SageQuest launches web video to help customers
A leading global provider of fleet management solutions has launched a new video on its website which will help large-sized fleet operators to evaluate GPS Tracking Solution providers.
SageQuest, which is a brand name within Fleetmatics, and has its European headquarters in Reading, UK, global HQ in Dublin and offices in North America, said operators often struggle to differentiate between the many different systems that are available.
They often gravitate toward the lowest priced solution, which is usually designed to cater to the business of smaller customers.
SageQuest’s latest video on GPS vehicle tracking explains how these small-business solutions fall short in addressing an enterprise fleet’s needs and how a company’s corporate structure and requirements for customised views and back-office integration need to be considered.
In reality, only certain providers and solutions are capable of delivering a quality service that meets the needs and expectations of a large-scale fleet business.
There are many differences between managing a larger-scale fleet operation of 50 vehicles or more compared with a small-scale mobile workforce, and choosing the wrong GPS tracking solution could see a company’s production slowing down instead of improving.
While the lower cost of a small-business solution may be tempting, this smaller-scale solution may undermine any long-term return on Investment that could have been achieved through employing a GPS Tracking Solution that is better suited for an enterprise fleet.
SageQuest claims its Mobile Control solution is perfect for large fleet operators which require a system that has been designed to cope with the demands of a large-scale mobile workforce.
The Mobile Control solution makes workforce management and back-office systems integration processes easy to monitor, and is backed-up by SageQuest’s dedicated and constant customer service care and support.
Fleetmatics/SageQuest, which delivers its solutions as software-as-a-service (SaaS), has more than 19,000 customers tracking more than 356,000 vehicles worldwide.
Its solutions enable businesses to meet the challenges associated with managing local fleets, and improve the productivity of their mobile workforces, by extracting actionable business intelligence from real-time and historical vehicle and driver behavioural data.
The short video which outlines SageQuest’s Mobile Control solution can be viewed online at the SageQuest homepage:www.sage-quest.co.uk.
Driver shortages: Why the industry needs to be worried
While driver shortages are a global problem, with a recent survey from the International Road Transport Union suggesting that driver shortages are expected to increase by 25% year-on-year across its 23 member countries, the issue has very much made itself felt for UK businesses in recent weeks.
A perfect storm of factors, which many within the industry have been wary of, and warning about, for months, have led to a situation wherein businesses are suddenly facing significant difficulties around transporting goods to shelves on time, as well as inflated operating costs for doing so.
What’s more, the public may also see price rises as a result due to demand outmatching supply for certain product lines, which in turn brings with it the risk of customer dissatisfaction and a hit to brand and stakeholder reputation. Given that this price inflation has been speculated to hit in October, when the extended grace period on Brexit customs checks comes to an end, the worst may be yet to come.
"Steps must be taken to make a career in the industry a more attractive proposition for younger drivers, which will require a joint effort from government, industry bodies, and the sector as a whole"
That said, we have already been hearing reports of service interruption due to lack of driver availability, meaning that volumes aren’t being transported, or delivered, to required schedules and lead times. A real-world example of this occurred on the weekend of 4-6 June with convenience retailer Nisa, with deliveries to Nisa outlets across the UK affected by driver shortages to its logistics provider DHL.
But where has this skills shortage stemmed from?
Supply is the primary issue. Specifically, the number of available EU drivers has decreased by up to 15,000 drivers due to Brexit alone, and this has been further exacerbated by drivers returning to their home country during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as changes to foreign exchange rates making UK a less desirable place to live and work. This, alongside the recent need to manage IR35 tax changes, has also led to significant inflation in driver and transport costs.
COVID-19 complications have also meant that there have been no HGV driver tests over the past year, meaning the expected 6,000-7,000 new drivers over the past year have not appeared. With the return of the hospitality sector we understand that this is a significant challenge with, for instance, order delivery lead times being extended.
It is little surprise, therefore, that the Road Haulage Association (RHA) earlier this month became the latest in a long line of industry spokespeople to write to the government about the driver shortage for trucks. The letter echoed the view held by much of the industry, that the cause of this issue is both multi-faceted and, at least in some aspects, long-standing.
So, many in the industry are in agreement as to the driving factors behind this crisis. But what can be done?
Simply enough, outside of businesses completely reorganising their supply chain network, external support is needed. In the short-term, the government should consider providing the industry with financial aid, and this can also be supported more widely with legislative change.
Specifically, immigration policy could be updated to place drivers on the shortage occupations list, which would go some way towards easing the burden created by foreign drivers returning to their home countries. Looking elsewhere, government should also look for ways to increase the availability of HGV driver tests after the blockage created by the coronavirus lockdowns.
Looking more long-term, steps must be taken to make a career in the industry a more attractive proposition for younger drivers, which will require a joint effort from government, industry bodies, and the sector as a whole. As it stands, multiple sources suggest that the average age of truck drivers in the UK is 48, with only one in every hundred drivers under the age of 25. We must therefore do more to increase the talent pipeline coming into the industry if we are to offset more significant skills shortages further down the line.
On the back of a turbulent year for the supply chain industry, it has become increasingly clear that the long-foretold shortage of drivers is now having a tangible and, in places, crippling effect on supply chains.
Drivers, and the wider supply chain industry, have rightly been recognised for the seismic role they played in keeping the nation moving and fed over the past year under unprecedented strain. If this level of service is to continue, we must now see Government answer calls to provide the support the sector needs, and work hand-in-hand with the industry to find a solution. If we do not see concrete action to this effect soon, we are likely to be in for a turbulent few months.
Rob Wright is executive director at SCALA, a leading provider of management services for the supply chain and logistics sector