The rise of more stringent regulations in the trucking industry is forcing fleet operations to make important calls, so it’s vital they have the data to make those decisions. PeopleNet, an onboard computing and carrier fleet communications provider for the past 19 years, has partnered with trucking operations to give them the tools they need to make crucial choices.
“We typically work with more enterprise fleets that have more than 25 trucks, typically want some integration to their back-office system and that want a more advanced solution,” President Brian McLaughlin says. “Right from the beginning, we do some process mapping starting with the as-is process and then drive that toward greater ROI.”
PeopleNet has developed an open-platform system that connects drivers to their home office. It of course includes the basics such as GPS and real-time communication, but the company also tracks and manages data that help operators adjust to today’s trucking world, which McLaughlin says places a greater focus on driver safety and compliance. For instance, it has applications that automatically track driver hours since new federal regulations stipulate how many consecutive hours drivers can stay behind the wheel.
“We’re also seeing a lot of demand for safety applications that measure certain factors,” McLaughlin says. “It measures things like speeding or lane departures. We’re seeing a greater demand for in-cab cameras. We’re seeing this demand in driver safety applications pick up because trucking companies and individual drivers are getting [compliance, safety, accountability] scores. If the score is good, you can drive, the business can flourish and pick up new business. But if it’s bad, it can keep you from getting new business and even cause you to shut down.”
PeopleNet tracks that data for trucking operations and makes it easily accessible to drivers and decision-makers via a cloud-based and web-based system. The open platform easily integrates into an operation’s total back-office system, which provides companies a more holistic view of their systems.
“It can integrate into other back-office systems such as dispatching, a safety system, a fuel tax payment or a compliance system,” McLaughlin says. “Our software allows for an exchange of data back and forth between each department to determine if they are compliant with drivers’ hours of service. Do they have accurate fuel tax reconciliation? Are their drivers as efficient as they need to be? What are the miles per gallon?”
The answers to these questions not only help companies make decisions about current issues, but also future issues. PeopleNet says it is perfecting the art of predictive analysis and is using data to help its clients predict factors such as which trucks should be cycled out of the fleet or are approaching a potential breakdown.
McLaughlin says that having the data to make the best decisions is a foundation to any successful business. For the trucking industry, those decisions factor into safety, compliance and even growth. PeopleNet’s goal is to partner alongside companies and industries and put them in a position for greater growth.
“The energy sector is a growing industry that we are beginning to serve,” McLaughlin says. “These would be energy companies that have trucks and need to move goods, such as petroleum or oil. We have a suite of safety and service applications focused on the energy sector and we are in the process of adding more. Energy across North America is very booming right now, but it’s seen very little in terms of effective solutions, so we are developing solutions that focus on their very specified needs.”