Commercial Vehicles, as we see them, are a P&L (Profit and Loss) in themselves. Regardless of what they carry- people, products, or raw materials; the onus is on the company/industry to safeguard the driver, vehicle, and cargo/passenger so as to have a lasting positive business impact. Needless to say, everything we use today, right from a pin to the very homes we live in, has varying levels of ‘movement’ in its making. Certain goods and raw materials cover long treacherous, and complex paths to reach the length and breadth of any country. If left inadequately monitored, the possibility of in-transit damages due to accidents, poor driving, human fatigue, etc. can lead to massive business losses. Similarly, there are imminent and peculiar hazards even on well-connected highways. For far too long, road safety has been just about good driving practices with a greater emphasis on passenger vehicles. While essentials such as seat belts, speed limits, and road/lane/traffic discipline have been implemented for commercial vehicles, the on-road safety needs for these vehicles are much deeper as any incident may cost lives, livelihoods, and business to many. With road incidents negatively impacting the industrial landscape and hence economies at large, it is time to rethink ‘safety’ as it goes deeper when seen through the lens of each industry's fleet operations.
Safety - Not when but how soon!
As per an SAE Mobilus report of 2021, India contributed to 11 percent of the global road accidents. As a majority of the freight traffic is ferried by Commercial Vehicles (CV) or trucks along the National highways, it increases the probability of them being involved in a road accident. The scenario is no different worldwide. Vehicle over-loading, rudimentary tracking methods, lack of safety awareness, theft, and complex terrains, are some of the prevalent factors threatening the overall safety, and adding to the incident/accident occurrences.
Let’s move away a bit and look at industries such as Vehicle Leasing/Financing or Food & Beverage (F&B). Where on the one hand theft and installment default are crippling the vehicle leasing and financing industry; you have temperature monitoring challenges that have led the F&B industry to incur unexpected losses consistently in transit of raw materials and finished products. Yet again, in a broad sense, it is the safety of cargo, vehicle, and driver that can solve these challenges. An in-transit issue with any industrial or commercial vehicle, often, also has an impact on other vehicles on the road, and on human lives, which warrants a circumspective view and strategy.
With increasing dependence and demand for access to products and services which are not always locally available/manufactured - it is imperative for businesses to devise a ‘safety strategy’ as an integral part of manufacturing and distribution plan.
Modern Tech for Improved Monitoring and Safety
From our customer interactions and research, we have learned that challenges faced by industries are complex, and no single human or team can solve it alone. Technology must form an integral part of the solution - Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and more need to come together to drive efficiency and safety. With modern fleet technology solutions powered by AI and IoT, industries cannot just be safeguarded today but they can also be made resilient and sustainable for the future.
Advanced Video Telematics, can help businesses capture reliable on-road incident footage and coach drivers, to lower operational costs, prevent and protect against false accident/insurance claims, and ensure the safety of their drivers, vehicle, and cargo. It provides technologies prevalent today in the passenger vehicle space, such as Advanced Driver Assistance System and Driver Management System, by broadening the usage opportunity to suit CV-specific requirements. This coupled with the right Internet of Things (IoT) device portfolio can provide the most valuable data for businesses to benefit from. Fleet Technology which includes Fleet Management Solutions and Video Safety Solutions, effectively addresses most safety challenges.
To put things in perspective, the greatest challenge of a pharmaceutical company transporting its medicines in a truck from City A to City B is not just that of road discipline and accident prevention, it is also to ensure that the cargo is transported at the right temperature and moved at the speed that there are no damages to the product in transit. Hence, in this scenario, the company not just invests in Video Telematics but also in temperature monitoring as part of its fleet management solutions. A marginal cost investment when compared to the RoI of cargo protection. An real-world example from the agriculture industry would be that of Crown Flour Mills, part of Olam International and one of Nigeria’s largest wheat millers. It was faced with the complexities of in-transit accidents, theft, and safety challenges. Liability Risk Prevention was a major driving factor that demanded modern tech adoption and it deployed LocoNav’s Video Safety Solutions developed using Video Telematics in combination with dual channel dashcams. The combination of real-time in-cab and on-road monitoring, while also setting driver KPIs for their safety and performance changed driving practices completely. With the option to reconstruct an accident/incident, it has been able to offer evidence to authorities in the event of any on-road incident to protect the company’s financial interests as well as the driver’s as well.
Technology is innovating constantly and always opening up new avenues for businesses to find comprehensive, all-pervasive, and impactful solutions to the increasingly complex problem of ‘safety’. As one can see, safety in the context of commercial vehicle movement can mean different things to different industries but there is one thing that runs in common across all - the economic impact! AI and IoT-powered solutions when developed ground up for industrial purposes, will enable business impact in the form of operational efficiencies and cost savings, while keep our goods, people and us safer on roads.