As the rest of the nation grinds to a halt due to government restrictions and measures brought in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia’s transport industry is working in overtime around the clock to ensure everyone has access to essential goods and a connection to the outside world with the services available to us online.
Whether its delivery drivers dropping off groceries, local couriers delivering online orders, or semis rolling along our highways delivering bulk goods to supermarket, the transport sector is pivotal now more than ever to keeping our country moving.
Protecting those in the freight and logistics industry has never been more vital, with the sector accounting for nearly 9 per cent of Australia’s GDP. Most goods are packed, loaded, unloaded and signed for by hand, so human contact is a huge aspect of the sector. Thankfully, many operators are turning to innovative technologies to automate the workflow in the business that extends to protect their employees in these unprecedented times.
Compliance-based telematics solutions offer real-time communication between those on the road and those in the office. Now’s not the time for driver safety to fall by the wayside, and digital compliance management systems capture a detailed overview of fatigue management, maintenance, mass and inspections.
Technology also helps to induct new drivers and contractors into the business, allowing them to get up to speed quickly without requiring someone to sit in with them as they learn the processes. It’s as simple as handing the driver or contractor a device that manages the work required of them while getting them involved in their own compliance management.
Staying In Check
With paper-based pre-starts, questions are static and difficult to change. When it comes to electronic checklists, fleet managers can easily update or add in additional questions or entire checklists that ask drivers hygiene-related questions.
These can be based on either government rulings, customer advice or reflect any internal changes, such as social distancing, washing your hands and sanitising after each job. Best of all, these checklists can be updated instantly as new guidelines are rolled out across your entire fleet without needing to get into the truck. As conditions continue to rapidly evolve, you can also use this system to create an electronic post-trip checklist for high-risk sites.
There are a lot of new and existing documents you need to consider, from job run sheets, gazettes and permits to new customer site requirements and internal process changes in the business. Not only does uploading and storing these documents electronically eliminate unnecessary human contact, it keeps your fleet safely informed on the latest info regarding hygiene, government advice, delivery procedures, customer site requirements, mental health and more vital information.
You’re able to easily implement new practices and process in the business for all to follow with the technology already in the vehicles. Whether we’re experiencing a pandemic or natural disaster such as bush-fire or flood, technology keeps your workforce safe at all times.
Automatic Site Alerts
Keeping drivers informed of potential risks at different job sites or areas to avoid on their journey is difficult without the use of telematics. You have to figure out who is in which truck, then call them on the phone with an update, causing the driver to pull up during a busy schedule.
Leveraging second-by-second data via GPS technology, you can create custom geofences around important sites, such as customer depots and warehouses. These can offer the driver appropriate guidance for an environment, whether it’s a changed delivery procedure or hygiene checklist.
By setting up messaging along a route, geo-based technology is great for quickly inducting new drivers and moving them into independent roles quickly. It can also identify blockages along the supply chain and optimise routes. The tech can be extended to known rest stops that are still open to drivers, allowing them to safely pull up, refuel, eat or use the facilities.
When you’re out in the most remote areas of the country, navigating safety hazards and staying on top of emerging COVID-19 restrictions, having a constant line of communication to the back office is vital.
Through an in-vehicle device, staff are able to call drivers, and vice versa, notifying them of changing conditions, updated job requirements and other important information. With a one-touch interface to accept or decline calls, drivers can receive hands-free voice calls directly from the back office to the truck cab.
Voice communication via an in-cabin device allows drivers to verbally confirm with office workers that a task has been completed, streamlining the job management process for all. You can even send alerts that stay on the in-cabin device’s screen until the driver has acknowledged it, in case the driver is on a rest break.
Frictionless Job Management
Removing unnecessary paperwork goes a long way towards a safer and more efficient operation. Digitising jobs via an electronic task management solution allows schedulers to create run sheets and assign tasks based on real-time availability, including other data like driver’s current location, workload and fatigue levels.
For sudden jobs that a customer has called and asked to be completed instantly, real-time GPS tracking allows you to identify the closest driver to the site, you can direct jobs to them with an in-cabin device. These devices also allow for voice communication between the back office and drivers, so managers can receive verbal confirmation.
From managing pick up locations to deadlines and customer updates, all valuable information is synced in real-time between drivers and admin workers, providing all with a comprehensive, detailed view of each job and its current status.
Digital task managers and in-cabin devices eliminate exchanging physical documents between drivers and admin workers, ensuring the health and safety of both those on the road and those in the office. Taking photos as proof of delivery will create a contactless delivery process, with no need for a written signature.
As we continue evolving into a socially distant society (at least for now), keeping workers in the transport and logistics industry safe has never been more important for ensuring the sector continues to move forward in these unknown times.
By using advancements in technology to monitor driver safety, manage jobs, communicate with those on the road and oversee compliance, all through the same in-vehicle device, the sector can protect the health of all workers while they keep our country going.