Federally regulated rules and driver monitoring raise the specter of Big Brother with anyone considering a monitoring solution, but while some blatantly flout the law and force their drivers to work long hours, others lose sleep at night worrying about the safety of their drivers and operations.
Changes in HOS rules are rarely popular. The National Private Truck Council is currently running a survey and posing the question, “With the new Hours of Service rules effective due to take place July 1, 2013, what is your fleet’s estimated loss of productivity?”, but with the increase in accidents attributed to fatigued drivers, it’s no wonder that the US DoT continues to update its regulations. Safety trumps all.
At Webtech Wireless, we anticipate changes to HOS rules and provide regular software and hardware updates well in advance of change deadlines to ensure our customers never experience downtime and business interruption.
Last December, we released an update of our MDT 3100 In-Cab solution to offer HOS Oil Well Waiting capability for fleets in the Oil and Gas sector. With Oil Well Waiting, drivers could track time waiting at a well site without it counting against their HOS time limit. This capability ensured fleets could remain competitive while complying with FMCSA HOS regulations. At the time, our Quadrant VP of Products and Services, Ernie Chatham said “This feature is designed with drivers in mind. It’s easy to use and the interface and workflow are simple, allowing for quick training, simple implementation, and immediate cost savings.”
We’ve started letting affected customers know about the new changes to HOS rules for fleets operating in the US, so if you haven’t heard from us directly, you soon will. Here’s an overview from the US Department of Transportation.
30-Minute Mandatory Break – Starting in July, drivers of a CMV operating in the US cannot drive if more than eight hours have passed since the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper break of 30 minutes or more. When a driver reaches the eighth hour into the work shift, before continuing the driver must take a 30-minute break.
Restart Rules - A 34-hour restart is a “valid” restart only if the driver ensures that the period includes two back-to-back nighttime rest periods from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. The restart rules restrict how often a restart can be used. If a driver restarts more often than what’s allowed by US rules, the driver must indicate on the log which restart will be the one that’s being used as the valid restart.
For more information, see the US Department of Transportation web site.
If you have any questions about how the new HOS rules might affect you, please contact our technical support specialists:
email@example.com Phone +1 (604) 419 8163
Toll Free (US/Canada) +1 (866) 945 4568
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday 6:00 am – 5:00 PM PT
Saturday 8:00 am – 4:30 PM PT
The air is colder, holiday themed songs are playing on the radio and images of St. Nick are everywhere. Yes, it is that time of year. With the holidays just around the corner, it really is time to think how we can enjoy the festivities while saving a few bucks. So stop looking under the driver’s seat, office desk or couch for a few extra pennies and try a few simple techniques to save a few dollars during the holidays and after!
If you are a fleet owner, you know that the cost of running an operation is rising drastically. Monitoring driver behavior, optimizing fleet performance and trailer tracking are just a few things that can leave a bit more money in your pocket.
As a fleet owner, finding ways to run your operations efficiently while using your resources effectively saves you money. Most drivers aren’t aware that harsh breaking, sharp turns and speeding account for most fuel wastage. Identifying poor driver behavior with reporting tools in Quadrant Manager will help you pro-actively train your drivers to reduce fuel consumption.
Drivers spend a significant amount of time waiting for dispatch to manually send driver instructions for their next pickup or delivery. All that wasted time turns into dollars and adds to the cost of running a fleet. Webtech Wireless’ Job Management solution allows dispatch release instructions automatically, getting drivers off their phone (saving talking time and talking minutes) and sending them to their next destination quicker.
Equipment that isn’t monitored is at the mercy of trespassers and kleptomaniacs. The Quadrant Trailer Tracking solution can detect unauthorized movements and show you where your trailers are in real-time.
Multi-zone temperature monitoring is a small solution that reaps huge benefits. Did you know that 40% of all food produced in the United States is wasted? And of that 20% is wasted through spoilage during distribution? Prevent food wastage and save dollars by getting real-time alerts when temperatures go above or below a set threshold.
