Cellular Asset Trackers: Don’t Make The Mistake Of Investing In The Wrong One

There are so many cellular asset trackers in today’s markets for fleet managers, that things can sometimes seem overwhelming. How do you know which hardware you need to buy or how you can get the best value out of it? We will be discussing the different hardware devices for various fleet management needs and the scenarios in which fleets can use each device.

 

Cellular Asset Trackers? Why Not Satellite Asset Trackers or BLE Beacons?  

When speaking about asset trackers, there are many options available. However, the way they differ from each other initially is based on how the device transmits information. 

  • Cellular asset trackers use cellular network coverage to transmit data and information about an asset. As coverage varies based on specific locations, assets using these trackers that enter no coverage zones will not be able to transmit data.
  • Satellite asset tracker use satellite connectivity to transmit data about an asset and can be the more reliable option if your asset is travelling out of cellular coverage.
  • BLE beacons have pre-requirements (like asset trackers or BLE readers) in order to transmit data and information about an asset or group of assets.

 

Below we discuss 6 cellular asset trackers that are available, and how their features differ.

 

6 Top Performing Cellular Asset Trackers 

Flex Solar Asset Tracker 

The Flex Solar Asset Tracker is an asset tracker that syncs with MyGeotab and works similar to a Geotab device as it allows the tracker to be visible on a map. The tracker is solar-powered and is utilized primarily for the general tracking of bulk cargo containers, vehicles and other large assets that may not have a direct power supply – thus requiring solar energy. The ability to power the device through environmental conditions is critical as certain large assets that are travelling far distances or are being stored outside for long periods of time (like shipping containers) are often standalone assets with no power connections. It should be noted that a full charge can allow the Flex tracker to last up to 4 months with multiple pings per day. It’s also important to note that this tracker can be expandable for door sensing, temperature probing and tire pressure tracking.

Use-Case: How Long-Haul Transporters Are Using Flex Solar

The Flex Solar Asset Tracker is praised for its ability to remain powered with solar energy. Meaning, businesses no longer have to worry about removing trackers to replace batteries. Instead, they only rely on the sun to power the device so data about the asset tracker can be transmitted. This is particularly useful for commercial transportation fleets who conduct long-haul deliveries. As the device can continue to charge and transmit information via the sun, the asset tracker can always send real-time data. Typically, this solar power feature is praised by those who enjoy a ‘set-it and forget-it’ device, or for those who are looking to take advantage of renewable and free sources of energy.

 

Blackberry Radar

The Blackberry Radar device focuses on asset tracking for cargo, more specifically, for vehicles and non-motorized assets like bulk containers, trailers and various equipment where content quantity needs to be monitored. The tracker is unique as it requires a specific installation to allow for its radar feature (which analyzes the quantity of cargo within a container or trailer) to be used. Once the device has been placed at the predefined orientation, it can analyze the content capacity of the asset it is attached to. This is explained as acting like a camera that measures how much cargo is present. Having a radar function like this is new and allows for users to complete better planning as there are more accurate (and visual) load-stats available.

Use-Case: How Delivery Vehicles Are Using Blackberry Radar 

As previously mentioned, the Blackberry Radar tracker allows for radar sensing and load analysis of the quantity of content within an asset. Meaning, users can see exactly how much is within a trailer, truck or container in real-time. This radar tracker is particularly useful in delivery fleets who constantly receive new delivery requests. Using this tracker allows dispatchers to analyze and review the content quantity of each delivery vehicle. Essentially judging which vehicles are full and whether near-empty vehicles have enough space to pick up additional deliveries to complete that day.

 

Remora2

The Remora2 tracker is utilized for general asset monitoring and has expandability opportunities with BLE beacons. As the tracker uses a Bluetooth 5.0 gateway, which allows it to communicate with other local asset tags to report on them, it is the ideal investment if you will later need to invest in various BLE beacons. As a standalone device, this tracker is similar to the Flex tracker that was mentioned previously as it allows for general location tracking. However, what differentiates itself from the Flex Solar tracker is that it has an ion battery. Meaning, depending on where an asset will be stored or used most of the time, having a battery option may be the more powerful and reliable choice. As well, when compared to the Solar Flex, it’s important to mention that it is the cheaper option as there is no solar-power technology required. It is also important to note that the Remora2 device has an anti-theft mode, tamper detection, is geo-fence aware, and functions as a 3rd party device on MyGeotab.

Use-Case: How Commercial Transportation Fleets Are Using Remora2

Similar to the Solar Flex tracker, the Remora2 tracker is typically used within fleets who are conducting long-haul deliveries that require more pings daily or are spending some time in a location where solar changing is difficult. Meaning, having an ion battery rather than a solar-powered battery would be the more reliable option to suffice reporting needs. 

 

Falcon 

The Falcon device is a temperature-sensitive tracker which allows for fleets to monitor temperature and humidity. The device embodies a 5-year battery life with hourly reporting so users have continuous monitoring of temperature-sensitive cargo. Similar to the Remora2 device, the Falcon device has an anti-theft mode, tamper detection, is geo-fence aware, and functions as a 3rd party device on MyGeotab. 

Use-Case: How Food Transporters Are Using Falcon 

When tracking goods that are sensitive to temperature and humidity, the Falcon is the go-to tracker for many fleets. Since the device focuses on allowing users to monitor the environmental conditions of containers, trailers, trucks and more, it’s the perfect tool to use when moving food products. As improper storage is not an option for food products as it can lead to spoilage, the Falcon tracker can monitor the temperature and humidity of the location where food products are stored to ensure that conditions meet strict regulations. Forgoing a device like the Falcon leaves food transporters at risk for being found incompliant as there are numerous rules  regarding the proper storage and handling of frozen food, fresh produce and meat products to keep consumers safe. 

advantages-temperature-monitoring

 

Sensoneo Bin Fill Level Sensors

Sensoneo Bin Fill Level Sensors are a smart, enterprise-grade waste management solution that focuses on monitoring waste content quantity. The sensor is a robust device that can withstand harsh conditions such as water and is shock resistant which is perfect for its use in waste management. Sensoneo focuses on allowing fleets to remain efficient and optimized as it monitors how full a waste bin is, alerting users when the bin is approaching capacity. Additional features of the device include; Bluetooth, pick-up recognition, temperature measurements, fire alarms, and overturn alarm options. 

Use-Case: How Waste Disposal Fleets Are using Sensoneo 

Sensoneo is leveraged by waste disposal fleets who empty waste bins. Typically, the device is attached to a specific bin to monitor how full the container is getting overtime, alerting users of when it is near-full and needs to be emptied. When the tracker sends an alert about the quantity level, fleets can create a route that only visits the bins that are full or are at least 80% full – passing bins that are less. Doing this helps to ensure that time is not wasted visiting bins that do not need to be emptied so work is optimized and resources can be saved. 

 

A Cellular Asset Tracker Cheat-Sheet

When it comes to cellular asset trackers, there are numerous devices available that any business can use and sometimes, their features can become confusing. To help businesses better understand what their cellular tracker options are, we created a feature comparison chart below based on our analysis above.

Still unsure about what cellular tracking device may work best for you, or would like to learn more about a specific tracker? Contact us today so we can set up a time to chat about your unique needs. 

