Cloud computing is not a new concept, and the advantages are well-known. While the pandemic may have accelerated adoption and/or exploration of new tech, “Cloud First, Cloud Now” is more than a marketing ploy or tagline. The cloud enables greater innovation, enhanced customer service and is a vital step to keep up with the complex demands of the ever-changing landscape.
So, how can the transportation industry realize the full potential benefits of the cloud?
Optimize with Data
In the transportation industry, data can play a large role in optimizing the supply chain. For instance, a truck and trailer generates data from more than 100 onboard sensors and IoT devices, from forward-facing cameras, telematics devices, engine sensors and more. This data can help provide valuable insight to enhance areas such as traffic and route optimization, driver safety and maintenance scheduling.
This data can also enable leading industry companies to implement tech without infringing on privacy or diminishing their competitive edge. For example, a cloud-based solution like Mastery’s Mastermind™ can be deployed as the TMS platform for multiple truckload carriers. While Mastery can collect data that serves each organization’s individual goals and customer needs, it can make use of common data and benefit the industry as a whole. As a common data source for shipper locations, truck stops, maintenance shops and more, this cloud technology can help improve processes, information exchange and our technological agility.
Outside of process optimization and efficiency gains, data from the cloud can also be used for scheduled and predictive maintenance, eliminating disruptive, unplanned and costly repairs.
In this line of business, the ability to offer on-time and safe delivery consistently is what earns and keeps customers. By capturing and using this available data, companies can receive reminders for preemptive maintenance, improving the driver experience on the road and eliminating previously unforeseen factors that could impact customer shipments.
According to the American Transportation Research Institute’s 2020 “An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking” report, repair costs decreased 16% between 2018 and 2019 when predictive maintenance was deployed. While newer equipment and reduced miles driven partially contribute to that decrease, cloud technology implementation has been an important strategy for fleets to drive costs down and reduce the unplanned elements of equipment maintenance.
Scale Through APIs
To date, transportation companies with legacy applications housed in local brick-and-mortar data centers haven’t been able to rapidly deploy new technology. One of the greatest advantages the cloud provides is a framework that allows for expandability using APIs.
For instance, if a company comes across a third-party solution that can provide better workflows and doesn’t require proprietary components, the company can swiftly update that workflow into their SaaS applications using APIs. A “Cloud First, Cloud Now” strategy allows an organization to improve processes quickly, expediting technology changes, meeting timelines, and reducing the overhead spent on working with outdated systems, improving overall company infrastructure.
How to Start
Moving fully to the cloud isn’t an overnight initiative. It requires technology, buy-in from key stakeholders and a skilled technology team to correctly move the company forward.
As a first step, organizations need to build forward-looking teams that can operate at pace and are confident in the cloud’s ability to transform the business and industry. Commitment is key. Only then can real change take place — both on an organizational level and the transportation industry at large.