Whether you are in a large building or a basement suite, office space and equipment costs money, a lot of money. Being pro-active and cautious can easily help you reduce overhead and see savings.
Turn the computer off. That’s it. Turning off the computer at the end of the day is the easiest thing you and your staff can do save money and energy. If you work off of a power strip, don’t forget to turn that off as well. According to a 2009 survey, a company with 10,000 desktop computers (powered up but not being used) will waste $260,000 in energy a single year. It is simple, easy and a great step to going green in the office.
Think twice before you print that document in color on a single side of paper. Printing one or two sheets is not expensive, but when you are going through boxes and boxes of paper, printing becomes a pricey line item. Set your printer’s defaults to economy, black and white and double sided and watch your ink and paper consumption go down. Awesome way to save a few bucks, and you probably save a few trees too.
Competition is steep and the market is competitive. A great strategy to save money is to keep true to your vendors. Long lasting relationships with various suppliers and vendors result in multiple benefits including great customer service, bulk order discounts and promotions for loyal customers.
December brings along a lot of happy moments, holiday parties, Christmas trees, great food, desserts galore and a couple of extra inches around the hips. However, every January you pay the price—those jeans feel a bit snug and have burned a little whole in the pocket. Here are a few easy tips to help you save during the holiday season!
If you are like me, the sight of beautiful wrapping getting torn off a present and then immediately getting dumped into the recycling bin makes you cringe. I am all for great packaging (I’m in marketing after all—and a graphic designer) but trust me, you can achieve the same visual appeal in other ways. How about using brown paper bags? Or a few pages from a magazine or the comic section of the newspaper? Re-using things that you already have around the house is a great way to get rid of junk and save money.
If you are part of a large extended family like me, buying presents for everyone can increase the digits on your credit card bill. Why not try Secret Santa? It allows you to focus on getting something special for that one person and also adds the extra fun of who has whom.
Hit the malls early, I mean really early. By shopping early you are able to compare prices, avoid impulse buys and get quality gifts without settling for whatever is left at the store.
For 60 seconds around 2pm Eastern on Thursday, November 8, Facebook went down. The Twitter world went wild and oddly enough, this forced people to stop liking and tagging and actually start working. Just for the record, I wasn’t on Facebook. I was working at 2pm Eastern.
The entire Facebook thing got me curious about our daily dependence on technology. When Facebook—the number one time waster in the United States—went down, my guess was that few people were drastically impacted. Granted, it was only down for a few minutes, but hypothetically, if Facebook were inaccessible for 24 hours, how many lives would really be at stake?
My guess is none.
There are jobs though, where if the technology wasn’t working, it is a big deal—a very big deal. Most obvious are the medical and armed forces fields, but for fleet managers, knowing where your workers, drivers and assets are is also critical. As a provider of technologies that use cellular networks, Webtech Wireless delivers this critical information so fleet managers can track vehicle locations in real-time, observe engine diagnostics, and report on a wide range of other telemetry information.
Our customers have shared that their drivers often travel to remote areas where cellular networks are not reliable and drivers go in and out of cell coverage. Working with accurate data is important to dispatchers and without that information, workflow can be compromised. If cellular networks go down, customers don’t have to worry about lost data with Webtech Wireless Locators installed. A Locator may be a very small device, but its powerful engineering ensures that it continues to record data so that when the vehicle is back in cell coverage, the data is automatically synchronized. Similarly, person-to person communications such as dispatch orders sent through the Mobile Data Terminal (MDT), are stored and transmitted when cellular connectivity is restored.
Webtech Wireless recognizes that customers have special needs and they require solutions that meet those needs. These recording and storing capabilities permit businesses to continue to run smoothly and efficiently even if connectivity goes down.
So, Facebook can go down and Twitter can go wild, but Webtech Wireless ensures that your information is accurate, stored, and accessible.