COVID-19 Recovery: Why Your Vehicle Data Is More Essential Now

The past few months have been an unsettling time for many workplaces as the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected businesses. Since this global pandemic started, Geotab recorded and reported on datasets to help fleets better understand the current landscape. As we are on the road to recovery, it is important for businesses to review how the commercial transportation sector is performing in relation to their own performance. Reviewing industry trends alongside personal vehicle data can allow fleets to make actionable decisions moving forward. 

Below we use Geotab specific data that was updated on May 29, 2020, to help our readers better understand current commercial transportation activity, industry-specific activity, and fuel fill-up activity in relation to their operations. 

 

Commercial Transportation Activity: A Slow Increase 

With a baseline of February 2020 being used, it is clear to see in the image below that in comparison to the lowest dips in April 2020 (when many cities were in peak-response to COVID-19), there is a slow increase happening across the world. This is seen specifically in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. While there appears to be a rise and dip effect occurring, many view it to be a good sign that the dip does not last for long, as well that the rises are gradually increasing. 

Source: Geotab 

When speaking about the future, many believe that when businesses begin to reopen, their activity will drastically affect this graph. It is predicted that with more businesses reopening and requiring more inventory, stock or supplies, more vehicle use will occur. 

 

Industry Vehicle Activity: What Is Happening During The COVID-19 Recovery

 

While the above graph may show positive signs that vehicle traffic is increasing, it’s important to note that it is not the case for all industries. Since February 2020, there are a number of industries where vehicle activity has not recovered as much as others in North America. These industries include non-freight transportation, healthcare services and business services. Many account this lack of recovery to be due to many unique businesses not reopening, or being unable to reopen to full-productivity. An example where this is visible is in the public transportation sector which has seen a continual decrease in activity as public transportation use is low (possibility as a result of the public not commuting to work as they are working from home). 

Source: Geotab 

Some industries to highlight that are steadily increasing are construction, government, freight transportation, retail and telecommunications. This slow increase is typically due to the reopening of many businesses that could no longer hold off operations and were approved by governments to slowly reopen. For example, within the construction industry, the longer work was paused, the longer the delays for construction to be completed. When speaking about condo developments or other development projects, many companies could not financially afford to hold off construction due to financial and contractual responsibilities to home buyers. 

 

Fuel Fill-Up Activity: What Increases Can Mean 

In North American the vehicle telematics data gathered by Geotab confirms that fuel fill-ups of varying larger-sized vehicles are increasing. The data shows that since the end of April, there has been a noticeable increase in the usage of LDT (light duty trucks) and MDT (medium duty trucks) vehicles. This is likely in accordance with traffic increases for industries who are looking to resume operations. It is important to note however, that there are some vehicles such as MPV (multi purpose vehicle), passenger and bus that may not see such increases in fuel fill-ups until there are less restrictions on public contact and public outings. The steady increase in varying industries is important to monitor because it allows for vehicle-based businesses to see how their specific industry is performing overall. 

Source: Geotab 

 

What Your Vehicle Data Means 

Properly Collecting Data 

With all of this information available, it’s important for businesses to use it to their advantage. Specifically, by reviewing the vehicle telematics data of their own business in accordance with industry competitors. By using telematics solutions businesses are able to review current operations and see whether their organization is on par with industry trends.

 

Collecting Your Own Data 

In order for businesses to truly see results from the data gathered by Geotab, there must be processes in place to collect information related to their fleet. If no solutions are currently in place, or businesses are unsure about what should be used, the first step is to use a GPS tracking device like the GO9. For the purpose of this discussion, the GO9 can be used to record the GPS location of vehicles and depict usage within detailed reports. As well, it allows for easy add-on hardware through an IOX expansion port to allow for future tracking of HOS ELD, auxiliary, temperature monitoring as well as other third party monitoring solutions.

 

An additional tool to use to properly measure against the industry trends mentioned above, is to implement a fuel card integration. Using a tool like FuelBi allows fleets to better track the fuel fill-ups of company vehicles. While the device initially focuses on tracking and visualizing important fuel KPI’s and transactions, it is also used to monitor how frequently company vehicles are being filled. This directly shows the usage of company vehicles.

 

Comparing Company Data To Industry Data

When businesses reach the point that they have accumulated enough data to properly view how their fleet is performing, it can then be compared to the industry trends above. After reviewing the data in accordance to current industry trends, business owners and managers are encouraged to adjust their operations accordingly. What this means is that if businesses see that they are performing at a lower rate than their industry, they need to research why. Sometimes a lack of operational customers or possibly a decrease in availability of your team are the answers. As there are various reasons for why your business may not be recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic at the same rate as competitors, it’s important to work with professionals who can point out why this may be happening and offer solutions that drive results. 

Interested in working with a team who can help? Contact GoFleet today. Our team is experienced in data analyzation and consultation as our goal is to have every customer outperform their competitors. 

Telematics Is The Key To Successfully Set Up For Home Deliveries

Times are changing, and many businesses are learning that they have to adapt in order to stay profitable. With social distancing and business closure regulations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic beginning to lift slightly for some sectors, many business owners are finding that they need to remain creative to begin operations again. With the need to limit physical interaction still required, many businesses are turning to telematics to set up for home deliveries. 

 

Why The Spotlight Is On Home Deliveries 

 

As previously mentioned, many businesses are turning to incorporate home deliveries into their operations. This is largely due to the inability to operate as usual because the coronavirus pandemic has required the public to partake in social distancing to reduce the spread. As a result, businesses were provided two options. Either they could momentarily close their doors until the government feels as though it’s safe for them to operate as usual, or they could implement new home delivery and/or curbside pickup options to remain profitable. With the pandemic continuing, many are finding that keeping their doors shut is not an option so they must adjust their operations – specifically to offer home deliveries.

 

Below we discuss not only the tools that can allow businesses to succeed while implementing home deliveries, but the ways that businesses are getting creative with this. 

 

Home Deliveries – Who Can Do It? 

 

Home delivery services may seem daunting to those who are not used to offering it, but it should not be feared. Currently, there are numerous businesses who are embracing home deliveries and are finding new ways to cater to their customers who are choosing to stay home and keep outings limited.

 

Brick And Mortar Or Specialty Stores

 

Depending on how the business was run previous to COVID-19, many brick and mortar businesses may already offer some form of delivery. However, those who did not have this offering before are quickly learning that incorporating an inventory and e-commerce platform is essential to continuing operations when consumers are choosing to stay home or limit shopping outings. By remotely working with tech-businesses to adjust websites, product images and inventory, brick and mortar as well as specialty store owners are finding that home delivery is possible once they find a reliable way to transport products. 

 

Food And Beverage Businesses

 

As one may assume, the food and beverage industry has been struggling to find their way after restaurants and cafes were ordered to close. However, with applications like UberEats, many restaurant owners are still able to provide food and drinks (even alcoholic beverages) to the public! In fact, this need for delivery has even inspired restaurants that can’t afford the fees of food delivery apps to employ delivery personnel to deliver orders that are taken over the phone or online. 

 

Consignment Stores 

 

Consignment stores are also finding new ways to run their businesses during this time. Specifically, by creating websites and incorporating e-commerce platforms to allow for owners to upload images of consignment clothing to allow customers to not only purchase online, but have it delivered to their home without contact. This idea being similar to many big-name clothing stores who have offered online shopping and home delivery for years. 

