By Jeremy Stickling, Director of HR and Safety at Nussbaum Transportation
Ask 10 people what “transportation intelligence” means and you’ll get 10 different answers. For me, it’s the whole data craze that we’re currently experiencing—everything from the technology being added to the truck, to the data and analytics produced. It’s important to remember that your fleet can have the best technology, the most data and detailed analytics, but if you can’t use that data to guide your business decisions, what good is it? Transportation intelligence allows you to get meaning out of the data, leverage it to better understand your business and then use it as a competitive edge to better serve your customers and impact the bottom line.
At Nussbaum, we take a holistic approach. We use data and analytics to make our drivers better, while also improving our fleet. By bringing multiple safety metrics together – along with environmental conditions, fuel consumption, weather, etc. – we’re able to look at driving skills and their impact on other key metrics, such as fuel and operations. It’s this unified view that makes us successful.
Fueling our success is a scorecard that doesn’t just look at results (collisions vs. no collisions, fuel efficiency, etc.), but also looks at specific driving skills. Once we know which drivers need to improve which skills, we provide tailored coaching to help them improve. Like athletes watching game films, our drivers watch the video from their event recorders, and receive scorecards to track their performance week to week. The data allows us to reinforce great outcomes and reward those who continually improve. For some guys, it’s a game. For everyone, it’s one more way to help ensure they’re driving safely.
Transportation intelligence has become so embedded in our day-to-day operation that I don’t even think about it. Which is why I wonder … why isn’t everyone using it? I know it’s hard to take all of this data and make sense of it. That’s why we work with the team at SmartDrive to understand the data and create reports that bring us meaning and actionable insights.
Implementing data, analytics and insight in your fleet means:
- Making the technical investments and getting the necessary resources. We’re a small company but we have a team focused on the data – not a big team but people who are dedicated and focused. You don’t have to be a big fleet to obtain a big impact. The investment has paid off by making our fleet safer and our company more profitable.
- Having the right kind of information. Ensure the data is consistent, trustworthy and easily understood. And, be sure the interface to your coaches and drivers is easy-to-understand and the data is presented in a way that’s coachable. When we coach a driver, 80 percent of the conversation centers on what the information means; the other 20 percent is on coaching. Once the drivers understand the data, the coaching is easy.
- Being committed. You can’t go in halfway. Work with your provider to ensure the data meets your needs and those of everyone in your company.
Transportation intelligence is only the beginning. I’m excited as we move toward more connected trucks and all that it brings to the table. More data means more insight into what drivers are doing and what they can do to improve. It also means more ways we can help each driver be the safest driver on the road.
Jeremy Stickling, director of HR and safety at Nussbaum Transportation, has been with the company for 10 years. During his tenure, he’s most proud of working with the Nussbaum team to lower driver turnover to 30 percent—unheard of within the trucking industry. He’s also proud of the impact transportation intelligence has had on his drivers—from intake to retention to creating a culture of safety. No wonder the company is one of the best fleets to drive for, three years running!