Stay connected with Webtech Wireless—Award-Winning Solutions for Fleet Management
Since the release of last year’s Annual Trucking Industry Survey (in early October 2011) researched by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the average price of a gallon of diesel has climbed 33.7 cents to $4.086. Yet fuel prices rank only fifth on ATRI’s ranking and even the economy lagged behind two critical issues for 2012. The two biggest issues for this past year both revolve around regulatory compliance: CSA and HOS.
Some accounting for the ranking pre-ambled the results. For example, the high elevation of HOS was thought to result from “a final rule on federal Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations…issued at the close of 2011 and the degree to which the changes will impact the industry has yet to be fully understood.” Similarly, CSA’s rise to first place is thought to be the result of “uncertainty and dissatisfaction with the impacts of CSA” throughout the industry.
The ATRI survey is distributed to a large sample of more than 4,000 trucking industry stakeholders from both the U.S. and Canada (including motor carriers, commercial drivers and other industry stakeholders) to measure the importance of each issue. As with previous surveys, respondents are asked to rank a list of ten issues. This year, a record 943 respondents completed the survey.
As with our assessment of the 2011 ATRI survey, many of the issues most concerning to trucking fleets are in the domain of solutions Webtech Wireless provides:
#1 CSA – Two years after first debuting on the top-ten list, CSA has reached the number one position for the first time. Our customers report how their Webtech Wireless solution helps them meet CSA regulatory compliance in three key areas: unsafe driving, fatigued driving, and vehicle maintenance.
#2 HOS – Our Quadrant solution specifically targets both the US Department of Transportation and Transport Canada’s Hours of Service regulations. Quadrant’s Driver Log feature provides instant access to driver information enabling transportation companies to meet regulatory requirements, maximize driver efficiency, and eliminate manual errors.
#5 Fuel Prices – Our customers tell us how their Webtech Wireless solution significantly improved their fuel economy through reduced idling, decreased speeding, and route optimization.
#6 EOBR – By automating log books, telematics and EOBR solutions ensure drivers aren’t out of hours at the wheel. The evidence from our customers is overwhelming: their managers sleep soundly at night. With the increase in no-cell-phone laws, our customers are also happy that their EOBR solution eliminates the need for cell phones. This ensures drivers are neither fatigued nor distracted at the wheel.
#7 Driver Retention - A telematics solution levels the playing field for all drivers. Rather than bad drivers getting away with things they shouldn’t, all drivers are held equally accountable. Good drivers are more likely to stay and an in cab communications and EOBR device attracts young drivers, while reducing the number of times vehicles are stopped for inspections. That makes both drivers and management happy.
The complete results were released at the 2012 Management Conference and Exhibition of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) meeting in Las Vegas, NV, the nation’s largest gathering of motor carrier executives, which David Greer attended and shared in last week’s blog post.
“ATRI’s primary mission is to conduct transportation research with an emphasis on the trucking industry’s essential role in a safe, efficient, and viable transportation system.”
All too often GPS/AVL projects head off the end of the road and crash leaving carnage behind and making everyone leery of taking on another telematics project. We’ve heard hundreds of times of clients who thought that all we had to do is “throw a few devices on the trucks” and everything would work out perfectly. As we’ve written in To Stay or To Go, changing how a business or organization operates is part of a process. It has little to do with the technology and everything to do with the people and process involved.
At Webtech Wireless, we’ve helped over a thousand clients make this transition. Our proven pilot process is a low cost and low risk way to ensure that your GPS/AVL deployment will be a success for your organization. Pilots bring everyone together on a small deployment that is an accurate representation of a full deployment. When we engage with you in a pilot process we focus on these critical questions about your project:
Why? Why does your organization want to engage in a telematics solution? Hours of Service compliance? Knowing where your vehicles are? To let senior management sleep at night by reducing the risk of drivers and vehicles on the road? With our experience, we often help clients get clear on exactly why they want a GPS/AVL solution.