 

How To Use Telematics To Set Up For Home Deliveries 

 

There are many good ideas listed above in how unique businesses are finding ways to cope with running a contactless business during the COVID-19 pandemic. But apart from implementing e-commerce platforms, how can delivery services be run and properly managed? The answer is this: telematics solutions. Below we discuss how business owners can successfully use telematics to set up for home deliveries.

 

Completing Deliveries With Dispatching Solutions 

 

When it comes to using telematics to set up for home deliveries, if businesses are unable to use a mailing service, they will need to dispatch drivers to make deliveries. In cases that require an overwhelming number of orders or orders that span across a large geographical area, it’s critical that businesses use a dispatching solution. Using a dispatching solution can help business owners better manage their team in terms of who is completing which deliveries and what their routes will be so operations are optimized. 

 

Dispatching solutions like ZenduWork are great for businesses who are required to have more than one driver delivering orders as it organizes exactly where the driver is going, where they are in real-time, as well as order updates. Meaning, you’ll always know how your deliveries are going so you can even notify your customers about their order. 

 

Mapping Tools And GPS Tracking Solutions For Deliveries 

 

Another solution that is useful when businesses are using telematics to set up for home deliveries, is the use of mapping tools, specifically gps tracking. These types of solutions allow for business owners to stay up to date with what stage a delivery is at, allowing for up to date information about expected arrival times to be relayed to customers – boosting customer satisfaction. For businesses who offer same day delivery or focus on immediate delivery, this is critical as you are able to share this information with customers.

NEW Tracking GIF

 

Live Map Views For Customers 

 

Another solution that is extremely useful, especially for businesses who offer immediate delivery, is the use of mapping solutions like Public Map Share. This solution focuses on providing customers with the option to view in real-time where their order is. This is possible by using GPS tracking assets on vehicles conducting the delivery and relaying that information visually on a map that is updated every few seconds. Showing the delivery moving along its route. In turn, the customer can be provided with their own link for this map so they can view in real-time where their delivery is and whether it’s time to retrieve it from their doorstep. 

 

As business owners can see, implementing delivery offerings into operations may not be as daunting as it once seemed. For many, it just took a little creative thinking in addition to the right telematics solutions to properly and accurately conduct the deliveries. If your business is looking to improve their delivery offerings, or would like to better understand how using telematics to set up for home deliveries can help you begin delivery services, contact GoFleet today. We’re confident that we have a solution that can fit your unique needs during this uncertain time.

Managing A Fleet During A Crisis: Where To Start

As the world changes, businesses must react quickly in order to remain profitable. While this may be assumed, many still question how this should be done, especially within the commercial transportation sector. Below we discuss how in times of crisis, business owners must take extra precautions when managing a fleet during a crisis as regulations, demands and technologies are all changing. 

What To Do When Managing A Fleet During A Crisis

1. Follow The News As Regulations May Change

During times of crisis or uncertainty, it is not uncommon for officials to adjust regulations and rules that businesses follow. Typically this is to help organizations stay afloat if they are struggling or sometimes this is done to help better support the public. When speaking about current events, this tip of following the news for changing regulations and route information is extremely relevant for fleet managers who want to properly manage their team. 

During the recent and ongoing COVID-19 crisis, new regulations relating to HOS limits were announced as a way to help provide communities with more supplies. Specifically allowing drivers to operate commercial transportation vehicles even if they are over the previous hours of service limits. If fleet managers were unaware of this change, they would be unable to either cater to changing demands from customers regarding frequency of delivery (as depleted supplies will force businesses to place more strenuous orders), or provide adequate time off for drivers between routes. Both are troublesome for the well being of fleets.  

2. Follow Up-To-Date Information About Routes

On the topic of news about routes, information regarding a new 511 website and on-route screening was made available. The new 511 website was made available by officials so drivers could have better information about rest-stops, while information regarding possible on-route screen protocols were made available so drivers could anticipate possible delays. Both being critical for drivers to know about as it can affect their deliveries.

Source: 511 Alerts

When discussing the 511 website, it’s important for managers to update their drivers about this information as having access to this website can allow drivers to better understand where they can stop during routes and what is available at each stop. Without this knowledge, drivers can be left confused about where they are expected to rest with new COVID-related closures, or which stop will fit their needs. This is critical knowledge to share to drivers from managers because when a stop does not have adequate parking or resources, drivers will need to drive a detour route to find somewhere to rest. 

When discussing news related to on-route screening protocol, it’s important that drivers understand how their routes may be impacted. Specifically, whether there could be additional waits related to health screening. This additional screening would be for the purpose of ensuring that drivers are healthy enough to complete deliveries by officials and even receivers. In addition to notifying drivers of possible screening protocols, fleet managers can help to alleviate possible wait times by implementing symptom monitoring apps like the GoFleet Health Check App. This screening app works by having drivers input not only their temperature, but whether they are showing any possible symptoms of illness. Ensuring that there is proper documentation of the health of a driver. 

While managing a fleet during a crisis like the coronavirus pandemic, managers must be aware of possible impacts to drivers. Not only does this include changing regulations, but changing news and updates about route information. 

3. Review Current Technology And Tools

Being aware of your industry as a whole is only part of the process while fine-tuning your management tactics during a crisis. Fleet managers must also review their current operations and the technology they are leveraging. Doing so is crucial to ensuring that their team is working seamlessly and efficiently with no (sometimes hidden) losses. In order to do this, managers are suggested to perform a complete audit of their organization – the audit would be on everything from the software or solutions that are used to the protocols that employees follow. Such audits would focus on reviewing employee tasks in relation to the effectiveness of the tools used. Doing this will help ensure that your business is running like a well oiled machine with minimal hidden issues. While conducting an audit, watch for the following;

  • Keep an eye out for whether a tool or solution only has one limiting purpose or function,
  • Whether tools or solutions are unable to sync or integrate with other systems, 
  • Or, if current solutions are pulling incomplete data. 

For example, a dispatching system that only allows for the dispatching of drivers may be limiting if you also find yourself using supplementary tools to optimize routes, communicate with drivers or even send forms. As there are new solutions available like ZenduWork, all of these features can in fact be combined into one solution for one price. While managing a fleet during a crisis, having everything available in one location can make tasks and reporting so much easier and even reduce the chance of human error. 

While this review is performed, it’s not uncommon for fleet managers to find that they are in fact overloading their organization with unwarranted solutions. Sometimes when looking at the effectiveness of a tool and the utilization of it, managers may find that they are overspending on multiple solutions when single tools can complete the tasks of many. Remember, cutting down on unnecessary solutions and moving forward with all-in-one solutions can help your bottom line not only when speaking about how much the business is spending, but how much the business is improving in regards to productivity and efficiency. 

