In recent years, the freight hauling sector has witnessed an industry-wide push towards trip insight and track-and-trace solutions, understandably buoyed by consumer expectations about visibility and transparency into supply chain operations. The “Amazon effect” has had a sizeable impact on the evolution of supply chains, with stakeholders looking to automate large sections of the logistics processes and banking on data analytics to drive efficiency into operations.
Real-time trip visibility and data insight helps companies gain a competitive edge in the market, especially in long haul and last-mile movement. Trying to predict estimated times of arrival (ETAs) many hours ahead of schedule would typically be inconsistent with actual arrival times, since traffic and weather conditions are too dynamic to be anticipated well in advance. And even with the most precise planning, fleet managers can’t always control what drivers’ actual objectives and plans are during a trip. Do they want to take an earlier break? Stop in a different town at a preferred rest area?
Having not only a real-time ETA, but one that dynamically changes based on actual conditions and events that occur on the road, helps fleets make informed, proactive decisions to avoid service failures. The fleet back office remains connected to the truck and the driver, monitoring delays and any out-of-route events due to breakdowns or other emergencies, helping it plan future loads based on data-driven insights on when the truck would be available for the next haul. Operationally, dispatch has automated visibility of the actual ETAs that they can then share directly with customers, reducing calls to drivers and ultimately providing superior customer service.
Trimble MAPS, the company behind the PC*MILER solution for commercial truck routing and mileage, now offers a trip insight and management solution to automate visibility of real-time conditions, like traffic and weather, along with driver intent, what actions or behaviors a driver will make on the road.
This set of web and mobile APIs can be used by fleets or solution providers to build applications off of the company’s map-centric development platform or merely use the platform to enhance their current solution. Trimble MAPS’ fleet of solutions help users gain unique insights into their freight hauling trips, while also assisting with micromanaging different sections of freight movement – from planning to execution to analysis.
In essence, the idea is to automate real-time visibility and precisely understand ETA impacts and actual arrival times, based on driving conditions like traffic and weather, as well as accounting for driver intent and behavior. Apart from helping fleets keep an eye on their trucks at all times, it also helps to provide impeccable customer service by giving exact pick-up or drop-off time windows – and in many ways, going beyond expectations by providing real-time visibility into cargo movement.
Currently, LoadMaster’s Trip Management module from McLeod Software and TruETA from Trimble Transportation have integrated trip insight and management solutions and are available for customers.
As a company, Trimble MAPS has been in existence for 40 years, but it was not until February 2019 that it was rebranded from ALK Technologies. Notably, ALK Technologies was acquired by Trimble in 2012, and had continued to exist under the same name until the rebranding decision earlier this year.
Trimble MAPS offers routing, scheduling, visualization and navigation solutions, including PC*MILER, CoPilot, and Appian, as well as a comprehensive development platform, all specifically designed for commercial vehicles.