Access to good data and the ability to analyze it is also helping fleets to improve the bottom line by reducing wasted effort in all its various forms, from out-ofroute miles to under-loaded trucks, from idle equipment to time spent in non-revenue producing tasks. When it comes to asset utilization, Eric Manegold, vice president of business development for commercial vehicles at Zonar Systems, likes to think about what he calls “transactions,” that is all the tasks a truck and driver have to stop to do, and how they might be accomplished faster or deliver more value to the fleet.

“Truck uptime is really huge,” Manegold says, and to help optimize that, he scrutinizes the events that cause downtime. According to Manegold, one such regular event is fueling or stopping for required rest periods.

Thanks to GPS and to technologies like Zonar’s own Z-Con automated fueling solution, fleets can now tell when a driver is stopped at a fueling station, he observes, and that looks like a wasted opportunity. “Why don’t we do service while the truck is at a fueling island?” he asks.

“We could do a very fast, NASCAR-like courtesy vehicle inspection, for instance.” In some instances, a truckstop may be able to address an immediate issue, perhaps preventing a breakdown or CSA violation down the road, and get that truck back on the highway quickly, he points out. “There is an emerging theme out there,” Manegold adds. “People are asking what opportunities are available right now that we could act on. Transaction points are one of those big opportunities.”

At Jump Technologies, CEO John Freund is also looking at ways to speed up certain transactions, in this case for the product delivery business. The company’s JumpTrack offering is a cloud-based, proof-of-delivery application that leverages standard smartphones and tablets (iPhone and Android operating systems) to capture signatures, while allowing customers to check delivery status. The goal is to enable delivery fleets to better utilize their assets, or even to use fewer trucks to make the same number of deliveries, while eliminating paper transactions at the same time.

“Most drivers have cell phones already,” says Freund, “so why not allow them to do more with the technology they already have? The beauty of the smartphone is that it is really affordable and really portable. All the data lives in the cloud, so it is always accessible.

“Everything is going to migrate to smartphones, which are really computers,” he predicts. “I believe that with all my heart. Everything will move there. People want access to everything they need wherever they are. The hardware world is changing to accommodate that. We are in a transition period now.”

Freund is also watching the delivery data created by his system accumulate every day. “Our data set is growing very fast,” he says. “It will be large enough to be of use for things like benchmarking very soon.” One area the company plans to look at is average number of deliveries per day in a given market. That information will help customers to better evaluate their performance as compared to other fleets.