4. Research What Tools Can Help While Managing A Fleet During A Crisis  

After you take a look at your current tools and solutions, it’s important for managers to take a moment to see how else they can improve their fleet. Specifically by researching what additional resources can help them during this time and what their competition is using. Sometimes, during this audit process, fleets discover that they have new issues that they must address immediately if they want to remain successful during uncertain times. Some common issues that may come up are the following:

  • Poor driver performance as there is an increase in fines, complaints, fuel use or vehicle wear and tear
  • Discrepancies in paperwork, data and reports as documents are missing or incomplete 
  • Lack of streamlining as processes do not flow together 
  • Incomplete training resulting in improper processes 
  • Lack of communication 

Understanding exactly where any issues are can help fleets see where they need to direct attention if they want to move their team forward. For example, when speaking to driver performance, fleet managers may be made aware of an issue as drivers are continuously receiving penalties, fines or complaints in addition to requiring more maintenance and fuel fill ups. Finding these issues and bringing them to a solutions provider can help fleets find the right product to solve it. In this case, proper driver training through solutions like ZenduLearn would be useful to implement. As the solution would focus on using driving data and unique training modules to improve driving behaviours, events like speeding, harsh braking, acceleration and idling can be expected to happen less frequently. In fact once implemented, fleets can see drastic changes in skill, and even lowered costs associated with poor driving behaviour. 

If you’re interested to learn more about what solutions may help when managing a fleet during a crisis, contact us today. When it comes to addressing the issues mentioned above, we have solutions that focus on boosting efficiency, productivity and success! 

Precision Farming: How Technology Can Improve Efforts

Even though many still envision farming to be very labor intensive, it’s important to highlight how this has changed. Specifically how the agriculture sector has been adopting innovative technologies that pair with heavy machinery to boost efficiencies. And as a result, allowed for time-specific operations to be met regardless of changing variables. Below we discuss how telematics and precision farming is the new normal for countless agribusinesses within the agricultural and agri-food chain.

 

Telematics And Precision Farming: What Is The Relationship  

 

As briefly mentioned, telematics continues to find new and impressive uses. When speaking to agriculture, the implementation of telematics began in the early 1990s. This was largely due to GPS guidance being used by tractors. Since then, a lot has changed in terms of the advancements. Specifically the increase of precision through the combination of methodology and technology. Or, otherwise known as precision agronomics and precision agriculture which boosts the accuracy of farming techniques when it comes to planting or growing crops. 

 

Precision agriculture happens by collecting information via sensors or devices which then uses cellular and satellite connections to transmit the data to varying locations. Typically this information is sent to the cloud to be stored as well as other devices where software solutions are able to utilize the data. All of which allows users to go in at a later date to view and make appropriate changes. 

 

Such adoption of sensors, trackers and other tech-tools in agriculture operations have allowed for a unique ecosystem to be formed. This is not only visible in personal operations where the data, tools and actions work hand-in-hand, but in the agricultural sector as a whole because findings or techniques are often made public. With this being said, there is a lot of opportunity for tech-driven agriculture to grow, with many predicting for even more growth to happen in the upcoming years. In fact, it is expected for precision farming to increase from being a market worth USD 7.0 billion to USD 12.8 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 12.7%. 

 

 

Where The Original Need Comes From

 

As one can imagine, farming and agriculture work can be extremely labor intensive. Meaning, tools that can reduce the physical strain (and double as tools that make it more efficient) couldn’t be overlooked once suggested. When speaking to agriculture, it was found that telematics technology could be implemented into everyday practices to help move processes along and reduce errors that lead to wasted resources. Ultimately allowing for more work to be completed in a shorter time frame with less waste of seed, fertilizer, fuel and time as new precision was found. 

 

Precision Farming 

 

As mentioned before, precise farming or otherwise known as precision agronomics speaks to combining methodology with technology. Meaning farming techniques are adjusted to allow for more precise planting and crop growing. 

 

There are four tools and/or techniques to highlight which include; variable rate technology (VRT), GPS soil sampling, computer-based applications and remote sensing technology. 

 

Variable Rate Technology 

 

Variable rate technology refers to the ability of farmers placing specific controls on certain locations. Specifically changing the amount of inputs they apply. VTR focuses on using software, controllers, as well as differential global position systems (DGPS) to adjust their efforts. 

 

This technology is useful to ensure that resources are not wasted. When seeds are planted and incorrect paths are used while planting the seeds, it could cause too many to be distributed in one location (as a result of overlap passes), causing for growth to be limited. With VTR, controls can be used after environmental data is analyzed to ensure that seeds are planted appropriately. 

 

GPS Soil Sampling

 

GPS soil sampling refers to the testing of the soil in a specific location. Focusing on the available nutrients, pH levels, and other information that can affect how well a crop may grow. Understanding this is critical because without this information, individuals planting crops may not understand how they could have a more successful season. Sometimes it can be as simple as gathering data from the soil, analyzing the information, and applying certain precautions. Such precautions could be as simple as distributing fertilizer because the soil is naturally lacking some nutrients. 

 

Computer-Based Applications

 

Computer-based applications are highlighted for their abilities to create various plans and maps including farm plans, field maps, crop scouting and yield maps. These applications allow for precise actions to happen in regards to application of inputs (pesticide, herbicides, fertilizers, etc) on a visual and geo-specific level. Resulting in knowledge of the ground level, type of soil, among other environmental aspects to be known so more direct actions can take place. 

 

These applications can allow farmers to better understand the environment where they are going to be planting. As the leveling of the ground, type of soil and other information that farm plans, field maps, crop scouting and yield maps hold may require farmers to take extra precautions when planting. Telematics implementation via computer-based applications pull all of this and display it for farmers to better understand pre-planting needs. 

 

Remote Sensing Technology 

 

Remote sensing technology is exactly as one may expect – sensor technology that can remotely monitor and manage certain efforts. For agriculture, this can be seen at times when there are certain stressors affecting the quality of the crop such as hot temperatures eliminating moisture from soil. Sensors can be used to monitor all of this and alert farmers of certain conditions that may be harmful. When discussing the example of hot temperatures eliminating moisture from soil, sensors can detect when the soil has reached a specific level of dryness, prompting teams to add additional water. Forgoing alerts from sensors means that teams will have to physically monitor and estimate not only when to make changes but how much change should be made. 

 

 

Additional Benefits Come From Telematics In Farming

 

Depending on the work being performed, some farming operations may find certain telematics solutions more useful than others. Since high demands, changing environmental conditions, and fluctuating weather patterns can all affect the agri-industry, there is an ever-evolving need to adapt. For farming and agriculture, the solution is technology and tools to allow for precision farming. 

 

While the purpose of the technology can vary, the benefits that arise are typically the same. Usually, the telematic solution will increase efficiency, boost resource utilization, improve monitoring of efforts, aid security and increase maintenance management, among others. These benefits are further discussed below. 

 

Increased Efficiency And Resource Utilization 

 

As previously mentioned, telematics solutions can be extremely beneficial within the farming sector as it allows for operational efficiency. For example, one tool that has not been discussed yet, GPS tracking technology, can be leveraged to increase efficiency and resource utilization. This is because GPS tracking can allow for teams to monitor where equipment is or has been throughout the day. In fact GPS tracking or other high precision positioning technology has been adopted in nearly 80-90% of the tractors in the Western world. Tracking this data and mapping it ensures that the planting of seeds is precise and there is no overlap passing as previously mentioned. Ensuring that the right quantity of seeds are planted to lower wasted resources and reduce overlap of paths to reduce wasted fuel. 

