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.
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:
In these days of GPS, navigating public highways is a straightforward process. Load up your itinerary, optimize your route and off you go. But what if your stop off point doesn’t seem to exist? This could be due to private roads.
International airports, oil fields, large scale building projects and military bases will often have an extensive private road network not featured in standard GPS mapping applications. And all of them will have frequent requirements for pickups and deliveries.
While local drivers may know the site location drop off points, it can become a headache when the route is being driven for the first time or by a new driver. CoPilot navigation can help to ease this issue by recording the exact location for future use. CoPilot uses Latitude and Longitude coordinates for precise location recall, so that any driver can find the location at a future point.
Recording the exact location can also prove useful on public roads when a delivery location may not necessarily be at the front of the destination point. A loading bay at the back of a department store for example. Why not improve your drive with saving exact location points?
How to save an exact location in CoPilot:
From the main menu, select ‘Plan Trip’ then ‘Current Location’. Then provide a name for the location so that it can be selected as a destination for future use.
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.
Adhering to ever changing regulations can prove to be a headache for any driver manager or driver. Staying complaint on the road isn’t a goal anymore, it’s a necessity. By incorporating truck-specific navigation into your fleet, ensure that the regulations needed to stay compliant on the road are factored into your route from the beginning.
Help keep your drivers compliant on the road ahead:
Detour function quickly identifies an alternate safe truck-legal route
Posted speed limit display, plus audio and visual alerts, notify a driver when they’ve been speeding
Safely maneuver between lane changes with real road signage and lane assist guidance
Save multiple pre-defined and custom truck routing profiles based on vehicle size and class to ensure safety and compliance to regulations
Safety is one of the top concerns for any fleet – knowing that how safe a driver is on the road impacts far beyond the road itself. Minimizing driver distraction and interaction with technology in the cab is a huge piece of the puzzle. By using a navigation software that is specifically designed for guiding trucks, drivers can stay safe each trip and every mile.
With CoPilot Truck, keep your drivers safe above all else:
Reliable, and accurate industry standard PC*MILER routing
Familiar, driver-friendly designed UI featuring visual and audio guidance
Voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions with spoken street names from origin to destination
Clear, non-distracting 3D and 2D map views and a Driver Safety View for at-a-glance instructions
Motion Lock control to prevent a driver from making changes while the cab is in motion
Advance notice of upcoming lane changes with lane assist guidance
For information on how you can ensure safety for your fleet visit copilottruck.com.