Guest Column | November 1, 2021

How Vehicle Telemetry Transforms Logistics

By Roman Davydov, Itransition


The pandemic's aftermath, labor shortage, increased customer demands, and other factors disrupt the logistics industry and force service providers to move toward more profitable performance. Cost reduction, supply chain visibility, and transport optimization have become the top priorities for those logistics organizations that strive to survive and prosper.

Even though adapting to the harsh market conditions isn't an easy task for enterprises, recent developments in logistics software make it more than real. For instance, teams can implement vehicle telemetry to manage routes and drivers better, reduce fleet maintenance costs, and automate routine workflows.

This article will cover the concept of vehicle telemetry, show how logistics providers can apply this technology in practice, and tell what business benefits it can bring.

What Is Vehicle Telemetry?

In short, this is how the technology works: logistics providers equip their vehicles with sensors that collect critical data about each fleet unit and its driver (most often, this information includes vehicle condition, location, and transport speed). Then, telemetry modules transmit the data to a central repository via wireless networks powered by the Internet of Things.

While the concept of vehicle telemetry may look quite simple, the impact of this technology can be genuinely disrupting as it enables teams to transform a wide variety of logistics work processes. In particular, it allows logistics managers to gather and analyze driver and vehicle data to streamline and improve things like driver safety, vehicle maintenance, delivery routes, and even customer or partner satisfaction.

Now let's discuss how vehicle telemetry can be applied to logistics workflows and discover what business benefits it can bring to service providers.

How Enterprises Can Utilize Vehicle Telemetry Data

Route Optimization

As we have already mentioned, by using telemetry logistics managers can easily find out the location of a particular vehicle. The important thing is that this data can be used even after the delivery is finished; for example, teams can use such information to analyze the existing routes and discover shorter and more convenient alternatives.

Let's say the data from sensors indicate that vehicles are moving slowly along a particular route section due to horrendous traffic; now, your logistics managers can ignore this specific road section when planning a future shipping route.

Similar insights allow logistics companies to significantly accelerate the transportation of goods, increase customer satisfaction, and gain new business opportunities. For instance, by finding shorter and more efficient routes, your logistics company can increase the amount of cargo delivered per day.

Preventive Maintenance

Today many logistics providers conduct regular mechanical inspections to monitor the technical condition of their vehicles; despite the importance of such procedures, they may be costly and time-consuming. On the contrary, with vehicle telemetry, preventive maintenance can become much more manageable.

A team can use telemetry scanners to track such parameters as fuel level or engine temperature and thus receive information about the fleet's health in real time. This way, organizations can decrease the need for routine mechanical inspections and examine only those vehicles that have already demonstrated some technical issues.

Driver Management

Vehicle telemetry enables companies to gain insights about their drivers as well; for instance, companies can use telemetry scanners to gather data on the employee's average driving speed. Thus, logistics managers can identify drivers with good driving skills and assign these to more prolonged or challenging routes. Likewise, you can use this data to reward more qualified employees or discover less experienced drivers to train them.

Risk Mitigation

Commercial shipping is a risky business where many things can go wrong; at the same time, the cost of a mistake is very high — after all, in case of an accident, it is not only the business reputation at stake but also human lives. Fortunately, even in this regard, technology vehicle telemetry has something to offer.

First, the sensors can monitor the status of vehicles and send real-time information about any technical issues to the dispatcher and other team members. If there's some risk, technicians can contact drivers and provide them with advice and relevant recommendations.

Secondly, vehicle telemetry can help enterprises mitigate the human factor. For example, automated tracking systems can analyze driver behavior using data from sensors to notice alarming changes. So, the system can see that the driver is drowsy and send sound alarms to prevent a possible accident.

Final Thoughts

The shift in the logistics industry and changes in the market conditions are forcing companies to opt for increased operational efficiency to remain competitive. In particular, companies that strive to survive and succeed have to streamline their work processes and reduce operating costs.

Luckily, emerging technologies can assist logistics enterprises in their workflow transformation. For instance, enterprises can adopt vehicle telemetry to streamline fleet management, boost driver productivity, and mitigate operational risks.

About The Author

Roman Davydov is a Technology Observer at Itransition. With over four years of experience in the IT industry, Roman follows and analyzes digital transformation trends to guide businesses in making informed software buying choices.