What? What is it you want to achieve and how will you measure it? We often find that people have a clear vision of what they want a telematics solution to do. The challenge is that they want to try and achieve three years of organizational change, process improvements, and technology purchases all work in one year. With our experience, we can help make sure that what you want to achieve is both measurable and doable.
When? Because few organizations have gone through a telematics implementation, they often have unreasonable timelines about how long things will take. What we do know is that a carefully planned and executed pilot process will not only ensure your success, they will show all the places where glitches will slow down or even halt an eventual deployment. Proving out the process in a well-executed pilot is the single biggest factor in making large deployments successful and on time.
Who? You know your business better than we ever will. For a GPS/AVL project to be successful, it takes equal commitment of people from both the client and the vendor. While we always make sure that we have the people available at the right time to move a pilot project forward, all too often our clients do not have the people committed to making the project happen. In this case, it is common for the project to die stillborn. By using a proven pilot process, you will know who, when, where, and what needs to be done.
As we wrote last week in Drawing Intelligence from Data, a full featured telematics implementation using our InterFleet or Quadrant solutions integrated into your critical systems can provide you with new business and organizational insight. This leads directly to better fleet performance, lower driver and fleet costs, and reduced risk for your organization. But as our customer tell us, only if you get everything clear at the start and use a proven pilot process.
For anyone who saw the irreverent film, Freakonomics (“the hidden side of everything”), knows that we’re now collecting data on a vast scale. The stories that are emerging from all this data are remarkable. Who knew that, with this accumulation of data, we could prove Sumo wrestlers were cheating or that the reasons politicians cited for falling crime rates were wrong?
At the TMW 2012 Transforum this week in Orlando (attended by 1,700 vendors and customers), a key theme was, “how do we draw intelligence from data?” According to TMW Senior Project Manager, Michael Malecha in his session on business improvement, “We have 86% more data than even just two years ago, but how do we draw meaning from it?” He also stated that 93% of CEOs believe they are losing opportunities from a lack of tools to handle this data.
Since all data sets contain noise, the secret is in discerning the noise from the signal. The signal, of course, refers to meaningful trends.
His cautionary message is simple:
Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (speaking neither as politician nor as pastor and pictured above) decried the state of personal accountability when he said, “We’ve created a monster”. Sometimes, the gathering of data can be seen as a monster—Big Brother tracking our every move. But business intelligence (knowing how to draw meaningful conclusions from information), serves the needs of small to medium companies just as it does large—if they know what to do with it.
In order to optimize fleet operations and enhance financial performance, fleet managers often turn to automation. Initially, the desire is for dot-on-a-map visibility of their vehicles. Using GPS/AVL technology, they collect location and sometimes diagnostic data in real-time. As the data accumulates, managers may want to report on it, such as exception reporting to filter out only data that doesn’t conform to expected norms. Data then starts to fulfill a more complex need: analyzing trends to facilitate better cost projections (such as optimizing fuel usage), and route planning. Finally, with data streaming in from multiple third-party sources, they can integrate information to discover complex relationships between external events and internal actions. This is the essence of business intelligence.
TMW CEO, David Wangler, in the general session keynote speech emphasized this point when he said, “It’s no longer the big who eat the small, but the fast who eat the slow”. In other words, becoming leaner and more efficient enables us to outmanoeuver the competition. Your GPS/AVL fleet tracking solution is sending you real-time data that not only provides you with visibility here and now, but down the road, will enable you to see trends and anticipate opportunities.
Perhaps as a fitting representation of the need to draw intelligence from data, the TMW awards gala was warmed up by Jean Francois, the Quebec-based visual artists who drew fantastical pictures for everyone while dinner was served. Accompanied by pulsing rock music, the images appeared abstract and confusing at first until he ceremoniously turned them over (new right-side up) and delighted everyone with images of the Statue of Liberty and a long-haul truck.
