Transportation accounts for 28% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA, and logistics makes up no small portion of total miles driven. But green logistics is the future. For companies looking to embrace a cleaner, more environment-friendly approach, telematics can drive real, measurable results.
Here are seven ways to use telematics for greener logistics and more sustainable fleet management.
Curb excessive idling
Reducing idling by even a small fraction can yield a huge environmental benefit, not to mention significant savings on fuel and engine maintenance. Telematics reports from a fleet management solution such as CalAmp let you review idling habits for each driver and identify drivers who need a reminder to turn off the ignition. Set a custom alert to be notified in real time to the most egregious idling so you can shut it down as it’s happening.
Curtail aggressive driving
Speeding, harsh braking and rapid acceleration all cause a truck to burn more fuel — and all are easy to track in a fleet management app. Video telematics adds context to these incidents by capturing a video snippet when they occur. Using your app’s incident reports, sort the incidents by trigger to discover which drivers tend to commit which offenses, then customize your coaching. If you want the ability to respond in real time to aggressive driving, simply set an alert for any aggressive driving behavior you choose.
The more miles driven, the more fuel used and emissions generated. To know when drivers stray from assigned routes, create a geofence around the route. View geofence reports at your leisure, or set an alert to be notified when a driver leaves the route for any reason. Geofences can also let you easily determine how long a route typically takes, which can facilitate route planning.
Setting geofences around warehouses and other delivery addresses facilitates greener logistics in several ways. For example, it allows the customer to be notified when the truck is a certain distance out so that on-site personnel can be ready to receive the delivery, which may mean less idling time in the loading zone.
Optimize schedules and loads
Making deliveries in the right order minimizes driving. A fleet management app can help you plan routes for maximum efficiency in terms of both total miles driven and miles driven with the lightest vs. heaviest loads, which can save on fuel.
Fuller trucks means fewer vehicles on the road. Affixing smart proximity tags to pallets or cartons and pairing them with a telematics gateway on the trailer can help you understand how many have been loaded and how many more will fit. Cargo-sensing technology that leverages cameras in the trailer could potentially make it easier to max out the volume available.
Reduce unproductive driving
Not every mile driven serves to bring cargo directly from point A to point B. If goods are inadvertently left on the truck or the dock, for example, a driver may have to double back to retrieve them. Smart tags affixed to pallets and cartons can solve that problem by ensuring that no cargo is left behind.
If a pallet jack belongs on the truck and it’s not there when the driver needs it, that’s another potential extra trip. Affixing a smart tag to the pallet jack and associating it with the telematics device on the vehicle will allow the driver to get an alert if the asset leaves the vicinity of the vehicle.
Update software over the air
Large fleets can potentially log countless miles — and rack up countless dollars in costs — bringing trucks into the maintenance facility to update their vehicle tracking devices. Hardware components with sensitive GPS and cellular connectivity can be configured and updated with new software over-the-air (OTA). OTA firmware updates allow new features to be added OTA to expand device functionality so your fleet always has the latest telematics technology.
Keep vehicles well maintained
Proper vehicle maintenance calls to mind the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Over-maintaining vehicles costs money and may waste oil and other resources. Under-maintaining them can cause the vehicles to burn more fuel, emit more pollutants, experience more breakdowns (which trigger additional truck rolls for roadside assistance) and suffer more tire blow-outs (which cause traffic backups that generate more idling). Getting maintenance “just right” is the goal, and a telematics-enabled fleet management solution can help.
CalAmp's application, for example, allows fleet managers to schedule maintenance based on usage reporting and get alerts when maintenance is upcoming or overdue. Setting up notifications such as low battery alerts can further minimize breakdowns. One day, sensors attached to each tire could integrate with a telematics platform such as the CalAmp Telematics Cloud™ to let a driver know in real time if a tire’s pressure is low enough that air should be added before a blowout occurs.
Logistics is all about getting materials and products from point A to point B. What happens in between can have a lasting impact on the environment. By boosting operational efficiency and improving vehicle maintenance and driver behavior, telematics can be the critical link that enables a greener business.
Request a demo of the new user experience of CalAmp application today.