TouchStar http://www.touchstargroup.com Integrated Fleet Automation Fri, 09 Feb 2018 21:16:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 TouchStar Celebrates the Holidays http://www.touchstargroup.com/uncategorized/touchstar-celebrates-holidays/ http://www.touchstargroup.com/uncategorized/touchstar-celebrates-holidays/#respond Thu, 21 Dec 2017 17:13:39 +0000 http://www.touchstargroup.com/?p=16203 At TouchStar, we want to take a moment to celebrate the season with you, our readers. We’d like to share with you some of our most beloved family traditions, Christmas memories, favorite seasonal movies, holiday recipes, and general inspiration about this special time of year. We’d invite you to do the same in the comments

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At TouchStar, we want to take a moment to celebrate the season with you, our readers. We’d like to share with you some of our most beloved family traditions, Christmas memories, favorite seasonal movies, holiday recipes, and general inspiration about this special time of year. We’d invite you to do the same in the comments section. We hope you enjoy this change of pace, and most of all, we at TouchStar wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

Eli Burrup
Project Manager

For years our extended family Christmas party finale was a “battle of the sexes” game of Gestures (a slightly more complex form of charades if you haven’t played). My uncle’s date was quite gifted, and she led the girls to victory over the guys several years in a row. My uncle, however, was not so helpful. In Gestures, you are able to select an easy word worth 1 point or a hard word from the opposite side of the card worth 4. There are four cards total you are trying to work through on your turn, acting them out for your team to guess. As my uncle stepped up, the guys were waaay behind already, thanks to his date netting 16 points. We all knew he was going to use his typical strategy of simple 1-pointers across the board.

Hopelessly behind we decided to throw the round completely for a little team revenge on my uncle for always taking the easy way out. Everyone agreed NOT to guess whatever words he was going for. Elbow was the last word, and we drug out the mild humiliation further by rigging the machine not to stop at the end. Ron touched his elbow expecting to net at least one point for his turn only to hear guesses like “touch,” “point,” “tap,” “arm,” “frustrated,” “panicked,” “confused,” etc. With the endless timer still going, he gave up after a couple minutes and let all the “idiots” on his team know the word was ELBOW, completely baffled we hadn’t stumbled upon it. Especially when his date was knocking words like “breeze” and “circus” out of the park and getting high fives from all her teammates.

 


Jonathan Camp
Hardware Repair and Quality Team Lead

I’ve always enjoyed having an advent calendar to get the family excited about Christmas.  We rotate who gets to open the door that day, and then we all guess what picture will be on the candy that will come out for a chance to steal.

First present:  Each year we used to draw a name out of a hat to see who would open the first gift.

Homeless survival kits.  We would purchase backpacks and stuff items like blankets, gloves, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, candy bars, chips, flashlights (kinetic), hand soap, beanies, etc.  Then we would go around and hand them out to those who really seemed to need them.

 


Jonathan Brewer
Technical Analyst

Christmas came a little early for me in 2016.

About 3 weeks before Christmas, my wife gave me a box and told me “You get an early Christmas gift this year.” She never does this, no matter how hard I try. She always says no to early gifts, and that we have to wait until Christmas day.  Inside the box was a baby blanket she had made, and she told me she was pregnant with our first child. We decided to keep it a secret for a little while and tell our immediate families on Christmas day.

Well my wife does the best she can to hide the morning sickness but nothing made her more nauseated than the smell of meat. A few days before Christmas, my mother-in-law decides they are going to make tamales and puts my wife in charge of tasting and shredding the meat. I just laughed as she struggled. Then we told her family on Christmas day and it was like a light bulb came on. “That’s why you were acting funny when we made the tamales!”

 


Ryan McCafferty
Applications Tester

Every year I try to include these two movies to watch with the family: Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase, and Elf with Will Ferrell.  Two hilarious movies that get us thinking about the holiday season.

 


Brian Bernard
Chief Operations Officer

One of my favorite traditions is gathering my wife and kids early in the afternoon on Christmas day and making the 20-mile trip to the country to my sister’s house.  There to meet us will be 5 of my brothers and sisters, numerous nieces, nephews, and close friends.  The crowd has changed a bit over the years as my parents have passed on, but new relatives are always joining the family through marriage or birth.

The Christmas dinner is always wonderful, but the family gathering represents the true meaning of Christmas.

 


David Fredericks
Sales Manager

When my daughters were little, we drove 20 hours to Rochester, New York, to surprise my parents for Christmas. They were shocked to arrive home to a large wrapped present in their Family Room with my kids inside.

 


John Loftus
Technical Analyst

Holidays are all about the food. Eggnog French toast, pumpkin pancakes, and custard pie.

 


Roberto Ostiguin
Customer Service Representative

My favorite Christmas gift? A Play Station 3 – I can watch movies, play games and access apps like YouTube.

 

 


Josh McLaughlin
Customer Service Representative

This my favorite dessert for the Holidays.  My grandmother cooked this until she passed away in 2011, and my mom took up the recipe the year after. It is an amazing pie, and it brings back memories of my childhood.

Maple Pecan Pie

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves or pieces
1 cup maple syrup
3 large eggs
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon amaretto (almond liqueur) (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Put the flour, 6 tablespoons of the butter, the granulated sugar, and ½ teaspoon of the salt in a medium bowl; blend with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add ¼ cup cold water and stir until the mixture forms a ball. (If the mixture is too crumbly, add additional cold water as needed.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it’s approximately 11 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate; trim any dough that hangs over the edges of the plate and discard the scraps. Bake the crust for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, put the pecans in a large skillet over medium-low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 5 minutes; set aside. Put the maple syrup and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the butter melts. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, and then whisk in the brown sugar, the vanilla, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Gradually whisk the hot maple syrup mixture into the egg mixture. Stir in the pecans.
  4. Pour the pecan mixture into the pie crust, transfer the pie plate to a baking sheet, and bake until the top and edges of the pie are golden brown and the center of the pie is jiggly but no longer liquid, 30 to 40 minutes.  Cool thoroughly, then serve. (Store leftover pie wrapped in foil or plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to a few days.)

 


Christie Doss
Customer Service Representative

I enjoy going and looking at all the lights and playing music in the car with the kids. I love the bonding time together with them.