 

Virtual Monitoring And Optimized Efforts 

 

In addition to boosting efficiency and resource utilization, telematics helps to monitor conditions to optimize efforts. As briefly mentioned, knowing specific information about crops and environmental factors can drastically affect the outcome of the crop. For example, a crop that has soil that is too moist or too dry could be difficult to notice unless someone is walking through fields or crops and checking on the conditions. However, with telematics, devices can be implemented to gauge what the conditions are like in specific geofence locations – so if one portion seems to be too dry, teams can optimize their efforts and rewater as necessary. 

 

Security 

 

As telematics focus on tracking the GPS location of assets, many are finding that telematics can act as a security tool. When GPS location tracking information is displayed on a visual map, teams can know where equipment and heavy machinery is located – and in some cases, see the ‘last known location’ if the asset is no longer on the map. Using telematics tools to track location helps during the recovery process if assets go missing as the last known location and even in some cases the current location can be tracked. 

 

In addition, geofences can be used and set up to alert teams when an asset is removed from a pre-set zone. All of these features result in theft of heavy machinery (which can be costly to replace) to be reduced, as well, for missing equipment to be found sooner so replacement costs are avoided and perpetrators are prosecuted. 

 

Maintenance And Troubleshooting From A Distance 

 

With telematics technology installed, heavy machinery and equipment can have their health status monitored. Specifically as telematics can not only record how the asset is being used, but the data can be inputted into software solutions and applied to algorithms to determine how the asset is performing. In many cases focusing on the efficiency of the vehicles (fuel usage and idling) or preventative maintenance scheduling. Preventative maintenance is a major benefit to highlight as using telematics and IoT connectivity can help to reduce the likelihood of unexpected breakdowns that halt work as well as the need to bring heavy and large equipment to be serviced unexpectedly. When this is not prepared for, owners of the machines risk high costs related to transporting the equipment, conducting repairs and even lost time. Using telematics for preventative maintenance has been known to reduce repair costs by up to 25% if performed regularly. 

 

 

How GoFleet Is Helping

 

Above are only a few of the general benefits that companies within the agricultural and farming sector have noticed after implementing telematics. While these benefits and the extent of improvements differ from business to business, speaking to a solutions provider about your specific needs and industry can help. With our experience, we’re confident that our team can take your unique needs and find a solution that allows you to see measurable results. 

 

John Deere Program 

 

One available solution to highlight, is part of the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) program via the Geotab integrated solution for John Deere. The telematics solution works to provide more information through a number of agriculture-related equipment to boost reporting, monitoring and machine operations. 

Should Your Business Be Using Telematics?

If you’re looking to grow your business, it’s important to review how telematics may be able to help. Depending on what your current and future needs are, telematics solutions that work to optimize efforts while boosting efficiency, productivity and safety, may be exactly what you need.

Click on the image below to learn more about how adopting new technology could in fact be what your business needs to move forward.

A Strategy To Reduce Fleet Collisions

When businesses require a fleet of vehicles to move their products from one location to another, it’s critical that they are focusing on promoting safety while on the road. When they are not doing this, sometimes drivers can accidentally drive in dangerous ways. Putting everyone on the road around them at risk. With technology improving to boost safety and reduce fleet collisions, managers and business operators must use it to their advantage.

 

Where The Concern Comes From 

 

Any vehicle accident is concerning. However, when a commercial motor vehicle is involved, sometimes the outcome of the incident can be much worse. As the size of the vehicles and the cargo carried are factors into making the collision worse for all parties involved, it sheds light on why commercial trucking is considered to be in the top 10 most deadliest jobs. In fact, in 2017, FMCSA reported that there were approximately 450,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks. 

 

With the most common fatal accidents being transportation incidents, managers and drivers themselves can’t be forgoing certain precautions to reduce the risk of collisions and accidents. Below we list various ways fleet employees at every level can do their part to reduce fleet collisions. These tips must remain top of mind as by 2030, it is predicted that road crashes will be the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. 

 

Commitment From Management 

 

Firstly, in order to reduce fleet collisions, there must be a specific level of commitment from management in regards to maintaining safety. This means that management must continually put the right enforcement in place. This can vary from strict policy to the adoption of new technological solutions, and everything in-between – all of which we touch upon later in this article.  

 

How Managers Can Reduce Fleet Collisions In Their Fleet

 

Enforcing Strict Policy

 

Strict policy enforcement by management is critical to lowering the risk of collisions in fleets. As fleet drivers represent a business, they must act responsibly and abide by company policy at all times. This includes when commercial vehicle drivers are behind the wheel of a company vehicle as they travel to a new work site or when they are delivering cargo. Such policies should look to reduce any risky behaviour like; distracted driving, driving under the influence (regardless of if the substance is legal), driving tired, or even driving over the set hours-of-service (HOS) in your country. 

 

While some of these policies could be hard to enforce and rely largely on trusting your drivers, it’s important to know that there are technological solutions available to help you! When monitoring the behaviour of your drivers, there are innovative dash camera solutions available that use facial recognition to watch facial movements as well as the vehicle movement on the road. So when a driver appears to be distracted, under the influence (swaying over the line), or even tired, managers can be notified to make contact with the driver to ensure they are okay to drive. As well, many ELD and GPS tracking tools like the GO9 device are designed to track not only driver movement, but compliance to HOS. So drivers are well aware whether they are compliant.

 

Pre-Trip Inspection And Proper Maintenance 

 

In addition to enforcing strict policies, managers must also reiterate the importance of keeping company vehicles in tip-top condition. This includes not only educating drivers on how to perform proper pre-trip inspections of vehicles, but scheduling maintenance so all commercial motor vehicle parts are in good condition, are working properly, and are safe to use. Doing this can lower the risk of a collision (that is caused by malfunctioning or broken parts). Such inspections should look at visually checking the engine, checking fluid levels, the wheels, the brakes, and more. A more extensive list about what should be checked can be found here

 

 

If a vehicle is placed on the road when there is a pending problem that requires repairs, it places the driver and others around the vehicle at risk. One way to combat the issue of poor maintenance is to use a maintenance management software solution. Solutions like Zendu Maintenance monitors not only the activity of the vehicle but it places the data in algorithms to determine and schedule when preventative maintenance should happen.

 

 

Proper Incident Investigations And Training 

 

As briefly mentioned, to reduce fleet collisions, managers must not only offer the right training, but complete proper investigations into driving incidents when they are reported. This includes using all of the available data and reports to determine what the cause of the incident was and put efforts in place to reduce the likelihood of a similar incident happening again.

 

For example, if an incident occurred because your driver was distracted and speeding while on the road, you can review dashcam footage as well as engine data to confirm the speed they were travelling at, as well how they were distracted (whether they were looking at scenery or even a mobile device). After this is confirmed, the information can allow for a new training module to be created and assigned to the driver to complete. This ensures that they are aware of how their behaviour puts themselves and others around them at risk, while showing how they can act more safely. 

 

Encouraging Safe Driving Habits

 

Similar to the above tip of management conducting proper investigations into driving incidents and implementing new driver-focused training, management must also encourage overall safe driving habits! This means constantly having drivers review training material surrounding this topic, sending out internal communication with tips or even conducting one-on-one driver driving to highlight poor driving trends that are happening. 

