Why is this delivery man in the picture so happy? Is it because it’s sunny outside and he’s wearing a dashing protective cap? Is it because the parcel he tried to deliver for the third time this week has finally been taken in? Or is it because he lives in exciting and transformative times for the postal industry? Perhaps it’s all three of the above.
Disrupting An Old Industry
The postal, parcel and courier sector has seen some dramatic changes in the last few years. The unstoppable ascent of eCommerce has shifted the focus from mail to parcel delivery. Industry disruptors like Amazon have shaped a new generation of consumers to demand free, nearly instant, flexible delivery and returns. Profit margins are getting ever tighter and the market is competitive as never before.
The Final Mile
Caused by a sharp increase in parcel deliveries since the advent of eCommerce, the number of failed home deliveries is growing. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that it costs postal, parcel and courier companies ca. £780m a year for failed deliveries. In North America, there are roughly over one billion re-delivery attempts that occur annually. And there is no end in sight: 80.6% of eCommerce shoppers still prefer home as a preferred delivery location (see IMRG Valuing Home Delivery Bi-Annual Report 2016 and Dude Where is My Package? The Impact of Missed Deliveries)
Unless there is a radical physical redesign of letter boxes to hold the flat screen TV you ordered on Black Friday, this trend will continue. How can CEPs (=Courier, Express and Parcel companies) reduce failed delivery costs? To find out more, subscribe to our blog here. Part 2 of this series is coming soon.
Being a fleet manager isn’t the easiest job in the world. Truck fleet managers in particular face challenges every day: Managing drivers and keeping them on track, scheduling and maintaining vehicles, an increase in budget scrutiny, being your company’s crisis manager and – the ultimate goal – making your customers happy. Technology can lend a helping hand in facing these challenges. How can CoPilot Truck help?
1) Optimal Routes
With CoPilot Truck, you receive commercial route planning and route optimisation that takes into account the vehicle’s dimensions, weight and load. Plus, see truck-restricted and prohibited roads to find the optimal route for any itinerary. Reduce the risk of costly bridge strikes and collisions and boost your route compliance.
CoPilot Truck provides a comprehensive, cost-effective fleet solution to maximise fleet-wide productivity, lower costs and help fleets maintain true route compliance. Maximise revenue and your bottom line with overall reduced fuel and operating costs
3) In-Cab Navigation
Trouble keeping your drivers on track, happy and safe? Empower your drivers with highly accurate, safe truck-legal navigation. CoPilot Truck offers voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions with spoken street names from origin to destination. Reduce driver distraction in the cab with clear 3D and 2D map views plus Driver Safety Views for at-a-glance instructions. Find out more about CoPilot Truck’s in-cab navigation.
4) Post-trip analysis and integration with back-office tools
An efficient fleet management solution doesn’t start or stop in the truck cabin. Send routes to drivers and measure driver performance through post-trip analysis of the planned versus actual route with ALK’s back office and analysis tools. CoPilot Truck integrates with ALK’s PC*MILER and ALK Maps so say goodbye to running dozens of non-integrated systems. We’ve got you covered.
5) Precise, dynamic ETAs
Make your customers happy and provide on-time deliveries with precise, dynamic ETAs based on real-time road conditions.
To find out more, visit our brand new truck website here or speak with us directly by tapping on the green SPEAK WITH SOMEONE button on our truck website.
As a technology company in a fast-paced industry, innovation must be at the heart of how we provide the best solutions to our customers. However, innovation doesn’t appear out of thin air. It takes brainstorming, good ideas, and even bad ones, to arrive at that innovative solution. What sets regular solutions apart from great innovative solutions are their usefulness to the industry we are serving. In order to grasp just how important innovation is, we decided to put it into practice.
Innovation Lab Day
During the ALK Kickoff, Michael Kornhauser, ALK’s Executive Vice President & General Manager, showed us how innovation was especially important for companies like ALK. We work within the very competitive industry of transportation technology so it’s important that everyone at ALK understands the gravity of being innovative. To get every person from every department involved at ALK, we decided to make innovation part of the kickoff, literally!
We split the company up into 16 Innovation Lab teams and gave them topics that are both relative to our industry needs and our company as a whole. Topics included crowdsourcing, driver safety, mentoring programs at ALK, and autonomous vehicles, to name a few.
