Longer, hotter days are here and the transportation industry is starting to feel the added stress that summer inflicts upon fleet equipment. Summer, like winter months, brings unique challenges to fleet operations but technology is turning the tide, helping to keep equipment operable and capacity high.
For years, fleets accepted that summer temps, especially across the southern states, would wreak havoc on tires, engines, and more. Real-time data is the driving force behind the shift, as more fleet technology hits the market to address specific fleet needs. Better yet, much of the technology can be integrated into a platform, such as Geotab, to make managing your fleet that much easier.
5 Fleet Technology Tools to Beat the Heat
Maintenance and operational costs are two of the biggest challenges that fleet owners face, regardless of the time of the year, but these two issues come front and center as the mercury starts to rise. This is in large part due to the fact that hotter temperatures create more wear and tear on vehicles. Couple that with rising fuel prices as more travelers are on the road once the kids are out of school and you have a recipe that can spell disaster even for the most prepared fleets.
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Let’s face it, tires get the worst of the summer heat. As temperatures climb into the triple digits, asphalt can easily be 50 degrees hotter than the air around it. Think about all of the videos of people frying an egg on the asphalt in Phoenix that you have seen.
Although tires are rated for excessive heat, prolonged exposure will inevitably lead to issues like flats or, in worst-case scenarios, a blowout. Not only does this increase the potential for an accident, but changing a tire under extreme heat can be a health risk for drivers as well.
Tire pressure monitoring systems, like those provided by Phillips Connect, can help fleets track which assets need immediate attention. Traveling during the cooler hours of the day can help, but pressure within the tire will start to build simply due to the added heat and friction caused by the road itself. Closely monitoring your tire pressure will help prevent overinflation and reduce the likelihood of a blowout.
Similar to tire pressure sensors, temperature sensors in refrigerated trailers are often under assault during the summer months. More than just asset downtime, a temperature-controlled trailer that is unable to keep frozen items below a certain temperature can cost the carrier the load, and potentially a shipping partner.
Phillips Connect’s EZTrac provides up-to-the-minute data that trigger alerts when a trailer’s interior temperature rises above a specific mark. These alerts can be directed to a variety of different team members so that information can be relayed to the driver and the issue can be resolved before the load is lost.
Maintenance issues are one of the leading causes of accidents during the summer months. A problem that might have otherwise been a minor inconvenience during cooler weather can quickly escalate, putting equipment and driver at risk.
Predictive maintenance tools can help fleets get out in front of issues before they progress. Data provided by the vehicle allows diagnostics to move from reactionary to proactive. This keeps vehicles running more reliably and increases overall fleet safety.
As the days get longer, you can bet that fuel prices will start to increase. It is almost as predictable as the tides. This time of the year, getting the most out of every gallon is a focal point for every fleet but it starts with understanding where fuel is being wasted.
Idling is common if only to keep the cab at a reasonably cool temperature during driver downtime. The challenge is balancing fuel consumption and comfort. Tracking your fuel usage creates transparency so that you are able to minimize costs while also keeping your drivers safe and comfortable.
Route optimization might not be the first thing that comes to mind during the summer months, however, extreme weather conditions are more likely to impact fleet decisions during this time of the year. In addition to helping with excess fuel consumption, over-the-road fleets that are crisscrossing the nation can benefit from planning routes around storm systems, wildfires, and hurricanes.
Creating a Fleet Management System
Summer months offer additional freight opportunities and for those that plan accordingly, it can be a great time to grow your fleet. When looking into fleet management systems, an out-of-the-box solution can be enticing, but it has its pitfalls. Not every fleet operates in the same manner, and trying to force a square peg into a round hole can cause frustration and cost you in the end.
Instead, look to a technology provider, like Geotab. With the ability to fully customize your solution based on your fleet’s unique needs, you will be one step ahead of the competition. The Argos Connected Solutions team is an authorized Geotab reseller that partners with other technology providers to make the customization process simple and straightforward. Connect with our team to learn more about how your fleet management process can be improved.