 

Some safe driving habits that can reduce fleet collisions are: 

  • Following distance while driving
  • Maintaining visibility 
  • Anticipating turns 
  • Keeping attention forward

 

 

Tech Adoption Via Telematics

 

The last way management can reduce fleet collisions is to adopt and embrace new technologies. This not only speaks to hardware solutions that have been designed to boost safety (such as dash camera solutions or electronic logging devices) but telematics software solutions as well! While some newer commercial motor vehicles are being fitted with such innovative tools while at the factory through OEM (original equipment manufacturer) programs, it can still happen for fleets with older vehicles. There are now a number of simple-to-install plug-and-play style devices that can have software solutions integrated via satellite connectivity. Such hardware and software can automatically collect data about the trip route and driver behaviour so management can always know how their drivers are performing. So when an incident happens and management is alerted by the telematics solution, they can quickly and efficiently address it. Not to mention, there are innovative devices that can be installed within vehicles to monitor the road ahead, alerting the driver if the sensors detect a possible collision coming. 

 

Safety should always be a top priority in fleets regardless of their size or purpose. Whether the driver is transporting large amounts of cargo or the driver is a technician who is travelling to their next site visit, you can’t risk them behaving dangerously on the road. With the above tips management should have the right insight to begin to reduce fleet collisions. However, if you’re looking for a little more guidance in how you can increase safety in your fleet to reduce accidents and dangerous behaviour, contact us today! With our experience and knowledge of nearly every industry, we’re confident that we can address all of your safety concerns with cutting edge technology. 

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems: The Secret To Boosting Fleet Safety

Within fleets, technology continues to advance and as a result, drive new benefits. These safety benefits don’t only keep drivers and others safe on the road, but can in fact lower excess costs related to accidents or other driving incidents. At the moment, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are extremely useful and are only growing in popularity as the technology continues to impress fleets of many sizes. Below we discuss how ADAS systems can lead to improved driver safety, less driving incidents, reduced road collisions, and less dangerous accidents. 

 

What Are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems? Who Is Using This Technology?

 

As briefly mentioned, ADAS, or otherwise known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, are innovative technological systems that help drivers not only keep better control of their vehicles, but drive more safely. As mentioned previously ADAS systems are growing in popularity due to safety benefits. However, it is also worth highlighting how many of the advancements of the technology has resulted from research and development into self-driving cars. This is because much of the advancements look towards automating driving systems and reducing the need of human intervention. 

 

Since benefits relate to improving efficiencies and safety, many fleets are implementing ADAS systems in their drivers vehicles. In fact, a recent 2018 survey found that approximately 40% of all fleets (regardless of size) are using some form of ADAS technology, with 74% of larger fleet sizes consisting of 50 or more Class 8 vehicles adopting the technology. 

 

Types Of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Used By Fleets

 

When discussing ADAS systems and fleet use, it’s important to look at the varying ways that fleets of any size can implement the technology. But before diving into the most popular systems, it’s important to note that advanced driver assistance systems can vary from being adaptive, automated, monitoring and warning systems. 

 

Adaptive Systems 

 

An adaptive ADAS system is one that adapts to its surroundings. Meaning that as a vehicle moves throughout an environment, the systems will help provide small adjustments to improve safety. Typically using previously gathered data in relation to its current environmental surroundings. One example of this is the cruise control features in automobiles. Adaptive cruise control (ACC) focuses on using distance sensing technology to detect the space between items or vehicles on the road. In terms of driving, ACC systems focus on using radar or laser sensor technology to not only anticipate the distance of vehicles in front of the automobile it is installed in, but automatically make adjustments in speed to ensure that the proper distance is maintained while driving. 

 

Automated Systems 

 

An automated system is a little more innovative than an adaptive system because it allows for the system to gain control over the vehicle and make adjustments to ensure that safety is met. The system typically takes control of the vehicle when a collision is about to occur. An example of an automated system in vehicles is the automatic emergency braking (AEB) feature. AEB automatically and immediately begins to brake when the vehicle detects that a collision or accident may happen in attempts to avoid it. 

 

Warning Systems 

 

A warning system is exactly what one may assume it to be – a system which alerts drivers of possible risks to safety. This automatic feature consists of in-cab warnings which alert the driver of possible issues in real-time. An example of this is forward collision warning (FCW) which uses real-time data of speed and objects on the road to calculate whether a collision could happen. If the system measures that the distance or angle of an object (including vehicles) ahead could be worrisome at the travelling speed, it will warn the driver of the impending collision. 

 

 

ADAS Technologies Used By Fleets

 

Blind Spot Monitoring 

 

This is an innovative feature that has proven itself to be extremely useful not only in the safety it provides, but its average adoption rate of 77.2%. Blind spot monitoring focuses on using not only cameras, but sensors to monitor the space surrounding a vehicle. The technology monitors for objects that are located in the drivers obstructed view (or otherwise known as the drivers blind spot). When objects are detected in the blind spot, the sensor-based monitor can alert the driver that there is something in the not-easily visible area. Many sensor-based blind spot monitors are now built into vehicles at the factory stage of manufacturing via OEM (original equipment manufacturer) initiatives. OEM blind spot monitoring typically consists of exterior cameras at the side or rear of the vehicle. 

 

Forward Video Monitoring 

 

Forward video monitoring is another beneficial feature to implement within fleets of any size as it provides front-facing footage of drivers on the road. Typically, a dash camera is installed in-cab, on windshields to automatically record what is happening ahead of the vehicle. The device then records footage automatically, and typically only stores footage for a short period of time unless an incident is reported. Video monitoring is extremely useful to help provide proof of driving events, lower risky driving behaviour, coach drivers in real-time on errors of judgement, and even relieve drivers from not-at-fault accidents or crash-for-cash scams. Forward video monitoring has not been completely adopted as it is fairly new with an adoption rate of only 52% (many myths surrounding the telematics device could be to blame). 

 

Lane Departure Warning 

 

Lane departure warning (LDW) focuses on notifying drivers on whether it is safe to make lane movements. LDW utilizes video, laser and sometimes infrared sensors to monitor the lane markings on the road. When the vehicle begins to move out the lane without signaling, it automatically alerts the driver of their (sometimes unknown) movement with audio or visual alerts. This feature is impressive because it not only has an average adoption rate of 51.2% in fleets, but has been expanded to include lane keeping assist (LKA) – the technology that helps to ensure that drivers are staying in their lane by taking control of the vehicle if need be. 

 

 

Air Disc Brakes 

 

Another advanced driver assistance system that is used by fleets are air disc brakes. These brakes are designed to help reduce stopping distance by almost 40% which is extremely attractive for heavy and large trucks (as these types of vehicles often require more time to manually brake). Air disc brakes function by applying braking pressure continuously to allow for the vehicle to come to a complete stop more easily. This technology has an approximate 46.3% adoption rate in fleets. 

 

Collision Avoidance 

 

A wide-ranging category of ADAS technology that has an adoption rate of approximately 44.7% is collision avoidance. While there are numerous collision avoidance technologies, forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) are the most popular. As previously mentioned, both of these avoidance technologies work to decrease the likelihood of driving incidents involving collisions.

