Commentary | Supply Chain Technology

Improving Fleet Safety with On-Board Video

Tags: Trucking, Security, Risk Management, Transportation, Safety, Technology

Adam Kahn is the senior director of product marketing at SmartDrive Systems, 858-412-8350.

Transportation is vital to a supply chain that efficiently manages the flow of goods—physically connecting manufacturers to their customers to provide them access to their favorite products. A break in that link—such as late deliveries, or damaged or stolen goods—can be detrimental to the success of a business, negatively impacting supply chain relationships and, in turn, customer satisfaction and loyalty. As businesses wrestle with managing a complex web of supply chain relationships and operational concerns, transportation safety must remain a key focus.

With an army of even the best drivers, fleets must acknowledge that delivering goods has inherent challenges such as dangerous road conditions, inclement weather, and traffic delays, and careless drivers on the road. Regardless of the potential roadblocks, getting shipments from point A to point B efficiently, on time, and at the lowest possible cost is critical for success. These pressures more often than not trickle down to drivers, and can sometimes lead to unsafe driving, which in turn can negatively impact customer service and overall brand reputation.

Playing It Safe

For private fleets looking to sustain operations, they must maintain a reputable safety record, limiting collisions and keeping CSA scores as low as possible. But with so many technology options available, how do companies determine what will safeguard their business, have the biggest impact on their safety record, and offer a strong return on investment?

Unlike other safety technologies available on the market, video-based safety solutions are uniquely able to offer fleets a true view of what’s happening on the road. Video-based safety programs capture a vehicle’s video and audio driving data, and automatically offload footage for expert review and analysis. With this valuable data and analytics, information is immediately actionable, providing a clear picture each trip so logistics companies can make decisive business decisions based on real intelligence.

At an individual driver level, video provides a fair and consistent review of driver performance, allowing companies to identify good drivers and those in need of improvement via individual coaching. This creates a constructive dialogue between the driver and manager, fosters an open relationship, and can prevent risky driving from happening in the future. A reduction in risky driving results in fewer incidents and delivery disruptions. Video can also be a great tool for tracking performance improvement and rewarding drivers for their commitment to safety.

The absolute truth provided by video helps fleets fully understand what caused damages to their vehicles, why deliveries were late, provides explanations and causes after collisions, and exonerates drivers and carriers from any damages when they are not at fault. Some video-based safety programs can be customized to meet the varying needs of carriers today, helping fleets to hone in on compliance-related risk and their most frequent types of collisions, including those caused by backing, unintended lane changes, roll-overs and close following from passenger vehicles.

Transportation is a critical piece of the supply chain, as suppliers and fleets strive to deliver freight on time, efficiently, and at the lowest possible cost to meet their customers’ demands and expectations. Fleets employing safety technology, particularly video-based solutions, are demonstrating their commitment to safety and are signaling to the supply chain that they are dedicated to high customer service.