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2/29/2016 4:00:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Opinion: Technology Helps Truckers Handle Challenges

This Opinion piece appears in the Feb. 29 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

By Michael Ham

General Manager and Vice President

Omnitracs Canada

In the world of transportation, change is something we deal with every day. It becomes a challenge to manage customer demands, the regulatory landscape, positive driver experiences and big data while promoting an organizational culture that is ready to accommodate the changes happening in front of us.

To stay ahead of the game, companies need to be proactive in their preparation efforts. That includes identifying the opportunities Software as a Service, or SaaS, and mobile computing offer in the transportation environment and focusing on complex and significant value-adding applications such as electronic logging devices, or ELDs, and even transportation management systems, or TMS.

Data driven in these powerful applications are helping our industry make money and save money. It’s a win-win. Taking the time to understand the information, making sound decisions and driving results is more profitable than managing infrastructure.

There are fundamental advantages in having powerful applications developed in the SaaS model, such as ease of deployment, cost of service and the focus on the business at hand. The alternative is less enticing, placing too much of an emphasis on infrastructure and cost to self-deploy. When you compare this with internal development, there are many benefits versus legacy in-house development. Capital investment with servers, front-end security, capital management, maintaining staff and documentation for implementation must be managed alongside cost. They also require tools to monitor performance.

Looking at the regulatory environment that monitors our industry, all these factors become critically important when there is a mobile application involved such as an ELD, hours-of-service app or driver vehicle inspection reports. With all the regulatory changes in the industry over the past three years, and considering the changes to come, easy-to-deploy platforms such as SaaS and mobile will be significantly less taxing on a carrier’s scarce IT resources.

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