The logistics industry has been facing unrelenting pressures from surging demand, tight capacity, supply chain disruptions and inflation, and shippers are turning to logistics providers to help them navigate the turbulent operating environment. At the same time, logistics providers are harnessing powerful technologies to meet rising expectations for resilience.

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Winter weather and the harsh driving conditions that come with it can be hard on trucks and difficult for drivers, but proper maintenance and the latest safety technology can help keep equipment and those on the road safe.

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Live diagnostic reporting systems have a number of benefits for carriers, including minimizing delays associated with breakdowns and reducing the risk of Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) violations, but unless the systems are managed properly, carriers may be overwhelmed with fault codes that leave them with more questions than answers.

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Fleets are using technology to improve truck driver safety and shape driver habits. Onboard safety technology improves safety and can increase efficiency, reduce liability and cut costs – but fleets need to gain driver acceptance of any new solutions.

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Penske Truck Leasing uses technology to cut failure rates and identify maintenance concerns early, which reduces overall maintenance costs while also improving customer uptime.

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Innovation within the warehouse can increase productivity and boost customer service while also reducing costs and streamlining operations.

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Business logistics costs increased slightly in 2019, which felt like a return to normal after 2018’s fast GDP growth and capacity shortages. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, which crashed into the global and U.S. economy and disrupted the supply chain. Logistics providers responded, serving as a valuable asset to shippers, and they are focused on resilience and agility as they move forward.

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Diesel technicians are at the heart of a strong maintenance program, and technicians remain in demand. The Department of Labor has reported that the employment of diesel service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow by 5% from 2018 to 2028. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has also reported that 67,000 technicians will be needed to replace retired workers, and 75,000 new techs must be added to meet demand by 2022.

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Automated and autonomous vehicles will play a significant role in the future of the transportation industry, and manufacturers and technology providers are developing new technology suited for the vehicles of tomorrow. According to the 2020 Annual Third-Party Logistics Study, the term autonomous has taken on a broad meaning within the transportation industry and can be used to describe a range of technologies, from the varying levels of automation that are already happening within the trucking industry to self-driving vehicles.

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The use of safety technology in the trucking industry is on the rise and Penske continues to invest in onboard video technology to improve driver coaching, reduce liability and exonerate drivers. Penske Logistics is among fleets that have installed both forward- and driver-facing cameras, and the company now has 3,000 cameras in use. What’s more, it has seen significant safety improvements since implementing the technology in 2018.

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Three Ways 3PLs Add Value

Increasing consumer expectations, market uncertainty, and the drive to increase efficiency and control costs have enhanced the value logistics service providers offer to shippers. The supply chain and logistics sectors have relied significantly on third-party providers to create and deliver value to end-user customers and consumers, the 24th Annual Third-Party Logistics Study reported.

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The transportation industry is among those most at risk for a cyberattack, with cybersecurity data from the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index showing that transportation moved from the No. 10 to the No. 2 most-attacked industry in 2018.

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The transportation industry and fleets have been faced with insurance premium increases, but underwriters are taking note of safety technology, such as collision mitigation systems and devices that measure and monitor driver performance.

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Fleets that prioritize safety through their management practices and use of advanced technologies can greatly improve their performance outcomes, according to a study from the National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence.

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Thorough pre- and post-trip inspections help drivers and carriers meet federal safety standards and improve safety — and the results of roadside inspections can hurt or help carriers' safety scores depending on what law enforcement finds.

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Truck manufacturers are rolling out new technology that enables fleets to update truck software and programming parameters "over the air," which can minimize downtime. The possibilities continue to make headlines, but widespread, real-world use of the technology is limited.

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Truck manufacturers are continuing to invest in autonomous technology, and states are enacting legislation to allow the testing or use of the technology. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have said the agencies are seeking to remove unnecessary regulatory burdens to the safe introduction of automated driving systems vehicles.

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The rise of digital technologies is changing the way businesses operate, and advances in everything from artificial intelligence to blockchain has the potential to redefine companies while creating new opportunities. These advances are changing not only what is expected of businesses, but also what is expected of the leaders within the organizations.

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Penske Truck Leasing is committed to providing the right preventive maintenance (PM) services at the right time to the right vehicle and has embraced technology to improve upon the traditional scheduled maintenance checklist. Penske Truck Leasing offers Dynamic PM®, a data-driven preventive maintenance technology that will enhance compliance, quality and uptime.

"We have gone from a paper document to a voice-directed maintenance technology and software system that provides specific direction based on the vehicle’s attributes, geographic location, age and domicile," said Mike Hasinec, vice president of maintenance support for Penske Truck Leasing. "We have 1,200 to 1,500 tasks identified that get populated throughout the vehicle's life."

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