Every fleet manager wants to ensure that their trucks are running as efficiently as possible. However, differences in fuel economy will emerge between two similar trucks driving the same route in the same conditions.
So the variable here is the driver—but is there a way to get drivers to operate more efficiently? Fleet managers have tried using RPM limiters, speed governors, and fuel bonuses.
Unfortunately, these solutions are not only controversial but not that effective. Luckily, one emerging solution is to use a real-time coaching app.
Continue reading below to find out what a real-time coaching app is and how it’s impacting the trucking industry.
What’s a Real-Time Coaching App?
At its core, real-time coaching apps try to give drivers instant feedback on how they’re driving. The goal is to get drivers as fuel-efficient and safe as possible.
When a driver sets off on the road, the coaching app lets them know when to accelerate, coast, and if they’re going too fast. The system can also give feedback on when to shift and disengage cruise control.
These real-time coaching apps use data from fleet management devices that have telematics systems. That means that the coaching apps take aerodynamics, load, road gradient, and wind into consideration.
Real-time coaching apps are often bundled into fleet management devices, such as the ISAAC coach. The ISAAC coach can monitor dozens of inputs from the driver and give real-time feedback.
At the end of each trip, the app will give a score based on how efficient the driver was. That means fleet managers can see if a driver is improving and how each driver stacks up against the others.
Do Real-Time Coaching Apps Work?
It turns out that coaching apps are saving fleets a lot of fuel. While there isn’t much real-world data yet, many fleets see savings of up to 15% on fuel costs.
Even a saving of one mpg adds up over time. That’s nearly $200 in savings a week and can mean up to $10,000 savings at the end of the year.
Not only that, but coaching apps are also making drivers work safer. That’s because efficient driving is also safer driving.
Coaching apps can also take some of the stress of the job. Since the coaching app provides feedback, it lets drivers know what to do and when.
Do Truckers Like Real-Time Coaching Apps?
Some truckers might argue that coaching apps are dystopian systems that watch their every move. Many truckers feel that these apps and new telematics systems are intrusive.
However, it also depends on the fleet’s relationship with its drivers. If a fleet has a good relationship with its drivers, it can be a great way to improve efficiency.
If there’s a culture of mistrust, then these apps can seem like a way to control and punish drivers.
Are Real-Time Coaching Apps the Future of the Trucking Industry?
At the moment, there isn’t a significant impact of coaching apps within the trucking industry. That’s because coaching apps aren’t widely adopted, and we’re not sure if they ever will be.
If the fuel efficiency of fleets using these apps is consistently higher than others, then there will likely be a significant shift. However, only time will tell if real-time coaching apps are the future or just an interesting concept.