I was running along the beach in Vancouver yesterday on a spectacular morning. The sun was rising over the still water of English Bay and even in the early morning I only needed a light jacket to keep me comfortable. With September just half over the last thing on my mind was winter. After all, it’s not even officially fall yet.
Spanish Banks at Dawn
Which raises one of the challenges that many of our customers face. While the weather is nice now we all know that eventually it is going to change. And for our InterFleet customers, the snow will start falling before we know it.
As the #1 winter fleet GPS/AVL provider in North America, we start working with our customers now to get all of their equipment tested and working, including our telematics solution. Equipment that has been doing other tasks over the summer now must be made ready for winter. The thing we know for sure is that if we wait until the snow starts, it will be too late to be ready for that first storm.
Every year we have clients who call us at the last minute trying to get everything working. Not only is it very challenging for us to respond to every customer all at once, our experience is that our customers need to schedule and book time off for every vehicle to be serviced and checked. This requires careful project management and coordination on both our client’s part and on ours.
To solve these challenges, our Winter Light Up program keeps your business operations running smoothly by ensuring your spreader controllers integrations, plow sensors, and temperature sensors are ready for the first snowfall. InterFleet offers experienced project managers, project coordinators, solution engineers, and certified technicians to ensure fleets are on-time and ready. By having our Winter Light Up team analyze the technical details of our customer’s existing fleet, we ensure all units have the right configuration files and we verify the accuracy and details of advanced reports, giving customers the data they need to respond immediately to events as they unfold. Our customers save time, money, and resources by preparing their fleet before the storm.
Every fall, we encounter users who ask us “where is the screen to generate the route completion report?” In many cases, the user last looked at the InterFleet web portal six months ago and in the intervening time have had so many things to do that they honestly forgot the critical user interfaces and processes that make them successful in winter. That’s why our Winter Light Up program includes refresher training for your staff.
Beautiful late summer days lull us into a false sense of security. Winter fleet operators know that, to be successful, they need to start planning and outfitting their winter equipment with the #1 winter fleet GPS/AVL solution. This way, the fleet will be ready for that first snow fall.
|Toll Free||1-877-434-4844 (Option 3)|
Vladivostok, Russia may seem a long way away from America’s heartland, but a summit being held there points to a shared concern—food security. As Russian President Vladimir Putin put it, food security “is one of the most acute problems of our time.” So while Asia-Pacific summit leaders are focusing their attention on the rising concern over food security, a new report by the US Department of Agriculture states that 17.4 million American families (almost 15 percent of US households) are now “food insecure”.
Did you know that a staggering 40% of all food produced in the United States is wasted? Of that, 20% is wasted through spoilage during distribution (i.e., transportation). But food spoilage can be reduced, if not eliminated through better temperature tracking during transportation.
At Webtech Wireless, our GPS/AVL tracking solutions help trucking fleets reduce all kinds of waste: fuel wastage, time wastage, and food wastage. By providing you with the ability to monitor the contents of your shipments on route, you ensure that perishable cargo travels within the required temperature specifications. With status updates sent to you remotely, you are assured that you are part of the solution, not the problem. It’s that simple: Monitor your trailers and prevent waste.
Many people assume hunger is supposed to happen in other places, yet hunger is a reality in the most plentiful of nations. According to Feeding America, a Chicago-based food bank network, one in six Americans goes hungry. Among its charitable activities, Feeding America food banks provide food and groceries to 33,500 food pantries, 4,500 soup kitchens and 3,600 emergency shelters.
Feeding America is promoting many programs to help including online donations, a “Give a Meal” program, a virtual food drive, and corporate donations. Find out and view their “Map The Meal Gap” study. Remember, September is Hunger Action Month.
