Cloud-based technology in transportation — How one startup is leveraging opportunity
With issues of poor communication, unrelenting competition, high driver downtime, and capacity growth, the transportation industry is under pressure to increase driver efficiency and satisfaction. For transportation companies, cloud computing and field services software offer potential for disruption in business agility, revenue growth, operations capability, and integration among partner systems. (Just ask IBM.)
Despite this, a study by PwC reports that transportation companies are lagging in digitization efforts, 50% citing “lack of digital culture and training” as the biggest challenge in building digital operations. Still, cloud-based technology is increasingly playing a role across business models with the public cloud services market expected to grow 18% in 2017 to $246.8 billion.
A part of an industry worth $700 billion as of July 2017, CEOs must begin to embrace and integrate mobile technology within the field of their respective companies. Carl Rodrigues, CEO and founder of Internet of Things (IoT) management firm SOTI, points out: “[Our] research highlights a lack of integrated mobility tools [among CEOs of transportation and logistics companies]. Many organizations are using mobility for the basics, but do not know how to implement the next level of mobile integration to transform their workforce.”
“However, at this juncture, it’s very much a sink or swim time for businesses,” Rodrigues added. “Ignoring the endless possibilities innovation brings could prove disastrous for organizations who fail to jump on board. Leaders must act now to stay ahead of the pace of change, or risk finding their business adrift while the competition rides the wave of the mobility tsunami.”
REACH, a computer maintenance management system and mobile app by Vantage Solutions, LLC of Youngstown, Ohio, endeavors to change the way transportation businesses communicate with work order tracking for intermodal drivers, trucking companies, and service providers. The driver vehicle inspection report app allows tenants to request equipment repair service for breakdown recovery from their smartphones, maximizing efficiency and user familiarity.
“REACH is simple and solid,” said Paul Burgoyne, transportation applied technology expert and founder of Vantage Solutions, LLC. “It makes the process of the requester (driver), provider (technician), and observers (equipment owners and shippers) very clear and easy to follow while keeping the process flow visible. We incorporate ecosystem controls and an excellent rules engine to let our customers tailor their universe of service providers.”
Using tools such as mapping, custom services provided, and chat functionality, REACH has facilitated over 50,000 successful service events to more than 500 companies. With virtually no installation required, tenants have faced fewer obstacles and more time on the road – 22,083 hours, to be exact.
“[Our company] optimizes the REACH application as it removes many unnecessary phone calls and wasted steps,” said Chip Thomson, Manager of Toyota Tsusho America in San Diego, California. “It also provides visibility into chassis readiness in a real-time environment.”
With the successful adoption of mobile applications in the trucking industry, everyday tasks such as fuel purchasing, invoicing freight shipments, and carrying out vehicle equipment repairs will allow for higher asset utilization within smaller fleets and act as a disruptor across the North American transportation industry. According to Chandramowli Kailasam, team leader for commercial vehicle research at Frost & Sullivan:
“Fleet optimization apps will drastically bring down cost barriers to adopt services that were previously only accessible through traditional telematics players requiring hardware.”
As for the future of REACH, the road ahead is looking bright.
“Our goal has always been to improve the daily productivity of transportation professionals,” said Burgoyne. “We believe that drivers and technicians are an underserved stakeholder base and REACH is designed to help them both.”