 

Adaptive Cruise Control 

 

As previously mentioned, adaptive cruise control or ACC, is a technology which utilizes radar and laser sensor innovation to judge, measure and anticipate the distance between the vehicle being driven, as well as surrounding vehicles. ACC focuses on adjusting the travelling speed according to how close or how far forward the system detects a vehicle to be. This ADAS technology has an adoption rate of 39.8%. 

 

Electronic Stability Control 

 

The ADAS technology with the lowest adoption rate that we will mention is electronic stability control (ESC). ESC utilizes sensors to monitor steering control and proactively watch whether the ability to steer will be lost. If steering is lost (sometimes in extreme maneuvers like sudden or sharp turns to avoid collision), ESC will apply individual brakes automatically. Applying the brakes individually to wheels can help course-correct the vehicles movement and in theory prevent the act of ‘spinning out’. 

 

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

 

While there are numerous solutions available to help fleets, it’s important to highlight a tool that embodies a number of these features in one solution. This tool is the Samsara AI Dash Camera system which utilizes ADAS technology. Now, in addition to the standard Samsara dashcam features that fleets love, the camera solution will also offer the following: 

  • Forward collision warning
  • Unsafe following distance detection
  • Distraction driving detection

 

AI Dashcams With ADAS Technology Benefits

  • Receive multiple ADAS technologies and features in ONE easy-to-install device so you can see real-time results 
  • Lower the frequency of accidents while increasing the training opportunities 
  • Decrease the severity of driving incidents
  • Lower the costs related to accidents, driving incidents, and repairs 

 

 

Interested in learning more about Samsara dash camera solutions and their new innovative features? Contact us today! 

How Commercial Transportation Is Impacted By COVID-19

In recent news, not only has the medical community been affected by the outbreak of coronavirus, but the global supply chain as well. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the recent outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic due to its sudden and concerning spread. In order to combat the spread of the virus, the public has been told to practice social distancing and many businesses have even been told to close their doors. However, it’s important to note that these are not the only changes that are happening as a result of the outbreak. In fact, the commercial transportation sector is finding that the public’s new way of living (as a result of being impacted by COVID-19) is also changing their operations. 

 

Below we discuss an overview of how the transportation industry is affected by leveraging fleet data provided by Geotab via intelligent solutions. Please note that the data was gathered on April 10, 2020, via their blog

 

How The World Is Impacted By COVID-19

 

With coronavirus infection numbers growing, there have been numerous efforts put into place to limit the spreading of the virus. One effort, the closing of numerous borders, may have affected travel, but not commercial transportation. Borders still remain open for those transporting goods because of the increased need of supplies and equipment in wake of the city lockdowns, community social distancing and more. 

 

Initial Changes In Commercial Transportation 

 

When discussing how essential the transportation sector is, as they are still able to travel across borders for deliveries, it’s important to highlight how there has even been movements towards making transporting essential cargo easier. Specifically the Emergency Declaration issued by the FMCSA and the Essential Freight Transport Exemption which was put into effect by Transport Canada. Both of which focus on adjusting the hours of service (HOS) regulation that drivers within the transportation sector must abide to. These changes allow drivers to drive over the maximum HOS in their country (meaning strict HOS regulations have been changed as a result of COVID-19). However, even though transportation seems more important than ever as they provide relief to communities needing essential supplies, it’s important to look at how the volume of commercial transportation vehicles may be changing. Specifically how the volume (which includes the number of trips and the amount of fuel used) has changed since the month of February.

 

Affected Volume In Activity 

 

As one can imagine, there are countless changes happening to various industries. But when speaking to transportation, a decrease in commercial vehicle activity has been noted. Analyzing data that was collected from Geotab (from the dates March 15 to April 10), a noticeable decrease can be noticed in the percent of normal activity. With a baseline starting before March 15, continuing to April 10 – the time when many countries and industries started to be greatly impacted by COVID-19. Below is a graph which depicts the longitudinal view of commercial traffic volume that is being discussed. Specifically measuring the number of trips relative to normal activity, as well as the type of vehicle used. 

Source: Geotab; The impact of COVID-19 on commercial transportation and trade activit

 

As illustrated on the graph, various vehicles including heavy-duty trucks (HDT), medium-duty trucks (MDT), light-duty trucks (LDT), multi-purpose vehicles (MPV), as well as cars declined over time in regards to the amount of activity tracked. 

 

This decline is visible in a heatmap provided by Geotab when looking at data in regards to operating percentages and locations (micro regions in the U.S. and Canada). The chart compares what the normal operations percentage was in February 2020, to currently, in April 2020. 

Source: Geotab; The impact of COVID-19 on commercial transportation and trade activity

Source: Geotab; The impact of COVID-19 on commercial transportation and trade activit

 

In terms of Canadian changes, when looking at data from most recent weeks, compared to data from February 1 to March 15, Canada appears to be operating at 74% of normal commercial transportation activity. It’s important to note that the Maritimes is operating at the lowest when compared to normal – 67%. In comparison, the U.S. has also felt a large impact. The U.S. is operating at an average of 75% of normal commercial transportation activity. Reporting that the State of New York and New Jersey are the most impacted. They are only operating at 55% of normal activity. 

 

In brief, some other changes to highlight are; 

  • Ontario operating at 76% in comparison to 97%
  • Quebec operating at 68% in comparison to 99%
  • The West (US) operating at 68% in comparison to 100%
  • The Mid-Atlantic (US) operating at 74% in comparison to 100% 
  • The Midwest (US) operating at 76% in comparison to 98%  

 

Affected Fuel Usage 

 

With countless vehicles contributing to the commercial transportation sector, it’s also important to look at how these vehicles and usage are changing in terms of fuel during this time. Specifically looking at how fuel usage may be impacted by COVID-19 through decreasing commercial transport activity. 

Source: Geotab; The impact of COVID-19 on commercial transportation and trade activity 

 

The graph depicts that at the start of March 2020, there was a steady quantity of fuel being used among commercial vehicles. The data focused on vehicles that included buses, HDT, LDT, MDT, MPV, and passenger. A general decrease started on March 15, and continued until March 26. Since the end of March, the use of fuel in most cases did not recover to quantities previous to COVID-19, but is occasionally going through dips.

 

It is important to note that decrease was not as apparent within the trucking economy. Some may assume this is because while some operations may have changed, many commercial vehicles are still essential to transport supplies and equipment during this time. When reviewing the data of how the fuel usage of buses and passenger vehicles has dropped greatly, many assume it is because those vehicles are typically not operating at a high frequency due to health and safety recommendations. This includes how the public has been told to work from home (so there are less commuters) as well how the public is told to socially distance themselves from each other and stop public gatherings or events (so there is less travelling for leisure purposes).  

 

During This Change, Safety Is Critical 

 

With commercial transportation still remaining steady (with only minor dips) in terms of fuel use and volume, it’s safe to say that the industry is still steady. What this means is that even at a time where so much is in flux, the transportation sector is critical for many communities as they can provide essential supplies among other necessities.  

