1 BIG AMBITIONS: A BIGROAD SOLUTION PAPER New mobile tools for trucking aim to change how fleets operate and create a better quality of life for drivers. The Mobile App Revolution Hits Trucking... 1 Now s the Time for Strategic Thinking in Trucking... 2 Smoothing Out Adoption Friction... 3 The BigRoad Approach... 3 A Roadmap for Safer, Happier Drivers... 5 THE MOBILE APP REVOLUTION HITS TRUCKING The advent of mobile communications technology a few short decades ago met its perfect match in the trucking industry. s of lone drivers spread far and wide across North American highways have since benefited from better connectedness to their base of operations. Two-way messaging alone created a more immediate and traceable line of communication with dispatch. GPS tracking has provided pinpoint location data to help dispatch identify and deploy loads more effectively. And electronic driver logs have made life easier for drivers to adhere to Hours of Service (HOS) regulations without the paperwork. 85% of trucks on the road operate without tracking systems that optimize operations and increase safety Today s telematics solutions -- GPS tracking, voice/data communications, fleet management systems -- deliver a rich capability for trucking industry managers to squeeze every efficiency out of operations. But there s a huge gap between what s available for use and what s actually in use. For smaller fleets operating on slim margins, investment in telematics is a luxury not affordable. Generally, only the industry s better capitalized large commercial fleets have tested and adopted advanced solutions. The result is that 85% of trucks on the road operate without the support of systems that optimize operations and increase safety, according to Frost and Sullivan s 2011 report Strategic Analysis of North American Medium and Heavy-duty Commercial Vehicle Telematics Market.
2 % Medium and Heavy-duty Commercial Telematics Market: Telematics Subscriber Penetration by Fleet Types (North America) 2010 and 2017 MCV & HCV VIO FMS Installed-Base Units () Units () % % 25% Fleet operators face both internal and external challenges to improve their services and remain competitive, according to Frost. The report states the unavailability of information adds to overall operational costs and calls for the continuous monitoring of vehicles, goods and drivers. The erratic nature of fuel costs requires better monitoring of consumption by fleets and the reduction of wasted miles due to poor routing. Additionally, structured information related to congestion and toll charges will help increase efficiency. As for regulations, fleets must adapt and manage the realities brought 2017 forth in the CSA 2010 (Compliance, Safety and Accountability) and the pending EOBR (electronic onboard recorder) legislation. A better solution that meets the needs of medium and small fleets is required. It s now made possible by the preponderance of inexpensive and feature-rich mobile technologies. Hardware in the form of a smart phone or tablet, user-friendly apps, and the simplicity of cloud-enabled solutions all combine to significantly lower the barrier to technology entry for even the most basic trucking operation. The mobile app phenomenon is a viable way to get drivers using the technology that helps operations gain more efficiency. Putting a useful application in the hands of drivers produces rich analytics about how they operate. This data stream is a treasure for fleet operators who can make better decisions based on this information and remove the common inefficiencies from remote assets and resources. If only fleet managers could spend 30 minutes a day thinking about how to do things better, then they d have it made. NOW S THE TIME FOR STRATEGIC THINKING IN TRUCKING Trucking is a hectic business, rarely affording managers the ability to sit back and think strategically about operational efficiency. The daily grind of matching loads to drivers, maximizing capacity utilization, and ensuring on-time performance keeps managers busy non-stop. If only fleet managers could spend 30 minutes a day thinking about how to do things better, then they d have it made. While fleets and drivers have long been using basic communication technology to stay connected, a lack of automation has led to the following inefficiencies: Too much time doing administrative tasks. At least 30 minutes daily is required by drivers to manage documentation and file compliance paperwork (much of it by fax machine). HOS logs, driver vehicle inspection reports, customs documentation filled out by hand are easy first targets for electronic versioning. Too much voice calling to dispatch. Without a systematized approach to load assignment, route information, and driver status, the best way for drivers to stay in touch is a good old-fashioned phone call. Up to 20 times daily, drivers are on the phone with dispatch to provide status updates, get direction on new work, or provide confirmation when a job is done. That time on the phone means trucks aren t moving and drivers aren t driving. Local Trucks running < 100 Miles Regional Trucks running 100 to 500 Miles Long-haul Trucks running < 500 Miles 30% Units () Units () 15.9% % 30%