 


Chris Posey
Group Marketing Manager

I usually smoke a turkey or a ham (or both) for holiday meals. In order to have everything completely smoked by dinnertime, I have to get a pretty early start. And despite the fact that I have to set an alarm on a day off, I always enjoy that period of time before the family wakes up and before the company arrives, after preparing the turkey, to enjoy some silence, a cup of coffee, and a book or magazine in that fleeting moment of peace. I usually have an hour or so to myself before my youngest wakes up, excited about the events of the day. Seeing the excitement in his face, and then in my daughter’s (usually a couple of hours later, when she finally wakes up) just adds to my love of those moments.

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Five Unifying Values of the ELD Debate http://www.touchstargroup.com/compliance/five-unifying-values-eld-debate/ http://www.touchstargroup.com/compliance/five-unifying-values-eld-debate/#respond Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:45:30 +0000 http://www.touchstargroup.com/?p=16127 Even with the FMCSA’s ELD mandate implementation less than a week away, new protests and social media movements continue to surface. The mandate has been highly polarizing in the trucking industry, with significant proponents, such as the ATA, and equally significant opponents, such as the OOIDA, joining the fray. To remove ourselves from the dispute

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Even with the FMCSA’s ELD mandate implementation less than a week away, new protests and social media movements continue to surface. The mandate has been highly polarizing in the trucking industry, with significant proponents, such as the ATA, and equally significant opponents, such as the OOIDA, joining the fray. To remove ourselves from the dispute and gain some perspective on this divisive issue, perhaps it would be appropriate to reaffirm some of the timeless values contributing to the ELD debate that are likely shared by both sides.

The safety of truck drivers

Regarding safety, both sides have compelling stances, and it seems a point about which no argument could possibly be made. Beyond debates about the particular tool used to measure drive duration, one must understand that at the heart of the ELD debate is simply the desire for drivers to be able to focus on the most important part of their job: safely and efficiently delivering customer orders. Beyond an arbitrary YES/NO to the prospect of using an electronic device to monitor driving duration, managers of fleets both massive and minuscule and businesses large and small should be reminded that driver safety is not a function of politics but is indeed one of responsible fleet management.

The integrity of Trucking as an institution

Perhaps you’ve heard Winston Churchill’s anecdote about degrees of morality? In the interests of keeping things appropriate, some details have been modified, but it goes something like this:

“Churchill: “Madam, would you [steal that iPhone] for five million pounds?”

Socialite: “My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course… “

Churchill: “Would you [steal that iPhone] for five pounds?”

Socialite: “Mr. Churchill, what kind of person do you think I am?!”

Churchill: “Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price”

Over the course of the ELD debate, both sides have been careful to avoid the suggestion that some drivers may be falsifying their handwritten logs – and avoiding the accusation for good reason! The trucking industry currently employs 3.5 million hard-working, honest, dependable, reliable truck drivers who simply want to make an honest wage1. And while the number of drivers who may grossly, intentionally, and dramatically falsify logs is surely quite small, the number of people who may “fudge” a little because they were dealing with parking, stop-and-go traffic, parking, gas station slowdowns, parking, and construction (and did I mention parking?) may be a just a tad higher.

Statistics about those who make very minor, otherwise harmless adjustments to their logs are elusive, but the number of violators is not the point. The point is that the integrity of Trucking as an institution is at hand, and there are few quantifiable indicators of success in this particular realm. Those in the trucking industry must see themselves, not only as individual workers toiling away at the steering wheel of a Class 8 truck but also as members of an institution that accounts for just over 1% of the total US population1. Accuracy in reporting bolsters public opinion in most disciplines, and truck-driving is no different. Selling out on accuracy, whether it’s for five million pounds (hours) or five pounds (hours), hurts the reputation of this venerable institution.

ELD Debate - Tesla Electric Truck

While your fleet may not include this ultra-modern Tesla electric class 8 rig, it probably does include some moderately recent advances in stability control (and FM radio).

The modernization of the trucking industry

Do you use your smartphone to complain about the ills of modernization? To vilify the evil, irresistible progress of tech in our simple lives? How many times have I seen a lament about the need to return to the “good old days” that was originally posted at gig speed via a power laptop attached wirelessly to an invisible network? Tweeter, I call thou hypocrite!

Consider your truck. Does it have a telematics system installed? Does it have antilock braking? Stability control? Any collision avoidance systems? Fuel savings systems? How about this: Are you in a mass-produced vehicle that has an engine and wheels? If you are, then you have opened wide and swallowed what was at one time a devil of modernization. However, without modernization, my job would not exist, and likely neither would yours, dear reader. So before you lament the “good old days” of trucking, when all you needed was a truck and a paper logbook, consider all of the implications of returning to those good old days: terrible gas mileage (yes, it was at one time worse than the 5.29 miles per gallon the average Class 8 driver enjoys today), unreliable braking systems, cantankerous transmissions, 40’ blind spots, no air conditioning, and perhaps worst of all, radios that received only AM broadcasts.

Might it not be time for the trucking industry to adopt a somewhat more modern tool to record the very same driving activity it has been asked to record for years previous? One that electronically captures drive time and distance? An unassuming tool that merely integrates the benefits of a watch and an odometer into a single, brightly-lit display?

The value of reliable data

As a marketer, one of the most frustrating aspects of my job is that of dealing regularly with subjectivity. What is “good”? What is “effective”? What is “relevant”? What is “interesting”? I have crafted many a five-paragraph essay defending unwieldy opinions during my career. If I were able to dredge up three reasons that supported my thesis on quality (or the lack thereof), I felt I had done my job sufficiently. Then one day, I was introduced to data, and I realized that there was something elegantly (albeit, frustratingly) stronger than the amorphous sentiment I had been using to justify my decisions in the past. The pristine data that began appearing on my screen as a result of my epiphany would weave itself into near-tangible, undeniable revelations of validity, like something from The Matrix.

Data is a sword we live by in our jobs. Sales, revenues, donors, SKUs, members, stores, attendees, hours, miles. For better or worse, these are often reduced to and represented by impersonal, unapologetic numbers. Data.

Data gleaned from logs, whether paper or electronic, inform the decisions of fleet managers, dispatchers, and drivers, and reliable data informs reliable decisions. It is in the fleet manager’s best interests to acquire the most reliable, most complete data available, because not only is data the sword we live by, it is also the sword we die by.

The convenience of automation

Admittedly less noble when compared to the other values in this list is the value of convenience.

Full disclosure: I have never had to fill out a driving log, whether it be paper or digital. However, I have, from time to time, forgotten to complete an essential yet pesky task at work, resulting in a nighttime drive to the office in my sleeping pants and slippers to finish my job. What I wouldn’t have given in those times to have had the task at hand automated. It’s not that the task was complicated so much as it was annoying, which likely explains why it was off my radar in the first place.

