Safer, Greener and More Productive Fleets with IoT

By Juhi Fadia January 14, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) promised to revolutionize many industries and the freight transportation sector is proving to be no exception. 

In recent years, this industry was impacted by the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, requiring drivers’ hours of service to be captured electronically instead of paper logs; and the Food Safety Modernization Act, a sweeping reform to assure the safety of food throughout the supply chain that requires temperature tracking of all refrigerated product during transportation.  IoT has provided the means for logistics companies to comply with these regulations and more.

Supply chain assurance is accomplished by placing sensors on every aspect of the vehicle to acquire actionable data.  “At the end of the day, the IoT journey is all routed in safety, reducing fuel and increasing productivity by using technology to do more with the same number of assets,” said Craig Marris, EVP of Mixed Fleets at Coretex.

Coretex, a leading fleet management provider, develops could-based visualization software to help customers worldwide turn rich data into automated business intelligence.  The company now has over 70,000 units operating in the U.S. within the in-cab, cold chain, construction, and waste & recycling markets.  Coretex’s platform offers live tracking, auto-statusing, remote management, geofencing, driver behavior monitoring, camera integration, and alerts with numerous dashboard and reporting options. 

We spoke with Marris to learn how IoT has evolved in the fleet management industry to enhance safety, improve efficiencies and reduce waste.

Safety for All
According to the US Department of Labor, workers in the trucking industry experience the most fatalities of all occupations, accounting for 11 percent of worker deaths (840 truck drivers) in 2017.  In-cab telematics data helps ensure the safety of the driver and improves the safety of our roadways by measuring hours of service for regulatory compliance.  Systems also measure performance data to determine real-time “high risk” behavior issues such as excessive speed, cornering, distractions, drowsiness or medical emergency incidents and allows programmable range tolerances with auditory buzzer or visual alarms.  All this information is imported into a driver scorecard used for training and incentive programs to correct unsafe operating behavior and reduce accidents.

IoT makes vehicles safer.  Onboard computers connected to vehicles’ engines collect data across a number of points to provide real-time engine faults, tire pressure, break functionality, among others.  Tools such as Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) offer paperless pre-and post-trip checklists for drivers to identify defects within vehicles. By adhering to preventative maintenance schedule and adopting technology to identify potential issues, fleet operators can extend vehicle lifecycles and avoid unnecessary equipment failures on the road.  

Consumers are also impacted.  Numerous international food handling and food safety laws have been implemented to reduce the risk of foodborne illness resulting from bacterial growth.  A major component of most “farm-to-fork” regulations is the ability to track, report and maintain appropriate temperature conditions inside refrigeration and freezer units throughout the entire cold chain, including transportation.  Automated, data-driven sensor technology measures the fuel levels of refrigerated trailers, door open/close, temperature and humidity.  These systems guarantee food quality and safety for end-users. 

In the construction industry, sensors are attached to ready mix concrete vehicles to acquire valuable data about the bowl/drum rotation, mix, water-added, slump and time to pour to ensure the end-to-end quality and strength of concrete delivered for our buildings, roads, and bridges.

Data-driven productivity
Cumbersome paper-based ticketing systems and manual processes where dispatchers communicate with drivers to predict vehicle location, stage in the delivery cycle and estimated return time are now methods of the past.  Real-time tracking and integrated job statusing allow key personnel in the supply chain to see at any given point in time just how many trucks are ticketed, en route, on site, waiting on site, as well as the cargo load details.

This level of transparency has been a game changer for trucking companies.  As an example, in the waste industry haulers are able to improve service delivery with mobile tools that deliver real-time tracking and proof of service tools to show where waste and recycling trucks are, where they have been, and most importantly, whether or not service was performed.  Using route management solutions, a municipality and/or service provider is able to track and view on enterprise-grade maps the real-time route status of work orders.  Citizens also have access to the relevant data they desire via mobile apps that show when their trash and recycling collection is scheduled for pick up and if there is a truck on the way.  

A greener environment
As a globally responsible company, Coretex strives to give their fleet operator customers innovative tools to burn less fuel and avoid waste. Excessive waiting at job sites or delivery locations are costly, especially when the engine is running.  Reducing fuel consumption is one of the biggest money savers that fleet IoT platforms provide.

E.A Sween, a large fleet operator, used Coretex’s IoT platform to report on time delivery metrics and trucks’ work time vs. idle time on a daily basis.  With an innovative geofence feature, the company measured and communicated a goal to drivers that they needed to shut the engine off within one minute upon arrival at delivery locations.  The company reports that idle time plummeted more than 90% and saved the company $80,000 per year in fuel costs, in addition to reducing its carbon footprint.

IoT continues to provide useful technology that has created multiple benefits across a wide variety of fleet use cases, and more is on the way.

“Thus far, there has been a significant impact on improving safety and driver behavior as a result of IoT within transportation.  What gets measured, gets managed,” said Marris. “The industry will see even more advancements in the area of supply chain assurance and product safety such as food and medical supply delivery.  We recently launched a CoreTemp  solution that automates workflows and replaces manual probes with temperature simulations. With IoT in freight, the innovations of the future are endless and I’m confident Coretex will be leading the way.”

Juhi Fadia is an engineer, analyst, researcher and writer covering advanced and emerging technologies.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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