To maintain successful operations, on any given day fleet managers must juggle a wide range of priorities from fuel costs, to driver safety, to regulatory compliance. Managing all of these moving pieces in silos quickly becomes overwhelming and costly. The trick to successful fleet management and efficiency is to implement one system that integrates, secures and controls all important assets at the same time, and the most effective fleet management comes from proactive and remote monitoring and control across the entire fleet. 

With ever-rising prices, fuel is a particularly complicated and substantial cost that fleet managers must carefully monitor. Specifically, a long-haul combination truck idles an average of 1,800 hours per year (or 150 hours per month) – an annual fuel cost of approximately $8,600. It costs an extra one-tenth of a gallon for every mile per hour a truck drives over 55 mph. Not to mention maintenance costs rise 30 percent when speed increases from 50 to 60 mph. This means fleet managers have to be able to consistently control driver speed and truck idling in order to impact fuel cost alone.

Distribution centers are big in every sense of the word, and getting bigger. Developers, retailers and investors are intensely focused on big-box distribution buildings, which encompass 250,000 to more than 500,000 square feet of floor space and have ceiling clear heights of 36 to 40 feet.

That’s big from every perspective, not least of which is user demand. Since 2009, the big-box sector has consistently outperformed the rest of the industrial real estate sector, as large retailers have moved quickly to secure the best space and lock in low long-term rates. Now, as several years of a slow construction pace have thinned out large blocks of space, the big-box market is seeing fast-rising rents and heightened investor demand.

As fuel prices continue to increase, businesses that deliver products and services to homes and offices must figure out ways to reduce their transportation costs, or risk declining profits. Many companies are deploying new technologies that allow them to compare alternative routing and scenarios, achieve scheduling precision in times of congestion and balance customer goals with costs. But to get the most out of any of these fuel-reducing solutions, companies must first understand how their fleet is operating and then identify areas that need improvement.

Today, transportation and logistics companies are prone to a variety of security risks and challenges as they work to make business operations streamlined and integrated in this increasingly connected world. These challenges can range from managing fuel costs and their drivers – including the speed at which these drivers travel – to complying with regulatory standards. However, one of the greatest challenges in the field that companies face is combating cargo theft. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the costliest.

Normally, airline contact centers have focused on operational excellence or improvement areas which affect the efficiency of operations – focusing on metrics such as improving utilization, reducing AHT (without compromising CSAT), reducing ASA, hold times, etc. But with newer tools available in the marketplace, airline contact centers can now use sophisticated technology that helps in improving effectiveness – providing a single, unified view of the customer across multiple channels, leveraging speech and text analytics and integrating multiple channels of communication for the customer care agent.

If there is anything in the trucking industry that has only become more valuable with time, it’s qualified drivers. Industry leaders re-affirmed the need for experienced drivers at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. In anticipation of a new rule on entry-level driver training standards mandated by the highway bill MAP-21, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration held a public listening session during which some of the industry’s most experienced professionals shared their opinions about the form the new rule should take. Although ideas on the new rule varied, there was one area in which nearly all agreed – a strong focus on training is going to be a key to survival for any company in the trucking industry.

Today’s increasingly global business landscape has resulted in a marketplace where suppliers, manufacturers and customers often are located in completely different countries and even on different continents. The pressure on companies to adapt and excel in this new environment is constant. In a recent survey conducted by Aberdeen Group, respondents cited the rising complexity and globalization of operations as their top business pressure, followed by the need to improve supply chain operational speed and accuracy.

It’s easy for transportation companies to focus on the same prominent initiatives when looking for ways to innovate and preserve resources – rising fuel prices, increased globalization, pressures to differentiate from the competition.

However, another potential menace to your efficiency and budget may be lurking within the heart of your operations: a less-than-optimal electronic data interchange (EDI) system that is hindering your transportation management system’s (TMS) ability to successfully integrate and operate as you grow.

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