This is not an argument for laziness. It is an argument for efficiency. The more tactical duties (such as entering our hours into a timesheet or filling out a drive log) that we can automate, the more time we have to devote to more strategic enterprises (or to binge-watching Netflix in our skivvies). Sure, automation serves to make life easier, but the load-lightening is often purposeful. If you can simplify your plight and give yourself a little extra time to make an additional delivery or two as a result, why wouldn’t you? And with that, our previously ignoble pursuit becomes beautifully noble.

In two weeks, we will read this post and think, “ELD debate? Already out of date.” But it is my romantic belief that these principles apply well beyond the scope of an isolated mandate from the FMCSA. While of course, TouchStar stands ready to help you out of a bind with an FMCSA-compliant ELD solution called eLOG, we’re also ready to help you with a bevy of other integrated fleet automation solutions, including telematics solutions, business intelligence solutions, planning solutions, dispatch solutions, plus a large handful of useful, Android-based mobility apps that will help you do business while adhering to all five of the values presented in this post.

Regardless of where your fleet is on the automation continuum, TouchStar is ready to help. Contact us today to see how we can help your fleet contribute safely to this esteemed trucking industry, with modern tools and reliable data. And with any luck, we might even be able to help you put an end to those late night drives to the office.

Want to read more about the ELD debate, HOS, and FMCSA compliance:

1 – Reports, Trends, & Statistics. http://www.trucking.org/News_and_Information_Reports_Industry_Data.aspx.

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To Manage Digital Disruption, Lean on Your People and Your Purpose http://www.touchstargroup.com/technology/manage-digital-disruption-lean-people-purpose/ http://www.touchstargroup.com/technology/manage-digital-disruption-lean-people-purpose/#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2017 15:00:05 +0000 http://www.touchstargroup.com/?p=15817 This post is the second in a two-part series about Digital Disruption. For the full story, read Part One. In our last post about digital disruption, we focused on the importance of maintaining a pioneer spirit when it comes to implementing transformative digital projects in the context of fleet management and the essential consideration of

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This post is the second in a two-part series about Digital Disruption. For the full story, read Part One.

In our last post about digital disruption, we focused on the importance of maintaining a pioneer spirit when it comes to implementing transformative digital projects in the context of fleet management and the essential consideration of an organization’s customers in determining the right path to take. These two principles comprise two of four key areas touched on in a recent report from Fujitsu entitled The Digital Transformation PACT Report. 1 In this post, we focus on the essential contribution of people inside the organization and the importance of a clearly-defined purpose in evolving transformative digital projects.

Campaign success depends on people outside and inside the organization

While the individuals outside of one’s organization are clearly primary drivers for the evolution of companies today, the individuals inside an organization are essential in managing digital disruption effectively, and many companies are taking note. According to the PACT study, nine out of ten organizations are taking steps to broaden their digital expertise. Sometimes these steps occur pre-hire, through selective recruitment and job fairs at specialized schools and training facilities as opposed to large, generalized institutions. Sometimes they occur after the hire, through required professional development and investments in continued employee education, even for those in non-technical roles such as accounting, finance, and marketing.

The takeaway: If you’re not developing your people, you are doing your customers a disservice. Despite the large percentage of companies that are taking steps to broaden their human resource base of digital expertise, more than two-thirds say that their organization is still lacking in digital skills. Digital mastery will soon become commoditized; therefore, the right time to foster growth in the realm of digital competence is now.

Transformative digital projects must be purposeful, or risk loss both now and in the future

Successful organizations know that the implementation of digital initiatives, simply for the sake of implementing digital initiatives, yields lackluster results. Arbitrarily-executed digital projects lack focus and direction. Beginning a transformative digital project without the end in mind can cost companies significant amounts of time, money and human resources yet generate minimal results. The folly of permitting fruitless digital disruption within an organization taints an organization’s reputation and discourages potential new customers as well as promising new talent. Fortunately, according to the PACT study, a full 90% of organizations surveyed have a clearly-defined digital strategy. In addition, a large majority (88%) of those surveyed felt that their leadership teams maintained a clear view of all digital transformation projects.

Those projects tend mainly to be focused on the creation of new digital processes that sit alongside existing ones (59%) or that are used to augment those original processes (58%). Only a third (37%) result in the creation of entirely new ways of doing things, which shows that organizations have a strong focus on ensuring that the disruption caused during implementation is minimized (87%).

While the report goes on to acknowledge that sometimes, “unsanctioned” digital projects that are not tied to the overall digital strategy do indeed trip up many organizations, it is worth noting that actionable digital strategies are becoming more the norm than the exception – to the benefit of both the company and its customers.

The takeaway: If your organization has not yet defined a digital strategy, it is likely falling behind. At TouchStar, our digital strategy is literally posted on our office wall:

We innovate to drive growth and market appeal, and we continuously improve everything we do. We move with speed [and] agility and embrace change. We have the courage to take risks and grow by learning from our successes and failures. We produce competitive solutions…and our progressive technology framework simplifies tomorrow’s automation to ensure we remain relevant to our clients’ competitive futures.

With no defined digital strategy, a company can neither justify nor quantify its digital initiatives, which can result in serious accountability issues with customers, employees…and with the Board.

How tolerant is your automation solutions provider to digital disruption? If you’ve been noticing a lack of focus or agility from your provider, maybe it’s time for a change. Whether your organization is barely on the cusp of digital transformation, or it is undergoing yet another digital evolution, TouchStar provides scalable solutions that can be introduced or expanded as your fleet’s capacity to automate grows. Contact TouchStar today to begin the conversation about managing your fleet’s digital needs.

 

1 – The Digital Transformation PACT, found at http://www.fujitsu.com/global/microsite/digital-cocreation/insight/pact

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Digital Disruption’s Impact on Transportation and Logistics http://www.touchstargroup.com/technology/digital-disruption-impact-transportation-logistics/ http://www.touchstargroup.com/technology/digital-disruption-impact-transportation-logistics/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 17:30:34 +0000 http://www.touchstargroup.com/?p=15712 This post is the first of a two-part series about Digital Disruption. Check back next week for Part Two of this series. Digital disruption is a significant issue in transportation and logistics (T&L). The soon-to-be-implemented ELD mandate provides an interesting barometer for the T&L industry’s tolerance for digital disruption. Practically speaking, the ELD mandate changes

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This post is the first of a two-part series about Digital Disruption. Check back next week for Part Two of this series.

