The November 2019 issue of Work Truck takes a deep dive into technology and tires, two incredibly important aspects of a commercial work truck fleet.
Without tires, our trucks wouldn’t move. Without technology, we’d be practically blind and lost.
Impact of Technology
All technology is continuing to evolve at a very rapid pace. Fleet tracking technology is no exception.
“The latest solutions not only have all the traditional capabilities but also provide breakthrough results in data analytics and driver safety. In the past few years, hardware prices have fallen, and overall monthly subscription costs and contract terms are much more affordable. Just like deciding if the most recent release of an iPhone or Android warrants the purchase of a new phone, fleet managers should set regular biannual or annual reminders to scan the marketplace for new technology that can deliver better results,” said Ananth Rani, CEO of Azuga.
And today, more people and fleets than ever are not just using technology, but depending on it for accurate data, driver and public safety, and so much more.
“Technology is a journey. You must constantly be communicating with and evaluating your solution providers to ensure you are getting the most out of your current solutions. You should be continuously expanding your product knowledge and increasing the use of telematics and other technology for safer fleets, lower costs, and increased compliance,” said Sherry Calkins, VP, Strategic Partners for Geotab.
When discussing tech with our subject-matter experts, the top theme I kept hearing: accurate data is king.
“For any buyer of technology, particularly in the asset tracking market, it is critical to ensure you have reliable and accurate data. Decisions throughout the organization are based on data reported and captured, so the data must be accurate, timely, and reliable,” said Christopher Plaat, SVP and GM for BlackBerry Radar.
Understand your current tech solutions, your fleet needs, and any environmental or regulatory conditions that may be impacting your fleet.
“It’s about knowing your solution and what else is available. Do not become complacent and be sure to revisit capabilities available for telematics in the fleet. The world today is not the same as yesterday, and discoveries happen often,” said Jordan Guter, associate vice president, Solutions Engineering for Geotab.
Truck Tire Changes
Seemingly hand-in-hand with the theme of technology we are also digging into truck tires — both trends and the technology that’s driving changes.
A few of the factors impacting tire pricing and the overall market include last-mile delivery and e-commerce, regulatory changes including GHG Phase 2, and several new truck launches.
“In recent years, a key growth driver, particularly for commercial light trucks, has been the growth of the last-mile delivery segment, where total revenue has increased 17% between 2015 and 2018 and employment is up 33% over the same period. The 19.5-inch rim tire sizes have seen strong growth as a result, and while consumer spending continues to remain strong, the last-mile delivery segment and the truck tires used in the market are projected to see steady growth,” said Justin Brock, marketing manager - Construction & Tweel for Michelin North America.
Another key tire takeaway: Cheap is not inexpensive.
“I once had a customer tell me, ‘I can’t afford a cheap tire,’ ” said Tom Clauer, senior manager of commercial and OTR product planning for Yokohama. “Too often, fleets/owner operators look at what product has the lowest original cost. Trying to save too much in the short term often leads to higher expense in the long term.”
Remember: Do your homework, calculate for the long haul, and know what the cost will be for the entire lifecycle of the tire.
What aspects of tech and tire management do you find the most difficult?
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