The transport industry has always benefited from being as prepared as possible, but it is still susceptible to economic downturns, a once in a century pandemic, and other environmental concerns. In addition to the Omicron outbreak, there are equally important concerns for businesses to focus their attention on in 2022. We have created a list of challenges that many transport companies are likely to face this year, and how to overcome them.
Switching to paperless workforce
New Zealand is a big user of paper products and use about 182.4kg per head – that's almost the equivalent of one-third of Lake Taupo. While paper may seem cheap to manage, storing piles of paperwork can hold your businesses back. Office workers can spend up to 40 per cent of their time looking for paper files, while printed forms cost businesses more than $120 billion every year.
For many transport businesses, the idea of going paperless is intimidating. And yet, taking the paperless leap will allow your business to stay ahead of the game. Digital solutions are likely to do the job with efficiency and speed that paper can’t match. With the assistance of solutions such as real-time analytics, the job of drivers and frontline employees, the lifeblood of any businesses, is made a lot simpler. For example, drivers can instantly view the information they need, record their working hours and job details with better accuracy. Digital operations also reduce admin costs, and while they provide the executive level of your organisation the insights and reporting you need to make informed decisions.
Combating driver shortage
The New Zealand trucking industry has been struggling to attract and retain drivers. In 2021, the average age of a truck driver in New Zealand was 54 and more than 20 per cent of drivers were aged over 60. Only 4 per cent of truck drivers were women. Industry players believe women and younger people are the untapped solutions to the labour shortage, especially as delayed border openings and immigration restrictions continue.
As businesses continue to experience growth, fleet managers will continue to feel the pressures of driver shortages. These forces traditionally result in stunted growth and plummeting stock prices. Fleet managers can help increase driver satisfaction by implementing GPS tracking software. With GPS tracking, drivers can effectively communicate with dispatchers with pre-set messages, get from point A to point B with turn-by-turn navigation, and easily conduct their vehicle inspections via driver vehicle inspection reporting. GPS tracking software allows fleet managers to track harsh acceleration, harsh braking, stop sign violations and other key performance metrics arming them with the information needed to address poor driving and provide training.
With GPS tracking, software managers can create a working environment for drivers that will allow them to retain staff. With the right information it’s easy to provide driving incentives, constructive feedback, and appropriate driver training to create a happier, safer and more efficient fleet.
Adjustments to New Zealand’s COVID traffic lights forced businesses in New Zealand to gear up for another challenging year. A recent survey showed that business confidence and demand continued to decrease, finding new and innovative ways to trim operating costs without sacrificing quality is the top priority for businesses, including fleets. Whether a short-term fix or a long-term savings plan is the goal, fleet managers can use a wide range of solutions to increase production at a lower cost. By using fleet analytics, a fleet manager can understand where money is being wasted as data about people, vehicles, and services is monitored and collected.
With fleet management software, fleet managers have a more comprehensive view of the whole of life cost because vehicle details such as maintenance logs, utilisation, movements, and more are aggregated in one place. Multiple factors, such as fuel use and mileage, can be properly tracked and even benchmarked against other fleet vehicles. Risk management is a constant challenge, but a fresh perspective and new strategies can mean the world for a fleet company. Strong management strategies and high-quality data to benchmark and track progress will improve driver behaviour and help reduce accident rates.
The growing need for the fuel of the future
The transport sector accounts for 47 per cent of New Zealand’s carbon dioxide emissions. It's time for New Zealanders and New Zealand business to invest in fossil fuel alternatives. In road transport, hydrogen is considered one of the most promising solutions to decarbonising transport. The main drawback for hydrogen powered vehicles is that there currently isn’t enough refuelling infrastructure around the globe.
The good news is that in January 2022, New Zealand’s first green hydrogen plant began production near Taupō. It is expected to produce 180 tonnes in the first year. A series of fuelling points in Hamilton, Palmerston North, Auckland and Tauranga have also been developed. Green hydrogen doesn’t only cut down on carbon emissions, but it also improves air quality and reduces noise pollution. There is still much to be done to meet our target of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and hydrogen seems like a logical step towards greening the country and getting sustainable fuel into our fleets.