Each team was given 90 minutes, a topic definition, and tons of helpful material and got right to work!
The Next Big Thing
After listing countless points, crossing them off, brainstorming on post-it notes, and snacking on some candy, our ALKers submitted some great ideas.
All ideas are now being reviewed by our Innovation Committee, which includes employees nominated from various departments for their passion for innovation. Three teams will be selected to present their ideas but only one will be chosen, and who knows, maybe it will be ALKs “next big thing”!
ALK Company Kickoff Part 1: Full speed ahead in 2018!
Over two event-packed days at the 2018 ALK Company Kickoff, employees took part in knowledge sessions, innovation labs and were motivated by learning first hand about our company’s strategic objectives and goals. Our Executive Vice President and General Manager, Michael Kornhauser, kicked off the event with a look back at a fantastic 2017 and highlighted how each department “raised the bar” in both quality and team accomplishments.
How GIS is Hard at Work Building the Map You Traverse Everyday
Next up we heard from Mark Hornung, Senior Vice President, Data & GIS (Geographic Information System), who spoke about how our North American maps are created, updated and continuously improved. One thing is clear,map quality is one of the backbones to our business. Every day, our GIS team is hard at work ensuring that we have the best possible data available. New roads, commercial vehicle attributes, and POIs are added every second of the day. This helps ensure our users are arriving to their destinations safely and in a timely manner.
How ALK Helps the Postal, Parcel and Courier Market Overcome Final Mile Issues
Jon Suddards, Director of Business Development, gave us valuable insight into the postal, parcel and courier market. Due to the growth of e-Commerce in the last few years, the CEP (Courier, Express, Parcel) industry has grown noticeably. It was predicted that between 2016-2020, the market would grow at a staggering rate of 11%! With 80.6% of consumers marking “home” as their preferred delivery location, this market is one we definitely want to jump into. ALK has already begun to take action and plans on growing our name in the CEP industry in the upcoming months at tradeshows across the globe.
Our First Innovation Lab
Innovation is at the heart of our business and has always played an essential part in ALK’s success. What better way to explore innovation than with our very own innovation labs! Employees were split into teams and challenged to brainstorm a new innovation for the company, based on a topic that was dedicated to their team. Ending the kickoff with cross-team collaboration was a great way to start our year.
Want a glimpse into our innovation conversations? Check out Part 2 of our ALK Company Kickoff coverage!
How was your January? Were you huddled up inside or out and about? January is a time for new resolutions and planning. ALKers around the globe have been busy braving the winter storms to plan ahead and prepare for the new year. We know one thing for sure: 2018 won’t be boring! Here are a couple of highlights from the past month and a look ahead:
So what has been going outside our offices? The ALK business development team introduced our PLAN. DRIVE. ANALYZE campaign and talked through our navigation solutions at BluJay’s SOAR2018 conference in London.
In 2017, ALK hired 50 new employees! Seven more employees were hired in January which is a great start for 2018. We are looking forward to welcoming more to our team in the months ahead. Read more about our opening positions on our careers page.
You’re looking for a chance to meet one of us in person to discuss how ALK can help your business with innovative transportation solutions? Here are some events we will attend in the next couple of weeks:
”Twenty-seven percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is from transportation. Transportation is the second leading source of GHG emissions in the United States, just behind electricity. Between 1990 and 2015, GHG emissions in the transportation sector increased more in absolute terms than any other sector.” Source
More specifically, medium and heavy-duty trucks contribute to 6.21% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US. But since the trucking industry is a vital backbone of the US economy, how can we reduce emissions, whilst continuing to move the industry forward and save costs for trucking companies?
Emissions generated by the trucking industry are not just an environmental concern: fuel efficiency also saves hard-earned dollars. In an industry where profit margins are getting ever smaller, every diesel drop counts.
How Fuel Efficient Trucking Can Help Your Business
In the last few years, regulations regarding emissions in the trucking industry have become stricter. Additionally, diesel prices have been on the rise again in recent months and since fossil fuels are a finite resource, this is an additional long-term concern. Increased fuel efficiency, which reduces emissions, is not just a way to address environmental concerns, but also a way to save dollars. Besides, consumers are increasingly taking into account sustainability when making purchase decisions. Supply chain sustainability certificates such as SmartWay (EPA) can give companies an edge over their competitors.
