Michael Dyson, VP of Sales, APAC at SOTI
It’s well known that the Transportation and Logistics (T&L) industry is a significant contributor to global and economic performance. With much of our day-to-day activities dependent on the ability to trade and transport goods and services across the globe, the T&L sector has never been as important as it is today.
The trade-off, however, is that all this activity equates to a substantial contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, environmental degradation and climate change overall. As a result, there is now a growing push for T&L businesses to transform and integrate environmentally sound initiatives into operations, so they are better positioned for a more sustainable and resilient future. The key, T&L businesses need to proactively invest in the latest technology to streamline operations and match the high demand in a way that also works to reduce the carbon footprint.
There is now considerable pressure on the industry, and incentives from within it, to make the industry more environmentally sustainable. The road-freight sector is responsible for over 24% of CO2 emissions worldwide. If countries are to meet their commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, they need the road-freight sector to become more sustainable.
To meet these pressures, the sector must identify the current sustainability gaps and prioritise investments in technology that help to fill them. If T&L businesses combine mobile and IoT technology with an integrated business-critical mobile strategy, they will undoubtably see not only gains in performance, but a more sustainable means of operating.
Better visibility makes for greener operations
Over the past decade, sustainability has been a hot topic in the T&L industry with more businesses looking at the environmental benefits of new technology. From making operations more efficient to using more sustainable resources, being environmentally-conscious remains a core focus. Something of particular interest within the industry is the use of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions such as telematics.
Telematics combines the use of Information Communications Technology (ICT) to monitor a wide range of information relating to an individual vehicle or an entire fleet. Telematics systems gather data including vehicle location, driver behaviour, engine diagnostics and vehicle activity, and visualise this data on software platforms that help fleet operators manage their resources.
The use of telematics is quickly growing in popularity due to the positive impact it has on operations. Not only do these IoT solutions work to streamline industry processes to save costs, they also allow businesses to easily comply with new regulations.
Aside from this, telematics offers many environmental benefits for T&L businesses wanting to reduce their carbon footprint by enabling operators to monitor their vehicle’s performance and save costs, reduce travel times and switch to more energy efficient fuel options.
With a multitude of other operational benefits, the tremendous potential telematics can have towards making the world a cleaner and safer environment goes far beyond just fleet owners, operators and drivers, but to the supply chain at large. The data collected through telematics is extremely valuable for identifying trends and making improvements to operations to better initiate sustainable practices.
Reducing the carbon footprint of transportation
With the impacts of COVID-19 and the accelerated demand for T&L services, the pressures on the sector have been immense. However, it will be the businesses that choose to innovate their operations with technology designed to efficiently move goods in a smarter, more sustainable way that will see themselves remain competitive in a greener future.
Advanced solutions such as telematics and IoT technology work to support the reduction of carbon emissions and lead the industry into a greener future by optimising the overall flow of logistics, which naturally helps to reduce emissions. These technologies track vehicle and individual driver information to support improved vehicle performance and driver behaviour, thereby reducing the overall consumption of fuel and outward emissions.
With the integration of technology solutions, T&L businesses can not only improve sustainability standards from the get-go but make an evaluation on how to react to any other detrimental impacts current operations are having on the environment to make further, longer-term improvements.
Efficiency is the key to T&L sustainability
In SOTI’s latest report on the T&L industry, 76% of Australian T&L businesses agree that mobile-first technology will play an important role in last-mile delivery over the next five years. A further 50% said that mobile-first technology used to increase the speed of the delivery process and improve the visibility for customers to track their orders will improve operational efficiencies significantly.
With the many advantages that come as a result of investing in and deploying technology, the most business-critical outcome from a T&L operator’s perspective is the improvements to productivity and efficiency. The use of technology, including mobile-first technology, to automate operational tasks such as record keeping, toll paying and delivery logistics, for example, allow T&L drivers to operate in a more productive and efficient way. And while this is the priority for T&L businesses making investments in technology, another big motivation is becoming more sustainable.
The fact is technology investments that improve visibility, efficiencies, productivity and accuracy are also likely to increase a T&L business’ sustainability credentials. That’s because it means T&L drivers are completing tasks correctly the first-time round, and the business is making assessments and changes to operations such as using data insights to deliver more orders to the same place at the same time or calibrating quicker route options.
Transport modes have also seen several advances which work to proactively reduce carbon emissions. From larger vehicles, aircrafts and vessels to the broadening use of automated guided vehicles, transport modes will continue to change in the future to address issues of efficiency and sustainability.
Larger means of transport are fast becoming a greener approach to transporting goods, with larger vehicles being a way of not only compensating for rising transportation costs but revolutionising the potential for goods to be transported in a more sustainable way – such as compiling many goods on the same vehicle that all need to go to the same place. Moreover, innovative modes of transport such as autonomous and self-controlled systems may also be the frontrunners when it comes to the changing face of transport in the future.
With the current challenges facing the world today, there are many changes that can help better position the T&L industry to operate on a greener level. With the proactive use of technology to optimise industry operations, the T&L sector can start on an innovative path towards a sustainable future.
With an increased shift toward mobile and IoT technology in the T&L industry, there is also a need for businesses to have an advanced mobile-first strategy in place ensuring that all devices are centrally connected, secure and properly integrated into operations. For T&L businesses looking to adopt new technology to recalibrate their sustainability credentials, IoT management solutions and secure mobility management solutions offer an integrated solution to manage and maintain the security of all mobile devices and connected peripherals within operations.