3 Too many fees associated with voice. All these phone conversations lead to phone bills ranging from $50-$100 monthly. Invariably, drivers need a costly voice plan due to all the phone work associated with the job. SMOOTHING OUT ADOPTION FRICTION For small and mid-sized fleets, many obstacles have blocked the path to telematics adoption. Smoothing this adoption friction takes some basic analysis and some debunking of widely held assumptions about the troubles with technology. Look at costs through a different lens While a legitimate concern, looking at the costs associated with telematics requires a different angle of approach. Almost all decisions stumble at the upfront investment stage. In a low margin business like trucking, cash flow is at a premium, and any substantial initial investment in hardware or software licenses will meet a cool reception. A longer term look at the steady efficiency gains and payback period will help justify investments in operating technology. Fleets with this outlook are being serviced by vendors who have new pricing models that are geared to subscriptions or fixed monthly charges. Costs associated with voice and messaging are also dropping steadily as the competition among wireless carriers heats up and WiFi/ WiMAX solutions offer alternative pipes for voice and data communications. Mobile voice over IP solutions are also emerging and putting downward pressure on voice and messaging costs. Simplifying a complex solution deployment Another challenge facing fleets is the perceived complexity involved in telematics deployments. Many vendors in the industry have actually fostered the idea of complex deployments to sell larger deals involving services for implementation, regular software upgrades, and ongoing solution consulting. It s an easy up sell if you look at the multiple pieces of hardware involved including field units and backend servers, software installation, deployment testing and end user training. Fleets crave simplicity. The good news is that new types of solutions don t need all the traditional component parts. A cloud architecture, simple mobile apps, and basic workflow replace yesterday s large and expensive telematics deployments. Driver culture The industry s cultural nuances have also played a factor in decisions about technology. An aging driver base is not the best match for retraining and introducing new tools for getting the job done. As younger drivers join the industry, their familiarity with mobile tools and apps will certainly be more conducive to pervasive rollout. The prospect of better tooled drivers offering a more professional face to the customer will also lead to greater job satisfaction and improved relations with operational managers and dispatch. A sometimes challenging relationship remains between drivers and dispatch; better tools mean better productivity and increased mutual respect is the result. THE BIGROAD APPROACH BigRoad s solution for fleets and drivers leverages many of the flexible features of today s cutting edge web and mobile applications. While client/ server solutions dominate the fleet management system landscape, the emergence of cloud-based solutions has delivered products much more suited to the majority of the industry. The mobile apps phenomenon also makes possible rich, personal experiences for drivers, enabling better time management and easy communications with everyone that matters in their lives.
4 Happier, more engaged drivers using mobile technology have the potential to provide valuable operational data that will change the way fleets operate. BigRoad s vision is to change how fleets operate based on rich and easily accessible data. Stepping back from the frenetic operational environment is a luxury for managers. Part of the BigRoad promise is the collection of data to identify patterns of inefficiency and offering diagnostic remedies to improve operations. With a consolidated view of fleet activity and 12-month running history, managers can indeed step back and think strategically about their operations. TANDEM APPS BigRoad offers two separate applications that can be used independently, but realize the greatest benefit as a tandem. Each app serves the other with status updates, automated documentation sharing, and rich analytics that help fleet managers and drivers identify and realize productivity gains. BigRoad Driver is a free mobile app for Android smartphones and tablets designed to make life simpler for drivers. Features include in-app messaging for easy smart phones, HOS documentation, and real-time navigation with traffic. BigRoad Fleet is a web-based desktop application for use by fleet managers and dispatchers to more effectively assign work, monitor operations, and adjust on the fly to changing conditions. As Tandem Apps, the mobile app and desktop app inform each other both passively and proactively. For example, a driver s HOS status is fully transparent to dispatch, informing which drivers are best positioned to accept and execute a load. CLOUD CLOUT With its cloud-based architecture, BigRoad offers easy deployment and lower startup costs both hugely important to small and mid-sized trucking companies. One of the main barriers associated with traditional fleet management systems is the requirement for server hardware, dedicated resources to manage the deployment, and heavy integration with existing IT investments. BigRoad enables operations to get started quickly, simply, and cost effectively. BIGROAD ANALYTICS The amount of data made available by trucks on the road and drivers behind the wheel is immense but most of it goes uncaptured today. That s due to the lack of simple automation and programmatic logging of data including driver status, fuel efficiency (MPG tracking), route and activity/verification. Driver Status Via the mobile app, driver status is made available as drivers use the app to manage HOS status. This provides effective visibility to dispatchers as they determine which resources are available to take on new loads. MPG Tracking As fuel costs rise and become the number one expense for trucking firms, eliminating wasteful miles or actions like idling becomes critical. Benchmarking and continuously improving MPG efficiency can make or break fleets these days. BigRoad enables MPG tracking in a couple of ways: one is through EOBR diagnostics from engine operations; the other is via fuel receipt capture via photograph using the camera on a smart phone or tablet.