From Theory To Practice
Enough with the gray theory….how can we put increased fuel efficiency into practice? Big companies as diverse as Walmart and Tesla are looking at ways to make trucking more efficient. Several models of hybrid trucks and fully electric trucks are being tested or are already deployed on the streets. Additionally, the design of a truck can help reduce fuel consumption by using aerodynamic modelling. Another aspect is engine efficiency and using filters to reduce emissions.
However, not everyone can immediately afford to purchase the newest hybrid truck on the market. Fortunately, there are some practical tips in getting more miles out of a full tank. First, removing additional weight from the truck helps reduce overall fuel costs. Second, maintaining a steady speed while driving, using cruise control and minimizing idling time, will help the trucker decrease fuel consumption. And finally, planning efficient routes with dedicated truck-specific GPS navigation will limit out-of-route mileage.
How Can CoPilot Truck Increase Your Fuel Efficiency?
CoPilot Truck allows you to plan trips that are optimized for your vehicle, your load, and the number of stops you need to make. Save money by reducing fuel usage with less time wasted on out-of-route miles. In addition, you can enter up to 100 stops and CoPilot Truck will calculate the most efficient route by organizing the stops into the most logical order.
You’ve seen the videos. A 53 foot trailer hitting a low bridge. You think, “Why was that driver even routed there in the first place?” The likely answer – they were following a generic, non-truck specific navigation system, designed for use by drivers of smaller, lighter passenger vehicles. The result? Costly damages to the truck and any goods being hauled, potential harm to the driver and countless other drivers on the road, and fines for driving on a truck-restricted road.
Bridge strikes are a problem across the country
www.rita.dot.gov Red = major problem. Green = minor problem. Yellow = no response
In the US, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported a staggering number of 4,209 bridge strikes in 2014. In the UK there were 1708 bridge strikes in 2013/2014. According to Network Rail, this is a 9.9% increase compared to the previous year.
Bridge strikes are a safety risk to drivers, pedestrians and train passengers and staff alike. Since critical strikes cause rail and road traffic delays as well as repair costs for vehicles and infrastructure, they are expensive for truck owners, fleets and rail operators. Here are some tips on how to avoid bridge strikes:
Know your vehicle dimensions
If you’re a fleet manager , make sure that your drivers know their vehicle height and width by heart. Please note that the truck’s weight can vary slightly according to what type of load you are hauling. By adhering to routes tailored to the load and trailer specifications, you can avoid fines and low bridges.
Plan a truck-safe route
A truck driver can use CoPilot Truck to plan a route that is safe and compliant on truck-legal roads. First, enter the vehicle dimensions in the app. Second, plan the trip. CoPilot will calculate the best route available for the vehicle. Don’t forget to use a GPS that is built for truck drivers and not for cars and takes into account your truck’s size. When your daily life exists on the road as a truck driver, your decisions are impacted by safety, compliance and cost savings. If you are a fleet manager, you want to make sure the driver and delivery gets from A to B without interference. If you think truck specific navigation isn’t for you – guess again. It pays to have truck specific navigation.
Check traffic signs
Last but not least, make sure you always check for traffic signs and other warnings when you approach a bridge.
Practice guides for truck drivers to avoid bridge strikes
In the last few years, the trucking industry has undergone some serious changes: From the emergence of electric trucks (see Mercedes, Tesla) to the digitalization of the back office and truck cabin. But what about innovations when it comes to safety?
In the US, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported a staggering number of 4,209 bridge strikes in 2014. In the UK, there were 1708 bridge strikes in 2013/2014. According to Network Rail, this is a 9.9% increase compared to the previous year. When it comes to road accidents involving trucks, the numbers aren’t much better. A 2013 study in the UK reported that,
“More than half of fatal accidents on motorways involve HGVs, despite HGVs only making up 10% of the traffic on motorways” (Source)
The FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) statistic shows that,
“There were 11.2 fatal large truck crashes per million people in the United States in 2015, a 6-percent increase from 2010” (Source)
Needless to say, truck safety is a vital issue for truckers, fleets and road users in general. So, what are some of the innovations that can help improve road safety?
