#Logistics#Supply Chain

How supply chain logistics can improve with vehicle tracking

For companies operating a supply chain, making sure their logistics are as up to date as possible is crucial to optimising performance. The process of ...

Thomas Goodall
|Apr 18|magazine12 min read

For companies operating a supply chain, making sure their logistics are as up to date as possible is crucial to optimising performance. 

The process of producing an efficient and productive supply chain is complicated. Managing so many moving parts to ultimately deliver a product or part to a customer can hit issues at any stage. The more information about the individual stages of a supply chain managers can have, the better the service they can deliver.

One of the key logistical problems supply chains face is keeping costs under control. For large companies whose supply chain may involve hundreds of commercial vehicles, the costs from running these vehicles can rise quickly and have a significant impact on the finances of the company. High fuel usage is often a key contributor to increased running costs. By implementing vehicle tracking technology, fleet managers have several ways of better controlling fuel usage across their fleet and supply chain.

Firstly, after installing telematics devices across their commercial fleet, fleet managers have access to a considerable amount of data showing the activity of individual drivers and their fleet in general. Because of this, fleet managers can identify drivers throughout a supply chain who may be using higher than optimal level of fuel. After identifying individual drivers, managers can design specific training to help them improve their driving style to reduce fuel consumption.

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The other way in which vehicle tracking helps improve fuel consumption is through in-cab coaching systems. These systems alert drivers to actions which contribute to high fuel usage such as speeding, harsh acceleration and engine idling. Because drivers are alerted through audio and visual signs to these actions, they can self-correct their behaviour and drive in a more fuel-efficient manner. Research has shown that when drivers were receiving this kind of feedback, they spent significantly less time with their engines idling than a driver who wasn’t receiving any feedback. Across a whole year, for an entire commercial fleet, this can lead to significant savings. These savings can then be invested in other areas of the supply chain, such as improved packaging or production, which can improve the whole chain.

Items going missing or being misplaced can be a significant issue for companies operating a supply chain. One way of mitigating this issue is to track parts using systems such as QR codes, barcode or RFID codes. By combining this with vehicle tracking, managers can have a detailed picture of the exact movements of products. If items fail to arrive at their intended location, the data is available to see precisely which vehicle the items were loaded onto and then where that vehicle went. Through this, products can be located and returned to their intended location.

Another crucial area with any supply chain is making sure drivers are taking the most time and fuel-efficient routes between locations. While most supply chains wouldn’t shut down if any product was delayed, for smaller companies, it can cause issues further down the chain. Vehicle tracking data can show the accurate live position of each vehicle within a chain. If there are any issues with locating a vehicle which may be late for a delivery or collection, this can be done quickly with vehicle tracking. Furthermore, fleet managers can design more time-efficient routes that avoid well-known congestion areas. This is not only beneficial for the supply chain as vehicles can arrive at destinations faster, but in the final stage where products are delivered to customers, this can happen more quickly and increase the number of deliveries which can take place during a day. This can be highly beneficial as a way to improve customer service and satisfaction when dealing with a company.  

Overall, for companies operating a supply chain, installing business vehicle tracking technology can be beneficial in several key areas. By providing a greater understanding of how their fleet is operating as part of the supply chain, fleet managers can improve the operational efficiency and productivity. This can not only lead to financial savings but greater customer satisfaction, both of which are beneficial to a company in the long and short term.

For more information on procurement, supply chain and logistics topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Supply Chain Digital magazine.

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