Global Supply Chain Issues and Fleet Management
Knowing the technology assistance is out there is one thing, but it does little good if that technology is not deliverable to the fleet. That is exactly what is happening now. Global supply chain issues are affecting every aspect of our lives these days, especially related to the availability of computer chips that are the heart and soul of modern technology. This impact is especially felt in new car availability as most new cars have a large number of computer chips installed. Important to fleet safety programs is the reality that virtually all installed-device solutions are also dependent on the availability of computer chips. Many experts predict that this global supply chain crisis will be with us for several years into the future. While existing supply chain management issues are clear, the problem is getting worse with the impact of war in the Ukraine and restrictions placed on Russian exports. This means many fleets will simply not be able to have access to required technology for some time, creating more fleet supply chain issues.
In this article, Mike Antich states that “the microchip shortage will not be fully resolved any time soon with the issue remaining volatile and dynamic. This situation is predicted to exist through 2022 and into 2023.”
The following data from Accenture emphasizes the clear impact that current supply chain effects are having on the ability to deliver technology products dependent on computer chip availability.
3 Keys to Enhancing Fleet Safety In a Global Supply Chain Crisis
Fleet safety technology has delivered significant improvement in driving behavior with the result of lowering accident rates, improving insurance positioning, and lessening potential legal exposure. In-vehicle technology such as OBD/ fleet telematics solutions and, to an even greater extent, fleet dash cams, have both provided insight into driving behaviors that provide the foundation for the correction of risky driving behaviors. In some cases, real time audio feedback can be provided to drivers while they are exhibiting more risk behaviors such as speeding, harsh braking, or driving with an unsafe following distance. Video solutions can provide great insight into driver distraction, often identifying the actual distraction source, as well as the driving situation at the time of the distraction. All of these solutions, whether providing real-time feedback to the driver or providing the basis of a focused driver coaching program, are reliant on in-vehicle technology.
1) Use available technology that is not dependent on supply chain improvements
While telematics and dash cams are critical components of a fleet safety strategy, they are hardware based solutions which can be difficult to procure in today’s global supply chain environment. Safety technology requires an enabling device in the driven vehicle to deliver the strong value it is capable of delivering. Fleet drivers are already in possession of a very significant piece of technology that has the ability to improve driving safety. Cell phones have the ability to provide location, change of momentum information, and phone access information, enabling significant safety enhancements around driving behavior and restriction of cell phone use, while not requiring additional hardware. Global supply chain issuess and availability of product will have no impact on the safety value that can be delivered through use of the cell phone.
2) Use available technology that addresses key safety issues such as phone distraction and speeding
Driver distraction, which is the largest contributor to the frequency of vehicle crashes, and speeding, which is the strongest contributor to crash severity, can both be addressed with technology requiring no additional hardware in the vehicle beyond the driver’s cell phone. If a fleet can successfully improve risk associated with speeding and distraction, it would go a long way towards improving overall safety and lessening crashes. The key at-fault crash that can be minimized is the rear-end collision with the vehicle in front of the driver. If elements of driver distraction can be minimized in combination with using technology to determine and correct driving risk associated with excessive speeding, the risk of the at-fault collision is greatly lessened.
3) Use available technology that is proactive and results in less driver coaching
Of the various approaches to commercial driver safety, technology can be especially attractive if it provides real-time prevention and feedback to the drivers. Real-time prevention and feedback will lessen the need to provide feedback to the driver in a more formal/coaching environment, which can be extremely time-consuming and burdensome for the company. If the driver can be corrected or notified while he or she is in the act of an unsafe behavior like misuse of the cell phone or excessive speeding, then the employer has the chance to prevent that behavior before an accident happens. Technology that can be delivered with cell phones is well proven to be effective at providing real-time prevention and correction during the drive.
Summary of Supply Chain Crisis Solutions for Fleets
Every year, the smartphone is dramatically improving in all phases, whether it be battery life, sensors, cameras, and operating system. The smartphone has the ability to measure and report many driving activities and even stop certain activities from happening before they become a coachable event. Given the global supply chain crisis, a company looking to improve their driver safety in the near future should explore mobile app-based solutions for driver safety and distracted driving prevention.
Utilizing the potential of the cell phone is a viable method of identifying and correcting driving behavior, directly addressing two of the key issues that lead to vehicle accidents. With increasing vehicle accident rates, increasing pressure on insuring fleet vehicles, and increasingly distracted drivers, often related to cell phone usage, fleets must continue to be vigilant in efforts to improve driving safety and mitigate the risk of negative legal outcomes associated with fleet accidents. .
Considering the potential challenges of in-vehicle technology availability, the driver’s cell phone continues to be capable of providing insight, not only into vehicle location information but also how the driver is driving. Specifically, a good approach to vehicle safety is to mitigate the risk of speeding and cell phone distraction simply by using the existing cell phone. Real-time feedback can be provided to the driver, providing the basis for improved driver behavior without a heavy reliance on coaching.
The good news is that the cell phone is not something that an individual or company will have to wait for because of supply chain issues. It is already with us all the time. And it can be enabled to provide a significant safety solution. Global supply chain issues do not stop us from using the cell phone as an enabling device to improve driver behavior.