Mobile technology can help transportation companies save

Technology continues to play a significant role in business operations. While some fleets rely heavily on route optimization software to help them cut costs, conserve fuel and take the most direct route, there are other innovative solutions that can enhance these benefits.

Mobile technology has allowed many companies to advance, and new research indicates it could be advantageous for transportation companies, as well. Underutilizing new devices, like smartphones and tablets, can hinder a firm's ability to perform well, keep up with competitors and remain in contact with dispatchers and management teams.

Recent research from Intermec revealed transportation and logistics companies could save nearly $460,000 annually by re-engineering processes and implementing mobile gadgets throughout their companies. Many enterprises may not recognize the cost benefits new technology could provide, given the limited number of companies that have employed solutions, according to the study. Intermec found 39 percent of companies had not initiated re-engineering efforts in the last 12 months, and of these companies 72 percent had failed to evaluate current processes for at least two years.

Mobile provides a plethora of solutions
One area in which transportation executives see room for improvement is in regard to mobile, location-based technology. Management teams anticipate they could save more than $282,000 in the next year by deploying these solutions, but 23 percent still lack the technology.

But other solutions will also help companies in the future. Broadband mobile communications are expected to play a significant role, with 60 percent of managers citing this as the anticipated largest driver of ROI. Forty-four percent said the same for integrated vehicle telematics, while 38 percent claimed radio frequency identification would improve ROI.

While technology is slowly playing a bigger role and can help improve returns, it's catching on slowly. The research found 60 percent of transportation and logistics firms still relied on paper systems, rather than digital solutions. Modernized systems, combined with route planning software, can offer significant benefits.

"We can see from this research that deploying technology is not just a cost-saving initiative, it's increasingly essential to maintain new higher levels of service to keep customers happy," said Jeff Sibio, Intermec industry director for transport and logistics. "One additional validation we are receiving is that the end customer is different and many transportation organizations are scrambling to meet the evolving needs of these new decision-makers. Many factors need to be considered, but through a thorough process review, companies can quickly find the solution that will elevate their operations to the next level."