One of the greatest hurdle for any fleet or dispatch-related service is communication while in the field. It wasn’t so long ago we were reliant upon radios—commonly citizen’s band (CB) radios. While mostly effective, they were beholden to range limitations, open channels, and cross-talk from time to time. While still present in many cabs today, CB radios have taken a back seat to some newer technology that has revolutionized the way truckers communicate.
Lighten The Load Of Dispatch
Historically, dispatch was responsible for on-time delivery and keeping tabs on truck whereabouts through periodic check-ins. With the proliferation of cell phones, especially smart phones and unlimited data plans, the trucker is now able to provide up-to-the-minute updates on whereabout, delivery time estimate, and any special dock requirements to both dispatch and receiver, reducing the duplicate effort and promoting a more real-time delivery experience. Furthermore, the increase in custom and platform-based apps have made delivery estimates and load updates nearly automatic, with minimal input from the operator.
Especially convenient for regional delivery outfits, cellular connections onboard have enabled real-time delivery confirmations, instilling trust and ensuring inventory and merchandise are retrieved in a timely fashion. This capability is no longer reserved for the large logistics or final-mile delivery providers, but platforms such as Circuit and GoShare increase the efficiency of non-driving tasks in the cab for independents, and fleet management software for larger operators can also track these confirmations to analyze delivery flow rate, look for losses in productivity, and adjust future routes to provide more efficient service in the future.
Communication On The Open Road
While most of the above relates primarily to delivery and regional operators, wireless technology has also been a boon for long-haul OTR truckers in a few ways:
- Family communication. You’re sleeping in the sleeper cab of your truck instead of tucking the kids in or communicating with your spouse or significant other. Cellular communication, be it a smart phone or hot spot and a laptop now make it possible to video-chat with your loved ones on the go.
- Route planning. When you’re covering 1,800 miles in one trip, planning each road you’ll take is a little overwhelming—especially if you encounter road construction. While at a rest stop or working with a co-driver, you can hop on a maps app or via a browser to determine the best route to your next destination, given the current traffic or road closure situation.
- Electronic logbooks. A requirement for commercial drivers, logbooks’ accuracy is dependent upon the driver’s entry. Connecting the truck’s logbook to a digital solution eases the burden of missed entries or missing a rest point.
CBs Still Have Their Place
While technology certainly has enhanced communication for truckers, the CB radio still finds itself useful in the home of many trucks today. CBs are still recognized as one of the most effective means of truck-to-truck communication.
If you’re looking for a new truck with some newer technology, we’re here to help fund your lease or purchase. Contact an ENGS Finance rep today for application information and different financing options.