Digital disruption is a significant issue in transportation and logistics (T&L). The soon-to-be-implemented ELD mandate provides an interesting barometer for the T&L industry’s tolerance for digital disruption. Practically speaking, the ELD mandate changes nothing with regard to logging one’s driving time (outside of making it easier). Joe DeLorenzo, director of the office of compliance and enforcement at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), articulated this truth during the 2017 Management Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, noting, “The biggest thing to remember is that it is really still about HOS enforcement; all we’re really doing is moving from paper logs to electronic records.” 1 Nevertheless, the mandate moving drivers from paper to digital has had large portions of the T&L industry in a tizzy for years, and attempts to modify or overturn the mandate have involved significant investments of time, money, and effort.

In an attempt to quantify organizational sentiment about digital disruption, Fujitsu surveyed more than 1,600 businesses across four key areas: People, Actions, Collaboration, and Technology. Underlying each of these categories was an observation of organizations as they execute (or fail to execute) their digital strategy. The survey results are compiled into a report entitled The Digital Transformation PACT Report. 2 While results are not specific to any one industry, the report does show that digital disruption is being experienced in significant ways across all industries, including T&L.

Businesses are not shying away from transformative digital projects

Trucks with Telematics - Digital DisruptionFor years, many businesses may have been apprehensive to implement large-scale digital projects. Concerns about security, obsoletion, and technological unwieldiness have caused uneasiness when it comes to opening the checkbook. This was not an insurmountable problem for some time, as many digital providers often offered “freemium” options or solutions in beta at discounted prices. However, it did not take long to learn that freemium versions often lacked a necessary robustness, and beta versions were unreliable; hence, a recent willingness to loosen the purse strings and invest fully in complete and tested digital solutions ensued.

According to the PACT report, almost half (46%) of organizations surveyed have already delivered transformative digital products and have realized concrete outcomes from these solutions. Around a third (29%) of organizations surveyed have digital projects underway, and 18% are currently, actively testing and/or developing digital projects. Indeed, less than 10% of organizations surveyed have yet to make a move in the realm of digital innovation and implementation.

The takeaway: Organizations that are not at least considering implementing appropriate, industry-specific digital innovations could get left behind. While digital technology is still in its early stages relatively speaking, there are many solutions in existence right now that will deliver quantifiable results, and many companies, including TouchStar, are willing to guarantee those results.

The driving force for digital transformation is ignored at a company’s own peril

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding digital growth and the implementation of new technologies. Indeed, almost half (44%) of the organizations surveyed in the PACT study indicated that they are engaging in “digital transformation” simply to keep pace with competitors. Changes that arise simply out of the pressure to remain competitive can be accompanied with digital disruption that reverberates throughout the organization.

Digital disruption customer quote

Perhaps a more noble reason for subjecting an organization to the potential uncertainties of digital disruption would be to delight the customer. According to the PACT study, a compelling 58% or organizations said they were embracing digital transformation for that very reason.

The takeaway: Companies obviously want to maintain a competitive edge. In these times of digital disruption, perhaps the best way to accomplish this is to stop creeping on competitor websites and get on the phone with their customers. Study authors rightly note, “This renewed influence from the customer means that while organizations can learn much from their competitors and strive hard to improve their services and products via digital transformation – those actions ultimately need to be in service to the people who buy the goods and services on offer.”

Customers can sense false benevolence from miles away…and even more so in person at trade shows, over the phone, via Skype, and in stores. Organizations that hope to usher in digital transformations wisely will reach out to customers gained and lost, and will do so in the spirit of authenticity.

Companies such as TouchStar make it their business to get on the phone, send personal emails, conduct teleconferences, and present live demonstrations every day. For these organizations, customer involvement is not an afterthought, but a driver of all initiatives, both digital and analog.

To begin a conversation with TouchStar about any of our integrated fleet management solutions, contact us today and let us know we can meet your fleet automation needs.

 

1 – From Panel: ELDs don’t change HOS rules or enforcement, found at http://www.fleetowner.com/driver-logs/panel-elds-don-t-change-hos-rules-or-enforcement

2 – From The Digital Transformation PACT, found at http://www.fujitsu.com/global/microsite/digital-cocreation/insight/pact

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A Full-Featured Navigation App Will Do More Than Impress the Ladies http://www.touchstargroup.com/navigation/full-featured-navigation-app-will-impress-ladies/ http://www.touchstargroup.com/navigation/full-featured-navigation-app-will-impress-ladies/#respond Mon, 23 Oct 2017 20:12:12 +0000 http://www.touchstargroup.com/?p=15517 In recent news, it was reported a tractor-trailer in New Jersey, took an unexpected detour. This was not simply a missed exit or a rerouting due to construction, mind you. No, this tractor trailer took a short trip down Ventnor City’s lovely Ventnor Boardwalk. Obviously, this was not a detour that could be easily righted. The

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In recent news, it was reported a tractor-trailer in New Jersey, took an unexpected detour. This was not simply a missed exit or a rerouting due to construction, mind you. No, this tractor trailer took a short trip down Ventnor City’s lovely Ventnor Boardwalk. Obviously, this was not a detour that could be easily righted. The driver ended up cruising down the Boardwalk for three full miles before finally giving up and coming to a complete stop. In the driver’s defense, the trip would likely have been much shorter if he could have found a turnaround on the boardwalk that would accommodate a 65’ tractor-trailer. The truck itself caused damage to 100 feet of railing during its extraction.

Now, before you begin shaking your head in disapproval at a driver whom one might incorrectly assume must have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should understand how the driver ended up on the Boardwalk in the first place. Once officials determined that the driver was indeed completely sober, they learned that the driver had ended up on this narrow stretch of pedestrian walkway as a result of following his truck’s GPS navigation app.1

You can’t punish technology

News stories such as this remind me of that 2007 episode of The Office. You remember, the one where Michael Scott drives his rental vehicle into Lake Scranton as a result of a rigid adherence to the vehicle’s GPS navigation instructions? While admittedly fictitious, this incident, a mocking display of the mindless acceptance of ubiquitous new technologies (such as the website, “Dunder Mifflin Infinity”) that supposedly enslave the working man and threaten the livelihood of the brick-and-mortar gems like Dunder Mifflin Paper Supply, further exposes the need for intuitive and reliable navigation tools.