In Regulatory Compliance and You, we gave an overview of the US Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) system and how it relates to automated vehicle tracking in the trucking industry. We return time and again to the issue of the CSA, because it is one of the most pressing issues in the US today. As we wrote in Asleep at the Wheel, one of the key measures of CSA is preventing fatigued drivers from being at the wheel. CSA helps to ensure that drivers are within their Hours of Service requirements, so that drivers are not driving tired.
Last year, we wrote in 2011 Trucking Critical Issues that the American Transport Research Institute annual report listed hours of service as the second most important issue in the survey:
“The HOS rules are again in play as the industry awaits a final rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) following proposed changes issued in December of last year.”
At the end of July this year, Mike Antich writing for Business Fleet posted FMCSA Seeks 445% Budget Hike to Increase CSA Enforcement, noting:
“For fiscal year 2012, FMCSA requested significantly more budgetary and staffing resources to fully implement CSA. Specifically, FMCSA is now requesting $78 million (a 445% increase) and 98 new full-time positions (a 14% increase) to its existing 696 full-time field staff for fiscal year 2012 to fully implement and integrate CSA into FMCSA’s operations. FMCSA’s fiscal year 2012 budget request also includes $261.8 million for a new CSA grant program to fund activities states and local law enforcement currently perform, such as roadside inspections, interventions, compliance reviews, and targeted enforcement and inspections.”
Clearly, the FMCSA believes that CSA enforcement will make a difference. More importantly, fleet operators must start assuming that, if they are not CSA compliant, they will be caught. This is good news for the industry.
Increasing enforcement levels the playing field for everyone. The anecdotal evidence from our customers is overwhelming: Because automated telematics and EOBR (electronic on board recorder) solutions keep drivers safe, their managers sleep at night. And by automating the tracking of your vehicles and drivers, you gain enormous opportunities to lower your costs and improve your ability to delivery outstanding service to your customers.
We believe CSA is making a difference and ongoing funding, inspections, and implementation of automated solutions will let CSA make a difference for all of us.
With a population over 750,000, Long Island’s town of Hempstead prides itself as ‘the largest township in America’. Due to its proximity to New York City’s Borough of Queens, Hempstead was one of the first post-war communities to be suburbanized and now, with aging infrastructure, Hempstead must balance its many assets with diverse new 21st Century challenges.
According to The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), “In a country as vast as the U.S., with such great geographical, historical and political diversity, one challenge seems sadly universal: the infrastructure we rely on to live and thrive is rapidly coming unraveled. Roads, bridges, public transit, airports, water and sewage systems—most are failing to keep pace with the expanding needs of a burgeoning population, and some are virtually on the brink of collapse.” The ASCE, which also annually releases a state-by-state infrastructure report card, New York’s current top-three infrastructure concerns are roads, bridges, and mass transit.
While Hempstead is no exception, the Town has been able to breathe fresh life into its road maintenance fleet using an InterFleet GPS/AVL solution from Webtech Wireless. Describing that solution, Deputy Commissioner of Highways, Craig Mollo says, “It’s fantastic. We love it! We had 35 units installed into sweepers and 30 installed in snowplows (about one third of our fleet), and within a year, we were able to re-organize our entire mapping system. As a result, we found that we could reduce our equipment and drivers by five, redeploying them where they could be used most effectively.”
For communities, such as Hempstead, that boomed over 50 years ago and now suffer from aging infrastructure problems, there is light at the end of the tunnel in the form of federal funding. Last week, Washington’s Transportation Secretary, LaHood, announced $787 million to “repair and modernize the nation’s aging transit infrastructure”. With improvements coming to mass transit, road maintenance cannot be far behind.
Even so, Hemptead has found that, with the success of a GPS/AVL for its sweepers and snowplows, the Town plans further InterFleet deployments for its payloaders, pickup trucks, and other vehicles used for highway maintenance, sanitation, and traffic control—eventually 400 pieces of equipment. “With public safety and wellbeing of residents a priority for us, we also plan to install safety buttons to send emergency alerts,” says Mollo.