Digitalisation will rapidly transform the trucking industry in the near future, as it will force the industry to embrace this concept, or risk being unable to compete.
This message was emphasised at this year’s fourth annual TruckX and FleetX conference and expo, which took place at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, in Midrand, from July 12 to 13.
Vodacom South Africa executive head Tony Smallwood addressed the TruckX expo and conference on the first day. He emphasised that digitalisation was unavoidable, and would occur across all industries soon.
“Competitiveness will have a direct correlation [with] digitalisation, and traditional industries will need to transform to compete in 2020. Data, platforms and innovation will disrupt the norm. Competitors need to be in a position to either be the change agents, or be ready to adapt.”
The transformation to digitalisation is already being felt in next-generation supply chains, according to materials handling, logistics and supply chain association MHI’s annual industry report of 2017, which defines the next-generation supply chain as “digital, on-demand and Always-On.” It also cites that 80% of executives believe the digital supply chain will be the predominant model within five years, with 16% claiming that the digital supply chain has already begun.
Top challenges the report cites include hiring and retaining a skilled workforce, customer demand for faster response times, and customer demand for lower delivered costs. The report also states that, over the next two years, 53% of companies will be spending over $1-million on emerging technologies.
Software consultant company VSc Solutions CEO Morne van Rensburg also spoke on the first day of the expo and conference on how trucks play a role in digitalisation. He explained that trucks had already become a “mobile node” in the Internet of Things (IoT), or the interconnection through the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects.
This means that trucking companies and drivers can benefit from IoT logistics data that is available to them through mobile devices in the vehicle. Subsequently, drivers are assisted in performing their duties faster and more safely.
“The cost of hardware and connectivity has dropped significantly in recent years, while cloud processing has become affordable and accessible to all business sizes. This is driving IoT and opening up the possibility of connecting just about anything,” Van Rensburg added.
Vehicle security installer Ctrack MD Hein Jordt, who also spoke at the expo, agreed that rapid technological developments were changing the way in which fleet owners conducted business.
He added that IoT allowed telematics to perform at a new level. “Among this is automating business processes for improved quality and lower costs, applying analytics to the entire logistics value chain, and optimising how systems, assets and people integrate to work together.”In conclusion,
Jordt encouraged fleet owners to embrace telematics technological advancements to be prepared for when the “wave of digitalisation fully hits”.
The two-day event was hosted by Ctrack and its parent company, Inseego, as well as financial services group Standard Bank. It is seen as the premier platform for the transport, logistics, materials handling and fleet industries to discuss trends in the commercial fleet industry. Topics discussed included the benefits of clean fuel to the transport industry and the importance of truck safety compliance.