And if you will indulge me yet one more anecdote, this one from my own personal experience: Just over a decade ago, in an attempt to impress a member of the fairer sex, I suggested our taking a short drive south for a weekend trip to Six Flags over Texas. In an effort to demonstrate my wise navigational prowess, I opened my phone’s navigation app and dutifully followed the directions provided…right into the middle of a random suburban neighborhood. Impressive, no doubt. After some discussion and a begrudging stop at a local convenience store, we finally found our way to the sprawling complex that is Six Flags, even in spite of my navigation app – a product of the largest search engine in the world at the time of this writing.

I doubt that I, Michael Scott, and the unnamed tractor-trailer driver in New Jersey are the only ones with GPS horror stories like these. Some stories (like mine) damage only the ego, while others (like Michael Scott’s and the unnamed New Jersey driver’s) impact the checkbook. To wit: in addition to having to make arrangements to repair the damaged railing, the New Jersey driver was issued a couple of summonses. And just to banish the thought that these incidents are merely rare exceptions, I would note that the New Jersey police chief mentioned that the Boardwalk Trailer Experience was the second such incident in as many months, on the same boardwalk.

Turn-by-turn directions are not enough for today’s drivers

While reliable mapping is obviously a necessity, drivers today really need more than just simple turn-by-turn directions in a navigation app. After all, even an accurate mapping system can still direct a driver down a path with a low bridge or along a section of highway that prohibits hazardous loads.

Designed for fleets, TouchStar’s NavAid GPS navigation app provides highly detailed, turn-by-turn instructions to keep you off of boardwalks out of lakes, and in the right neighborhood. And because instructions are provided audibly, you can keep your eyes safely on the road ahead as notifications alert you to turns well enough in advance for even a 65’ truck to get into the turn lane. But beyond accurate mapping, TouchStar’s NavAid app and its valuable add-ons can notify drivers of routes that need to be avoided in plenty of time to find an alternate route.

NavAid and NavWatch alert drivers to:

  • Bridge clearances on the road ahead that may be lower than needed to pass
  • Roads and bridges with lowered weight capacities or compromised abilities to support the weight of a loaded tractor-trailer
  • Hazmat routes that steer drivers with hazardous loads away from potentially dangerous terrain or vulnerable areas of town
  • Dangerous or unaccommodating driving routes

In addition to these resources, NavWatch allows fleet managers and dispatchers to keep a handle on vehicle speeds in light of posted speed limits. If the driver is speeding, NavWatch provides an audible in-cab notification. If the driver does not correct his speed within a specified time, the home office is notified, enabling fleet managers to address potential issues and to generate and reinforce best practices for the entire fleet.

Safety and efficiency are nonnegotiables when it comes to commercial transportation, and NavAid delivers both in a single app. NavAid, like all other TouchStar apps, can be integrated into a comprehensive fleet management platform that also includes dispatch and telematics as well as planning tools and business intelligence through automated performance monitors. Contact TouchStar today to learn more about NavAid, NavWatch, and TouchStar’s other Android-based mobility apps.

Want to read more about fleet mobility?

1 For more details, see “Truck follows GPS directions onto boardwalk, leaving trail of damage behind,” at http://www.nj.com/atlantic/index.ssf/2017/09/gps_leads_tractor_trailer_to_drive_on_to_boardwalk.html

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Four Ways to Quantify the Value of Your Fleet Dispatching Software http://www.touchstargroup.com/dispatch/four-ways-quantify-value-fleet-dispatching-software/ http://www.touchstargroup.com/dispatch/four-ways-quantify-value-fleet-dispatching-software/#respond Mon, 25 Sep 2017 20:38:24 +0000 http://www.touchstargroup.com/?p=15150 Are you like me? Do you occasionally find yourself captivated by the latest conference, service, or software that crosses your online field of vision? Against your better judgment, you read the product features, and suddenly, your mind is atwitter with all of the fantastic ways in which you and your company could benefit. The advantages

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Are you like me? Do you occasionally find yourself captivated by the latest conference, service, or software that crosses your online field of vision? Against your better judgment, you read the product features, and suddenly, your mind is atwitter with all of the fantastic ways in which you and your company could benefit. The advantages of the product become as concrete to you as the mouse your hand is resting on. In the days ahead, you tell your wife, husband, friends, and colleagues about the product, and they are immediately convinced (right?) of the incredible utility of the product. This seems like a no-brainer. Such an obvious answer to your company’s problems that it hardly even warrants a purchase requisition.

But it does.

You pull the file off of the company intranet and dutifully complete every field. In the “Notes” section, you articulate an iron-clad case for the value of the product. Sure, you’ve written a short essay in cell E5 of the requisition spreadsheet, but every last word is necessary. They probably need to enlarge the field anyway, right?

A week passes with no response, and the utter deflation of your hopes is palpable. Your regular departmental meeting with the boss is this afternoon. You’ll have him cornered.

‘Round the circle, each person presents an enviable update. New customers. New product development. New equipment. Now, it’s your turn. You’ve been practicing your spiel for days, asking your spouse which words are most convincing, making sure that your work buddies are on board with you on this one. Suddenly you hear yourself speaking. There’s a slightly embarrassing twinge of nervous excitement and anticipation in your voice as you deliver your monologue. Despite the crack, there’s no way he can say no. Right? That warble is simply an indication of your belief in this new purchase. It is a barometer of your convictions.

Silence. And then…

“Look, I don’t think this is a bad idea, but what’s the return on investment? We can’t spend money on every good idea. We need to quantify the value of our purchases. They need a direct tie to a revenue stream.”

And with that, your hopes of acquiring the new product or service are dashed. In the rueful days and weeks following, you wonder what you could have done differently. You wonder if this could have somehow gone better. And the answer is yes, they could have. But how?

Quantify your need for a dispatching solution

I’m here to help you today, and it may or may not be because I have been in your very shoes before, possibly about a ground-breaking conference that might have been taking place in Las Vegas during the Fall of 2015.

You’re a fleet manager, operator, driver, or some other service provider, right? And it’s time for a sexy new fleet management tool? One that modernizes your outfit. One that does not run off of DOS. One that is full color and real-time. And one for which you can easily justify the expense. How? Here’s how:

  1. Quantify using fuel economy

This one’s an easy one. With the combination of a dispatch and a telematics tool, something like TouchStar’s TS FleetWatch and iTRACK tools, you will literally, yes literally, get intuitive, quanitifiable, concrete fuel mileage feedback. No need to break out the calculator. No guesswork required.

FleetWatch and iTRACK will provide cold, hard numbers on your screen that can be monitored, improved upon, and passed along to your boss to prove the value, in terms of real money, of your pretty new toy.

