A panel of industry chief information officers discusses how they view technology and the position it holds in their companies.
Whether its analytics, gamification, or strategies; technology is playing a major role in the trucking industry. Earlier this month, at the ALK Transportation Technology Summit in Princeton, NJ, CIOs from three NationaLease member companies spoke to that topic. John Pappe, Vice President of Technology at Roehl Transport; John Reed, CIO at Aim NationaLease; and, Tom Benusa, CIO of Transport America, part of TFI Holdings, were part of a panel discussing what CIOs in the trucking industry want from technology.
Benusa’s company is venturing into the world of predictive analytics; taking the huge amounts of data they’ve accumulated and working with a third party to “make the best use of that data.” Plus, in response to an increasingly mobile, interconnected world and workforce, Transport America, according to Benusa, is launching a mobile app to keep drivers connected.
Reed commented that although CIOs may appreciate the very nature of the new technologies, what CEOs are looking for hasn’t really changed: they’re still looking for efficiency and a way to keep drivers in trucks. In addition, the company’s approach to gamification has led to a mobile app that enables drivers for the company to compare their performance.
Pappe’s company really is looking to technology as the real wave of the future. So much so that when it comes to its operations, the company is looking at “becoming a technology company that does transportation,” says Pappe.
The panel discussion also highlighted the changing demographic of the driver. Younger drivers are part of a mobile world; that’s why development of mobile apps for both technicians and drivers is so important. It is, said Benusa, “a challenge to keep it [mobile app] beefy enough to keep drivers happy. Younger drivers come up with a screen in their hand and they ask, ‘why can’t we do that on our phone.’”
Today’s drivers don’t just want a nice truck; they want wireless internet, video, and satellite TV. Companies that can offer that stand a better chance of attracting younger drivers than those that do not. And, as impending driver shortages are one of the industry’s greatest concerns, getting a leg up in this area could be quite helpful to a company’s recruiting efforts.