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More than just a lorry

Industry views | 13 April 2018

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By Carl Hanson, Group Fleet Director

One of the most dynamic areas of the supply chain, and one which is seeing the most innovation, is vehicles. From telematics, advanced safety features and autonomous capability, through to platooning and electric and alternative fuel vehicles, it’s an exciting area of development.

You need only look at cars in the last ten years to see how many electronics and gadgets are now considered ‘as standard’. The same can be said for the lorries, trucks and vans already deployed throughout the supply network.

As we look toward the future of our industry, the Internet of Trucks, a connected network of vehicles communicating between themselves and their environment, is not just a probability but a certainty.

As we add more and more sensors across the entire supply network, from warehouses and pallets to containers and vehicles, we will see a significant increase in visibility. This will facilitate a greater level of understanding of supply chain movements and the ability to plan in minute detail for more efficient asset management. Fleet managers will also have access to a much greater pool of data from which to plan optimum routes, speeds and schedules. Even now we’re seeing this in practice with real-time data on road conditions, traffic and even weather being used to re-route and plan deliveries on-the-go.

But it’s not just more efficient transport and delivery where connected vehicles can provide an advantage. Sensors which can pre-empt breakdowns and communicate maintenance needs to a central database mean repairs can be scheduled ahead of time. This also adds a benefit of lead time to allow an adequate vehicle be sourced and deployed in replacement without any loss in efficiency or revenue for the customer.

These innovations and technological advances add to visibility and efficiency in the supply network, but they also make it even safer. 

With safety always our number one operational priority at Wincanton, this is never more prevalent than when discussing our fleet of vehicles. We already have a number of advanced safety features and technology deployed in our network such as Mercedes ABA 4 braking systems, lane departure alerts and adaptive cruise control. The number of safety features and the technology on our vehicles will only grow and, when coupled with our advanced driver training, will help make our roads even safer.

You can read chapter 9, ‘Optimising Outside (Internet of Trucks)’ here: http://bit.ly/2nxjGNJ