  1. Quantify using miles driven

Miles are liabilities. And even if you’re a supply chain wizard and you know conceptually that you’re able to decrease miles driven by your fleet, the benefit may not be believed realized without using a tool to track said miles. (You know the old saying, “If you reduce miles and no one is around to hear it…”)

Quantify your achievement with a tool that presents the decrease in miles driven to your boss like a neon-illuminated birthday present.  Give your boss the gift of numbers. Numbers that appear on your computer screen, seemingly magically. It’s as though your dispatch tool is reading your mind, and it knows exactly what information you need to avoid the department meeting FAIL you experienced when you suggested that ground-breaking conference. You know, the one in Vegas.

TouchStar’s TS FleetWatch provides these magical numbers.

  1. Quantify using driver behavior

This one is a little tougher. You’re going to have to do a little footwork on this one. Everybody knows that harsh braking and rapid acceleration cost the company money, right? Everybody knows that excessive idling costs the company money, right? Everybody knows that speeding costs the company money, right? But how much?

To answer these questions, you may need to look to outside resources such as your insurance company, actuaries, and law enforcement officials. Want to impress your boss? Find these numbers. Then, keep the Hero ball rolling by connecting these numbers to the actionable data provided by a robust dispatch/telematics combo like TS FleetWatch and iTRACK.

  1. Quantify using optimized routes

The most appealing method of all, and one that ties previous methods of quantifying value together into one beautiful fleet management package: optimize routes. In doing so, you generate compelling numbers pertaining to fuel economy and miles driven, but perhaps most compelling is the number of deliveries made. While you save money with improved fuel economy and fewer miles driven – nothing to sneeze at, of course – you actually make money by facilitating additional deliveries. It may be only 2-5 more deliveries per day, but extrapolated over the course of a month, quarter, or year, these few additional deliveries can add up to significant profits.

Get the numbers you need with TS FleetWatch. Then, add iTRACK to knock it out of the park.

Find out more about TS Fleet Watch, iTRACK, and the other pieces of the TouchStar FleetAtlas Framework at http://www.touchstargroup.com/fleetatlas/.

Want to read more about fleet dispatch?

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Telematics Solutions Protect Your Fleet from Vehicle Theft http://www.touchstargroup.com/telematics/telematics-solutions-protect-fleet-vehicle-theft/ http://www.touchstargroup.com/telematics/telematics-solutions-protect-fleet-vehicle-theft/#respond Fri, 25 Aug 2017 19:43:19 +0000 http://www.touchstargroup.com/?p=14668/ Recently, the Farmington Daily Times in New Mexico reported that an employee of a local greenhouse had allegedly stolen a company truck in May of 2017. The suspect, who was arrested on a previous and unrelated violation for fraudulent use of an illegally obtained credit card, was detained and transferred to the county jail on

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Recently, the Farmington Daily Times in New Mexico reported that an employee of a local greenhouse had allegedly stolen a company truck in May of 2017. The suspect, who was arrested on a previous and unrelated violation for fraudulent use of an illegally obtained credit card, was detained and transferred to the county jail on June 14, 2017, where he remains (at the time of this writing) incarcerated on a no-bond hold. Police were able to use the report of another greenhouse employee to find the truck five days after it went missing. They used tire impressions at the suspect’s residence to tie the theft back to the suspect.

The Cost of Commercial Vehicle Theft

While it is obviously particularly inadvisable to pinch a company vehicle, the crime still happens. Frequently. As a matter of fact, company asset theft seems to be on the rise. A 2015 CargoNet report estimated stolen commercial-vehicle cargo or equipment in the United States and Canada above 1,500 incidents, almost twice the number of commercial-vehicle cargo or equipment thefts in 2014. Total thefts in 2015 were valued at $175.3 million, and ten of the cargo thefts were worth more than $1 million each. 1

Recovered Vehicles Do Not Guarantee Recovered Costs

Even if a stolen fleet vehicle or company truck is recovered days or weeks later, fleet managers and company owners still have to worry about the possibility of damage inflicted upon the vehicle while out on its joy ride. It is not much of a stretch to presume that the perpetrator of commercial vehicle theft may also sometimes engage in vehicle vandalism (or reckless driving) while in possession of the victim-vehicle. Stolen equipment is also a concern even for recovered vehicles. Thank goodness that your $60,000 asset was recovered, right? But unfortunate that the $20,000 worth of equipment inside did not fare as well.

While theft of fleet vehicles and their contents cannot be entirely prevented, two dispatch-related activities may minimize the risk of theft and, in the event that commercial vehicle is lifted, curtail loss. These two activities, tracking vehicles real-time and creating a fleet “geofence,” can be executed with ease with a good telematics solution.

Telematics prevent theftReal-Time Vehicle Tracking

Fleet managers and dispatchers, in particular, have always enacted some sort of vehicle tracking. In decades past, tracking took place through the review of order documents, calls to and from dispatch, and reports from clients. While these methods were effective at confirming a driver’s presence at specific points in time, it was the hours in-between contacts that sometimes became problematic. Citizen’s Band radio came along and improved the back-and-forth between driver and dispatcher; however, reports via CB could not be verified. (Rarely do thieves report back to their dispatchers via CB that they are absconding with the company truck.) Additionally, CBs do not provide positioning reports. And sometimes, the perpetrator simply doesn’t reply when hailed by the dispatcher. Sure, the stolen vehicle may turn up, but it likely won’t be anytime soon when using only these tools. Plenty of time to thrash the cab and remove its most valuable contents.

GPS reporting, on the other hand, is immediate. GPS does not lie. GPS is objective. GPS presents the entire truth, and it cannot stretch the truth. It cannot change the story based on the situation.  It does not withhold information. And it makes truly real-time vehicle monitoring a very viable option for fleet managers. A GPS-based telematics solution is an essential weapon in a fleet manager’s security arsenal. Implementing a telematics solution that includes GPS tracking (such as TouchStar’s iTRACK) results in the most accurate accounts of your vehicles’ locations.

Geofencing

In addition to real-time tracking, the creation of a fleet “geofence” can do much to bolster the security disposition of any fleet. Simply speaking, a geofence is a geographic zone that dispatchers create on their fleet management map that monitors designated vehicles. A good geofence will alert the dispatcher in the event that a designated vehicle goes beyond the boundaries of a pre-set boundary. This not only protects company assets (so to speak), but also, the contents on board said assets. TouchStar’s iTRACK enables dispatchers to create such a perimiter, and it notifies dispatchers when the perimeter has been breached.

