Keep on trucking in 2023, SA
High inflation, high fuel prices, slow economic growth and mounting congestion on South Africa’s roads is placing significant pressure on the transport and logistics sector. This is the reality in which Justin Manson, Sales Director of Webfleet – Bridgestone’s mobility solutions company – advises businesses apply technology-driven solutions to substantially bring down vehicle and fleet operating costs, increasing driver safety and ensuring business sustainability over the long-term.
In 2023, the resilience of the South African economy will be truly tested, as businesses find ways to navigate the myriad potholes along the road to sustained economic recovery.
The frequent reports of in road incidents that involve heavy vehicles only puts more pressure on transport and logistics operators, who already have a lot to deal with in an economy expected to grow by less than 2%, as well as the logistical challenge of heavy traffic on the roads. Companies will have to do all they can to save where they can, especially considering higher transport costs driven by rising energy prices – without neglecting vehicle maintenance and safe driver behaviour.
As a nation that relies heavily on the trucking sector as the lifeline that keeps our economy going from the supply of food on shelves to ensuring provisions of healthcare tools and supplies in hospitals, these savings will have to be beneficial even for the pocket of the end consumer.
South Africa does have some relief on the horizon, with the recently announced scrapping of e-tolls and the president promising to put a pause on the already approved 18.65% energy tariff increase for the 2023/24 financial year.
Easing the burden on South African roads will require innovative solutions, while government works to steadily make much-needed upgrades on the country’s rail infrastructure and improvements in enforcing road laws. Transporters can remain competitive while operating safely, bringing much needed supplies, like food and medicine, across thousands of kilometres within the bounds of the law.
Webfleet’s recently released inaugural Road Safety Report revealed insights that may inform how businesses can make better decisions when making use of fleet services. One of the main ways to mitigate the impact of other motorists, especially around peak times, is to relook their scheduling and route planning. In so doing, with the aid of artificial intelligence (AI), they can reduce the risk to public safety, while also making for a smoother journey – saving on both time and fuel.
Businesses should use telematics solutions to automate significant events on and off the road, particularly rest breaks for drivers, as well as maintenance scheduling for vehicles. This ensures long-term sustainability of resources (human and equipment), saving a fortune over time.
Combined with continuous driver training, effective real-time management of fleets on the road prevents unwanted incidents and improves predictability of service.
Fleet management technologies that identify safe driving habits can also improve dispatching, routing and visibility, including at-risk drivers, recognising hard braking and speeding, all without complicated installation. In-cab camera technology can identify phone distraction, distracted driving, not wearing a seatbelt, eating and drinking while driving as well as not maintaining a safe following distance, all through the use of progressively evolving AI technology. GPS data regularly updates road and traffic conditions for live route optimisation, with head office able to see where each vehicle is at any given time.
Video-based collision detection protects people and assets, while fuel usage monitoring can save as much as 20% in fuel costs. Furthermore, automated job dispatching makes the lives of drivers much easier and happier.
So, while it may not always be possible to avoid other traffic users, or external factors like fuel prices and the weather, long haul carriers can keep on trucking through any crisis, safely and more profitably, using the fleet management technologies with real-time data available to them.
Webfleet is Bridgestone’s globally trusted fleet management solution. Over 60,000 businesses across the world use it to improve fleet efficiency, support drivers, boost safety, stay complaint and work more sustainably. For more than 20 years it has been empowering businesses with data-driven insights that help them optimise their operations.
Webfleet embraces Bridgestone Mobility Solutions’ mission to move the world towards a sustainable future with data-driven mobility solutions and contributes towards the delivery of The Bridgestone E8 Commitment. This broad, global corporate commitment clearly defines the value Bridgestone is promising to deliver to society, customers and future generations in eight focus areas; Energy, Ecology, Efficiency, Extension, Economy, Emotion, Ease and Empowerment. These provide a compass to guide strategic priorities, decision making and actions throughout every area of the business.