving vehicles. The most likely interim solution is using self-driving vehicles on limited routes for delivering low value items, similar to how robots are being used to deliver meals in hospitals today.
Activity Based Costing
Activity based costing is almost a necessity when dealing with a complex logistical network that can eat up your profits when you don’t know where the money goes. Activity based costing supported by enterprise resource planning software allows logistics firms to identify their most profitable products and customers. They can track costs and profits down to specific charter trucks, and they are increasingly ready to cut their losses to keep profits up.
Just in time (JIT) coupled with decentralized supply chains and on-demand delivery by customers are currently increasing the demand for drivers. Self-driving trucks are a long way off, and they bring risks few want to face. Fuel management systems offer greater protection from fraud and other cost-savings. GPS and electronic onboard recorders give transportation firms a wealth of information to improve their operations. Activity based costing is increasingly important at identifying profit centers and money losers.