Additional Benefits of a Telematics Solution

TouchStar’s telematics solutions, iTRACK and intelTRACK, handle these two security activities and more. Both iTRACK and intelTRACK enable a company owner or fleet manager to review driver behaviors, such as speeding, harsh braking, excessive idle time, and dangerous activity, and they report these issues automatically. If a lapse in responsible driving is detected, drivers receive an audible alert, and the dispatcher is notified.

A solid telematics solution also delivers valuable customer service benefits as well. Real-time information provided by a robust telematics system enables dispatchers to communicate arrival times to clients with great precision and accuracy. Furthermore, dispatchers become an “eye in the sky,” empowered to direct drivers down efficient paths and the most direct routes to their destinations, even in locations riddled with construction and traffic lights. Without such a solution, drivers have only a small piece of the overall picture, aware only of what’s happening on the very street on which they are currently traveling.

Finally, when combining a telematics solution like iTRACK with an Android mobility app like TouchStar’s TransPac, dispatchers can also monitor product levels and deliveries on each vehicle in real time. Integrating TransPac into an existing telematics solution allows dispatchers and drivers to know the exact amount of product delivered to each client and the amount of product on each vehicle at all times. Drivers can also utilize TransPac to print invoices on-site.

From security improvements to driver performance enhancement, customer service insights, and inventory management, the incremental cost of a solid telematics solution that connects dispatcher and driver generates much more than an incremental boost to a fleet’s bottom line. You can find out more about feature-packed telematics solutions that fit your company budget at touchstargroup.com.

Want to read more about telematics and vehicle security?

1 – http://www.ttnews.com/articles/cargonet-reports-1500-commercial-cargo-and-vehicle-thefts-2015

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The ELD Mandate is Approaching – What’s the Difference between AOBRD and ELD? An ISE Brief http://www.touchstargroup.com/compliance/whats-the-difference-between-aobrd-and-eld/ http://www.touchstargroup.com/compliance/whats-the-difference-between-aobrd-and-eld/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 19:36:34 +0000 http://www.touchstargroup.com/?p=14183/ This brief, compiled by TouchStar partner ISE Fleet Services, shows the differences between various iterations of record of duty status (RODS) devices. This distinction is particularly important as the FMCSA’s December 2017 HOS recordkeeping deadline looms closer and closer. Some concessions are in place for those with AOBRDs installed prior to prior to the December

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This brief, compiled by TouchStar partner ISE Fleet Services, shows the differences between various iterations of record of duty status (RODS) devices. This distinction is particularly important as the FMCSA’s December 2017 HOS recordkeeping deadline looms closer and closer. Some concessions are in place for those with AOBRDs installed prior to prior to the December 18 deadline. After December 16, 2019, compliance measures tighten further. Do you know the difference, and more importantly, do you understand why one device will be acceptable come December 18 and another won’t?

Download ISE’s brief, What’s the Difference between AOBRD and ELD?

Is it time for your fleet to implement an ELD solution? TouchStar’s eLOG is FMCSA-compliant, and it integrates easily with TouchStar’s suite of fleet management tools.

 

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy, Confused about the AOBRD “grandfather” clause? FMCSA clarifies.

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Total Cost of Ownership and Other Famous Last Words http://www.touchstargroup.com/business-intelligence/total-cost-ownership-famous-last-words/ http://www.touchstargroup.com/business-intelligence/total-cost-ownership-famous-last-words/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 15:33:11 +0000 http://www.touchstargroup.com/?p=14061/ The great idea About a year ago, I had the greatest idea in the world: change cell phone companies. That’s right. Immediately upon inspiration and without delay, I marched right in to the nearest branch of my newly-desired provider and spoke with a bright young salesperson who was happy to tell me about the many

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The great idea

About a year ago, I had the greatest idea in the world: change cell phone companies. That’s right. Immediately upon inspiration and without delay, I marched right in to the nearest branch of my newly-desired provider and spoke with a bright young salesperson who was happy to tell me about the many coverage features his company offered – features I had never considered previously, and now wondered how I ever lived without. Each feature’s cost seemed negligible. Mere dollars added to the (insanely large) monthly bill. In addition to gaining access to these now indispensable new features, I would even get a refund on my old phone! In the form of a gift card…that would merely be the balance of what was due to me after initial switching costs were deducted…that would require that I scan and email multiple receipts that were more than two feet long…that would arrive up to six weeks after purchase…

That’s ok, because moving to a premium cell phone company would surely save me money in the end, right? I mean, that’s what the salesman told me. So it must be true. Right? (crickets)

Now, halfway through a two-year contract, I see that I failed to consider the larger picture…the total cost of “ownership.” What I thought would at first be profitable for me was only profitable for the new phone company. And my monthly bill went up instead of down. But how could this be? I spent literal hours in that store. I made several trips. Even showed up late to dinner one evening because I was busy negotiating with the salesman. Despite all of this, my decision was not entirely informed. And so, instead of spending my hard-earned money on the multi-season compilation of Archer on Blu-ray like I should have, I am now shelling out more than ever, each month, to my new phone carrier.

Total Cost of Ownership in fleet management

This too shall pass, and ultimately, the pain is not unbearable (this time). But what if the consequences of uninformed decisions such as the ones that led to my cell phone service provider debacle were multiplied across, say, a fleet of delivery trucks? For a contract term of five years? Expenses would increase exponentially, and my boss might end up calling me something other than “Late for Dinner.” This is why determining total cost of ownership (TCO) is so important, especially when it comes to fleet management.

Failing to understand TCO can lead to serious hiccups in a company’s larger supply chain management picture. LogisticsBureau.com attributes poorly defined and managed customer service policies and the retention of slow and obsolete stock to misunderstandings involving TCO. 1

Before you jump in feet-first to a new cellphone agreement fleet asset, take the time to consider the obvious and the not-so-obvious costs involved in taking on a new truck, warehouse, transportation, storage facility, or other fleet-related investment. According to LogisticsBureau.com, a few items to consider include:

  • Promotional discounts
  • Efficient order terms
  • Sales organization costs
  • Marketing costs
  • Ordering and cash collection
  • Storage
  • Picking and packing
  • Outbound transportation
  • Customer-specific services
  • Returns management 1

A primary benefit of carefully scrutinizing TCO is that it allows companies to identify actual cost drivers. This enables companies to be more precise in their budgeting and planning. The downside? An overly zealous approach to TCO analysis that fails to consider the practical aspects of asset ownership could lead to a potential rabbit trail of obscure costs that ultimately results in decision paralysis.