 

However, with so much uncertainty surrounding coronavirus and how businesses are impacted by COVID-19 in terms of safety and the length of the pandemic, it’s important for those who are on the frontlines to do what they can to stay safe. One way when speaking to the transportation sector, is for drivers and other delivery personnel to monitor for potential symptoms. Proactively monitoring for coughs, fevers and other signs of viruses can help reduce the possible and unknowing spread of the virus. Especially when speaking about individuals who are travelling constantly and moving cargo. Tools like ZenduCheck, a digital symptom monitoring app, allows drivers and other essential personnel to monitor their health. To learn more about how symptom monitoring can be useful in promoting safety in fleets, click on the button below. 

Keeping Commercial Transportation Personnel Safe During COVID-19

On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. Due to the uncertainty and fast spread of the virus, numerous community and country-wide initiatives were put into place. This included but is not limited to, the closure of borders, city-wide lockdowns, social distancing and the temporary closure of businesses. However, even though many businesses have been closed or employees are working from home, some organizations are essential during these times. For example, commercial transportation is essential at the moment as drivers are helping to provide communities with relief by delivering supplies and equipment. Something that many cities and towns can’t go long without. But what does this mean for those within the transportation sector? It means that now, more than ever before, we must work tirelessly to keep commercial transportation personnel safe. 

 

Recommendations To Keeping Commercial Transportation Personnel Safe

 

Since commercial transport drivers are still required to travel and come in contact with numerous individuals, it’s important for fleets to do what they can to ensure that team members remain healthy. Recently, Transport Canada has released information on how this can be successfully completed because if a driver does not take the right precautions, they may not only contract the virus, but they could unknowingly spread it. Some of the recommendations by Transport Canada and the CDC (the US Department of Health and Human Services, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) include focusing on vehicle cleaning, personal hygiene, social distancing and health status monitoring. 

 

Health And Safety Tips

 

Thoroughly Cleaning Vehicles And Equipment 

 

Throughout the outbreak of COVID-19, it has been stressed more and more to continuously clean and disinfect the spaces or items that we come in contact with. This not only includes the homes we live in, but even the vehicles and equipment we are using – especially for drivers in the transportation industry. In fact, Transport Canada recommends for regular cleaning of equipment and vehicles to keep commercial transportation personnel safe. This means drivers should not only have access to the right supplies to complete continuous cleaning tasks, but guidance in what should be disinfected daily. Below are some reminders and tips.

 

What Drivers Need To Complete Cleaning 

 

  • Personal protective equipment such as gloves
  • Disposable paper towels and absorbent materials
  • Disposal bags 
  • Cleaning agents and disinfectants

 

What High-Touch Surfaces Should Be Cleaned

 

  • Keys or fobs 
  • Starter buttons
  • Door and grab handles 
  • Pads, armrests, seats and seat adjusters, glove compartments, pickup tailgate handles, and sleepers
  • Steering wheels and shift levers
  • Consoles, dashboards, touch screens, power window and power door lock switches, as well as radio and climate control buttons
  • Turn signals and wiper stalkers

 

Maintaining Personal Hygiene 

 

In addition to properly cleaning vehicles, fleets are also directed to stress more importance on personal hygiene to keep commercial transportation personnel safe. This focuses on limiting the risk of an individual unknowing spreading the virus as well as unknowingly contracting the virus. As the virus can be contracted by an individual simply touching their face or eating food without cleaning their hands, this is something that can’t be forgotten about. The following are some personal hygiene reminders.

  • Cover mouths and noses with a tissue or with a sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Limit the sharing of personal items to stop the spread the virus 
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – especially when touching objects such as door handles or even cargo
  • Not touching faces with unwashed hands 
  • Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60%-95% alcohol if water and soap is not available to wash hands with 

This is essential for drivers who are travelling as they could be coming in contact with individuals who have the virus or surfaces where the virus is. 

 

Take Part In Social Distancing 

 

Even though drivers in the commercial transportation industry are unable to practice social distancing as much as others, it is still recommended for them to do what they can to participate. Social distancing is the act of creating distance and space between individuals in an attempt to curb the spread of germs and viruses. This works under the theory that with more space between each other, there will be less contact made, and thus, less of a possibility of a virus being spread among the public. With this being said, drivers should be reminded to limit the physical contact that they may have with other team members, receivers or other personnel on their routes, as well as their family members or roommates when they are at home. This can not only limit a driver possibly contracting the virus while they are on route, but spreading it to others regardless of if they are working.

 

Health Status Monitoring 

 

The CDC recommends for individuals to limit the spreading of illness by conducting health status monitoring. This type of monitoring focuses on having individuals who may come in contact with the virus to watch for possible symptoms over 14 days (or more if they are continually at risk for exposure). This is critical for drivers to take part in as they could come in contact with the virus during their daily routes.

 

Watching driver health speaks to looking for obvious signs of sickness and infection. When speaking about COVID-19, the most common symptoms are similar to the cold or flu, however also include fever, cough, difficulty breathing as well as pneumonia. While new information is developing regarding COVID-19 and some cases have been noted to have unusual symptoms, it’s important to stay up-to-date with news from health officials. 

 

One important part of health status monitoring is temperature monitoring as a fever is typically a sign of illness. As some individuals can spread coronavirus without showing any concerning symptoms of the virus, many are turning to body temperature monitoring to watch for fevers that the individual may not be aware of. When a fleet enforces a temperature monitoring policy among their team, it is important for the following steps to be properly communicated so accurate readings are recorded. This is recommended to be completed during the pre-trip inspection as well as periodically throughout the day as required by management. 

 

The following are steps to successfully complete temperature monitoring: 

  • Turn a clean thermometer on 
  • Place the tip of the thermometer (where it reads your body temperature) under your tongue 
  • Hold it until the device beeps 
  • Review the temperature 
  • Record it in a logbook along with whether there are any symptoms 
  • Clean the thermometer to disinfect it 

Image Source: CDC; CARE, Check and Recovery Everyday

 

If the thermometer records a high temperature or a fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), it is recommended that the individual stops working immediately and calls their fleet manager. At this point, next steps can be discussed (typically stopping all work duties until the fever resides or further testing is completed). As well, drivers should continue to maintain proper personal hygiene, monitor for additional cold, flu or virus symptoms, and participate in social distancing.

 

For additional information regarding symptoms, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/symptoms.html

To take the self-assessment tool offered by the Government of Canada, please visit: https://ca.thrive.health/ 

 

Electronically Monitoring Health Status

 

When discussing health status monitoring, many fleets want to have more visibility of the temperatures and possible symptoms of drivers. In times like this, electronic logbooks are a great option. Free apps like GoFleet Health Check act as a digital recording tool for drivers to input their daily temperatures and overall health status to help ensure they’re not showing common symptoms of coronavirus (such as a cough or fever). Drivers simply record their temperature with a thermometer, input the reading as well as whether there are additional symptoms, then continue with their route if there is no risk of being sick. If a high temperature or numerous symptoms are inputted, the health status monitoring solution will alert the driver that they are at risk and prompt them to stop all work, contact their manager, and take part in safety practices to reduce possible spreading of the virus. 

gofleet, health check, zenducheck, symptom monitoring,

For more information about using the app for free, please contact [email protected]

 

As concerns surrounding the virus continue, it’s important for management to do everything they can to keep commercial transportation personnel safe as they are essential to providing relief to many communities. For further tips on how to reduce exposure and spreading of the virus, be sure to follow government health officials as information is always changing.