While the rest of the nation ground to a standstill in 2020, Australia’s essential industries went into overdrive. The transport sector worked tirelessly to ensure everyone across the country had access to essential goods. From delivering bulk goods to supermarkets to dropping off grocery deliveries and online orders, it played a vital role in keeping the country moving.
However, this year has resulted in many new trends and changes driven by COVID, as businesses accelerated their digital transformation to adapt to remote work and achieve financial sustainability to reach their customers in new and exciting ways.
In 2021, organisations across transport, construction and local government will be contending with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and the new ways of working that are here to stay.
Here’s how they can harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and smart technology to stay ahead of the curve and deal with disruption.
Road freight services have always been important, but in the past year, demand for groceries and other essential goods increased by up to 40 per cent in some capital cities. While the number of COVID-19 cases has dropped dramatically in recent months in Australia, many of the restrictions set in place during the pandemic will be sticking around for a while, from rigorous on-site requirements, and in particular, border restrictions that require drivers to obtain a permit for crossing state lines.
For operators that are required to travel across the country, it can be difficult to manage all the necessary permits. Thankfully, Electronic Work Diaries (EWDs) and in-cabin messaging devices paired with AI-based fleet management systems enhance transparency and compliance across fleets.
All relevant information for jobs, including location, time, border crossing requirements and more, is available to both drivers and back office workers at any time. Having all this important data viewable via the one interface ensures that drivers are staying safe while abiding by border restrictions and safety requirements.
With freight demand not slowing down any time soon, AI-based systems also help to streamline fatigue management to make sure drivers are staying safe and rested while meeting demand. Instead of having to manually enter data from written work diaries, all work and rest information is viewable at a glance when you use an EWD. A proactive fatigue management strategy allows operators to manage violations as they arise while also letting drivers take fatigue management into their own hands.
Australia’s construction industry is expected to have a workforce of 1.3 million by the end of 2022. Despite the anticipated growth of the industry and many recently announced projects, construction still faces a productivity problem as it struggles to incorporate digital technology infrastructure to efficiently manage everyday operations compared to other sectors like mining.
Without effective asset and resource management, construction businesses risk stretching staff thin across various worksites in an attempt to manage demand. Smart fleet management systems driven by AI and machine learning offer a clear and comprehensive picture of where your staff are at any given time. If an urgent job comes in, you can assign the nearest worker to the task – this boosts customer service by ensuring the job is completed as quickly as possible.
Smart fleet management systems paired with GPS location tracking also allow construction managers to effectively manage their assets. You’ll know when a certain piece of machinery is being used extensively, or if it’s sitting idle, you can send it to a job site where it’s needed most.
You can also see how your assets are being used, so if there’s a piece of equipment that gets regular use, you might choose to own it outright instead of renting it out every time it’s needed.
Impacted by barriers like rate-capping and cost-shifting, local governments across Australia are struggling with financial sustainability and the ability to provide essential services and infrastructure in their communities.
Thankfully, AI and ML-driven fleet management systems are making it easier for local governments to lower costs and boost productivity with big data. Real-time AI-based analytics show fuel consumption per vehicle so managers can see when vehicles are idling or speeding both of which contribute to unnecessary fuel use.
Historical data like waste management routes can be pulled up and viewed at any time, and ML-powered telematics systems let you see where you can optimise your routes to improve customer service.
The Beyond Zero Emission Australian Local Government Climate Action Review also found 56 per cent of surveyed councils currently had a corporate emissions reduction target. AI comes into play here too, with data provided by AI-powered smart fleet management systems highlighting environmentally unfriendly behaviours to ensure councils keep their green strategies on track.
As 2020 comes to a close, businesses across transport, local government and construction are looking to the future. Advancements in technology like AI and machine learning are helping these companies overcome potential threats and obstacles by offering data transparency, reducing data entry allowing workers to self-manage fatigue.