A better way to determine total cost of ownership

The key to efficient analysis rests in the tool that is being used to determine TCO. Depending on the size of your business (and the strength of your stomach), your tool of choice could be as simple as a shared spreadsheet. Fleet managers may prefer an even more robust solution that digitizes transactions and documents – one that is scalable based on the size and growth of your business and that provides dynamic record access and true rules-based automated archiving.

With a business intelligence app like TS HyperDocs, you will know exactly what is required on each delivery to remain profitable and to facilitate your company’s continued asset acquisitions. Cold hard data will inform your decisions on how much to charge, which allows you to determine the total cost of ownership for that truck (x20) that contains all of the bells and whistles at a price that at first seems “negligible.”

Want to read more about business intelligence?

1 – Rob O’Byrne, Cost To Serve – A Smarter Way to Improved Supply Chain Profitability (Logistics Bureau, 2015), http://www.logisticsbureau.com/cost-to-serve-a-smarter-way-to-improved-supply-chain-profitability/.

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The Best Laid Plans of Fleet Management http://www.touchstargroup.com/planning/best-laid-plans-fleet-management/ http://www.touchstargroup.com/planning/best-laid-plans-fleet-management/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 19:13:23 +0000 http://www.touchstargroup.com/?p=13998/ In his famous poem entitled “To a Mouse,” Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Actually, he wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley,” but unless you are well-versed in Scottish, that version simply lacks a certain compelling ring, doesn’t it?

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In his famous poem entitled “To a Mouse,” Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Actually, he wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley,” but unless you are well-versed in Scottish, that version simply lacks a certain compelling ring, doesn’t it? Whichever version resonates most with you, it’s clear that Burns does not place a high premium on data-based planning.

I find myself taking issue with Mr. Burns, not over his ability to turn out a lovely poem, but over his pessimism about the value of planning. Clearly, Burns was not a supply chain contributor, administrator, or participant. Had he been, John Steinbeck’s novella about two migrant workers seeking employment in California during the Great Depression would have a decidedly different title.

While a solid, data-based planning solution is particularly important in the realm of supply chain management, it is many times a regretful afterthought. Planning is a “good intention” that paves the way to…the worst alternate routes you’ve ever traveled. You know it’s valuable. You know it’s a good idea. But how many times have you arrived at the control center and more-or-less “winged it,” only to end the day thinking, “If only I had planned this better”? It’s no secret that fleet managers, dispatchers, and field workers can benefit greatly from starting the day, week, or month with a solid transportation and distribution plan, but have you considered the many various ways in which your fleet and your bottom line could be impacted with sound planning?

You use fewer vehicles

Not only does route optimization and planning allow you to utilize the vehicles currently in your fleet more effectively, but wise planning also enables you to maximize usage of your higher quality, more reliable, more fuel-efficient vehicles, which decreases the number of vehicles you have on the road, which saves you money at the pump and in the shop.

You optimize your distribution of resources

Closely related to fleet size reduction, data-based planning that is founded on accurate information allows you to evenly balance workloads in order to create equal delivery across sales territories. Additionally, it allows you to send the right vehicle to each stop. This could mean lower gas bills, fewer maintenance costs, and fewer tows.

You are ready for seasonal or event-related spikes

Is your delivery schedule impacted heavily by annual events such as Christmas or Mother’s Day? Or perhaps it is tied to weekly events such as Taco Tuesday or weekend adult beverage delivery? Whatever the case may be, fleets that run on cyclical delivery schedules can benefit immensely from data-based planning – one of those benefits being the avoidance of depleted inventory (and consequently, depleted profits). Avoid inventory scarcity by planning according to your observed sales and delivery cycle, even if that cycle looks more like a circular saw blade than a pretty round circle.

You increase delivery capacity

Have you been eyeing a potential client for some time, wishing you could add him or her to your list of clientele but fearing that you simply don’t have the capacity? With data-based planning, you know exactly where you stand with regard to delivery capacity, and in many cases, you are able to find ways to shoehorn in new business. Pine no longer. Integrate new customers quickly and with confidence using your efficient, new, data-based dispatch plan.

You take the thinking/guesswork out of it

Do you run around with your hair on fire all day long, wondering where your trucks are, wondering if they’re going to make it to your clients in time? By devising a plan and automating your delivery schedule, you effectively remove guesswork (and the resulting stress) from the equation altogether.

You save gas

With a strong, data-based plan, you find the shortest path from A to B, and you use the best resources to make the trip. This one’s a no-brainer. A logical, efficient planning solution saves you gas, which saves you money.

Manage delivery anomalies

As you know, until there’s a problem, your company’s consistent, on-time delivery will probably go unnoticed. You can deliver on time 100 times in a row without so much as an eyebrow raise or a word otherwise, but that 101st time, when an unexpected delivery delay arises, you can bet that delivery time will suddenly become very front-of-mind for your customers. Sure this can happen even with proper planning in place – but it will be much less frequent and more manageable when dispatch anomalies do arise.

You make your customers happy

At this point in your relationship with your customers, you’ve worked out a price point that works well for both of you; therefore, on-time delivery is now your primary “channel of happiness.” Stay out of the doghouse and deliver happiness. Even if it goes unnoticed, it’s far better than the alternative.

Better monitor your fleet

When you know where to expect to see your fleet, you can keep a closer eye on your vehicles. Conversely, dispatching deliveries without data-based planning sends them off your mental radar, and potentially off your dispatch radar.

Improve flexibility

Scheduled deliveries and flexibility may seem to be mutually exclusive, but implementing a solid, data-based plan actually increases flexibility. A good plan allows you to know where your trucks are and where they’re going, so if you have a truck heading down 56th and you could possibly score a “bonus” delivery on 59th, you have the knowledge, and consequently, the flexibility, to squeeze in the extra drop-off. Without a solid plan, it could be a gamble.

 

Commit now to a data-based planning solution

No doubt, you’re personally familiar with one, two, or all of these principles. So what’s the holdup? “Our firm is too small to warrant a data-based planning solution.” “I know this town like the back of my hand, and so do my drivers.” It’s time to do away with the excuses and save your company money. Devise and implement a data-based dispatch and delivery plan this week. Put it off no longer. And if you’re not sure where to start, TouchStar can help you, with solutions designed to fit your biggest planning challenges. Learn more about TS Easy Planning, and TS FleetWatch, and find a data-based planning solution that works best for your fleet.

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