I Spy With My Little Eye
One of the biggest safety concerns for truck drivers are blind spots. The most obvious help for a driver’s visibility are the good old mirrors. For increased safety, truck owners should install the full set of mirrors including front projection mirror, side close proximity mirror, wide angle rear view mirror and of course the plain rear view mirror. Additionally, you can use blind spot detection systems. Ultrasonic sensors can detect obstacles in the rear, front corner or side of the vehicle and warn with an alarm. Plus, there are side view and 360 degree cameras that provide the driver with visibility when reversing or performing a difficult turn. Some manufacturers have gone a step further and trialled a rear screen that helps car drivers overtake trucks. Samsung has shown how technology can help all road users:
What are some of the safety systems the big truck manufacturers have been integrating into their vehicles? Thanks to advanced camera, GPS, radar and sensor technology, truckers and fleet managers can take advantage of a variety of systems to help the driver and haulage arrive safely.
Cruise control anticipates the road and vehicle traffic ahead; Lane departure warnings alert the driver if there is an unintended lane change; Vehicle stability systems help keep the truck in balance in case of a sharp turn; Advanced braking warns the driver if there is an obstacle ahead and will brake if the limit is exceeded.
Do You Know Where You’re Going?
We’ve come a long way since paper maps. Since the emergence of PCs in the 90s and mobile devices on the 00s, fleet management and trucking has changed significantly. The humble paper map has been replaced by mobile devices that not only show you a map but give the driver instructions, warnings and optimized routes.
Mobile truck-specific navigation apps have been available for many years now, but some drivers still use GPS navigation that is not suitable for larger vehicles. The danger? Directions from a car GPS will route heavy-duty drivers down narrow roads or bridges that are truck-restricted. The best case is a hefty fine, the worst case an accident with vehicle damage or even injury. So make sure your drivers/you are using navigation and routing suitable for commercial vehicles.
It’s been over a year since the British public voted to exit the European Union. The Brexit negotiations have started and every business up and down the country is discussing the effects and risks. The road transportation sector is no exception.
The Department of Transport reports that from June 2015 to June 2016 UK HGVs lifted a total of 7.8 million tonnes of goods. Of them 3.8 million tonnes were exports and 3.9 million tonnes were imports to or from the UK. Not only are the international freight numbers impressive, the UK road haulage industry employs around 290,000 people. The British road transport sector is a vital part of the economy not only in terms of GDP and employment, but also in providing goods to consumers. So how could Brexit affect the road haulage sector?
Where there’s change, there’s opportunity. Although trade with the EU27 will likely undergo a period of volatility, the current government is fostering ties with markets outside of the EU. New bilateral trade agreements could increase trade with the US, Australia, India and New Zealand.
Additionally, there is a potential that regulations agreed in the past would be re-visited once the UK has exited the EU. This new autonomy could mean that the industry bodies could have more influence in UK legislation than in the past.
If the UK will leave the free market, new tariffs and customs taxes could affect international trade with Europe: “In land transport, 99% of international road freight for the UK is to and from the other EU27 nations. As a result, any new tariffs and concurrent trade slowdown could present significant risks to both sea and land transport operations.” (Source)
Leaving the EU would mean there would be new laws affecting the UK from the outside. What would that mean in practice? For example: Longer procedures on borders causing delays, UK supply chain companies having a disadvantage compared to their EU rivals when it comes to European trade, etc.
The transportation sector does not exist in a vacuum and macroeconomic developments affect it. The Brexit decision has weakened the pound, increased inflation and dampened consumer confidence. The cost of imports has increased, consumers have shut their wallets and companies invest less due to the economic uncertainty. These developments could have a negative knock-on effect on the transport industry. UK trucking companies will be less likely to invest in long-term projects in times of unpredictability. Less trade with EU member states means less jobs for UK supply chain providers, and so on.
The main point of contention when it comes to Brexit and the UK trucking industry, is the potential driver shortage due to stricter immigration policies: “The hardest hit of all the transportation sectors would be trucking, where an acute shortage of UK drivers is being worsened by the prospects of an ageing workforce. Trucking relies heavily on drivers from the EU; truck owners are simply not able to recruit enough British drivers to keep pace with demand. Of the 290,000 drivers of heavy goods vehicles in the UK, approximately 60,000 are from the EU. Any reduction of the sector’s recruitment options will compromise its ability to serve the economy. Any reduction in supply will raise trucking costs for manufacturers.” (Source)
How do you think Brexit will change the UK trucking industry? Do you see any effects already? Let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.