Sramana Mitra: Can we do some use cases and illustrate specifically how this all plays out?
Steve Bryan: Apart from the legal and regulatory aspects, we also specialize in fuel management. Consider this: the industry covers 400 billion miles a year, which is equivalent to over 4,000 trips to the sun. Anything that they can do to wring out the slightest efficiency in fuel economy translates into staggeringly large numbers for them. They are always interested in monitoring the on-going fuel burn rate and how much they are paying for new fuel. If you can drive one mile further and save one-tenth of a gallon filling these large trucks and do that over a period of time, it adds up to millions of dollars. Data on fuel prices and fuel consumption rates around the country adds huge value to the motor carrier.
Maintenance is another area where the savings are enormous. Trucking companies spend around $3,500 a year doing maintenance on each vehicle. This comes from the engine monitoring system. Like our cars, there are different kinds of diagnostics that can be done real-time. If this data can show anything that might be going wrong with the vehicle, they can steer that truck into a repair shop before they have a major breakdown. It becomes a huge dollar savings proposition for the carriers.
The next and perhaps most vexing problem that the industry faces is driver turnover. There is a tremendous driver shortage in the trucking industry. What ends up happening is that the trucking companies compete for the same limited pool of drivers. The industry suffers from an excess of 100% turnover per year. Truck drivers simply jump from one company to another for a fractional couple of pennies per mile, more comfortable or more modern trucks, better working conditions, shorter hours, or for routes that are closer to home.
We gather and analyze a tremendous amount of data on those factors. The age and performance of the vehicle, the routes that they travel, the length of the route are all factors for driver satisfaction and their likelihood of staying with the company. Driver turnover is hugely expensive.