5 Routing Metrics Up to 10% of miles driven are out of route by some estimates. Routing efficiency is an immediate and quick way to better fight the margin battle. BigRoad s ability to show 12-month route history and provide metrics related to route verification is a critical tool for reducing wasted miles. The ability to design and execute a route is made easier once metrics are in place to determine why routes do and don t get followed. MANAGING COMPLIANCE The heavy regulatory framework that governs trucking has long been a paperwork burden for drivers and fleet managers. The advent of elogs and other automated solutions has helped matters, but compliance remains a time-consuming aspect of the daily routine. The BigRoad mobile app is an all-in-one app for HOS summary and calculations, Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports, and the pending EBOR requirements. Instead of the separate paperwork or systems for each, BigRoad consolidates compliance in one app and provides log audit and history. DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT On top of the compliance paperwork pile, drivers handle commercial documents like proof of delivery, shipping documents like bills of lading, and trip sheets. BigRoad provides the ability to simply capture an image of the document using a smart phone or tablet camera. The image can be stored locally on the mobile device or upioaded over the air to a BigRoad directory for logging. BigRoad also enables drivers to manage important documentation like payroll, fuel receipts, and expenses. VOIP CALLING Voice over IP (VOIP) solutions have become commonplace among consumers as an alternative lower cost telephony solution for long distance calling. Mobile VOIP is now emerging as an alternative to higher wireless costs and BigRoad offers a unique, purpose-built solution for trucking. Converting voice minutes to data significantly lowers wireless costs.. IN-APP MESSAGING Complementing the voice capabilities of BigRoad is a rich messaging capability within the app that shows when a message has been delivered and read. All text messaging between dispatch and the field is logged for easy reference and accountability. A ROADMAP FOR SAFER, HAPPIER DRIVERS Our industry has been facing a demographic shift for the last 20 years, often described as the driver shortage. The average age of longhaul truckers today is increasing and replenishing an increasingly large retiring base of drivers is proving to be a challenge. The average age of a truck driver in the United States is over 48. Since 2000, the number of service and truck drivers 55 or older has surged 19% according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Young people have not seriously pursued trucking as an attractive profession due to poor image and working conditions that keep drivers away from family and friends. The life on the road reality is changing and much of it is made possible with smart phones, tablets, and mobile apps. Not only do these tools help drivers stay better connected to family and friends with mobile access to social networks like Facebook, they create a more professional image of drivers to the world at large. This new image of drivers is key to attracting younger drivers and women drivers. Drivers have the potential to create vastly better customer experiences by being better equipped and more engaged with the world around them. Impressions created by the driver matter, be it customer service imperatives from a trucking operation or drivers acting as the face to the customer for the goods being delivered. Choosing a trucking firm that employs well-equipped, on-time and courteous drivers reflects positively on the firm whose goods are being delivered. Drivers who are tooled for productivity represent an empowered face to customers that s good for all parties in the value chain. Everyone wins when the result is safer and happier drivers. For drivers, life on the road is made easier and more enjoyable with these new mobile tools.