Perfecting the last mile maintenance plan: A webinar

It’s a safe bet that you have purchased a product online. You have probably also experienced the convenience of overnight delivery, or at least the ability to track your order, find out when it shipped and when you can expect delivery. Now, multiply your experience by the millions of people doing the same thing every day, and you begin to understand why e-commerce is arguably the biggest business disruptor of our time.

 

Much of the analysis of e-commerce has focused on its disruptive impact on traditional brick-and-mortar retailing, and by extension the whole commercial real estate sector. Less attention has been paid to an industry that has been similarly disrupted, if not more so: freight transportation. For fleet operators, e-commerce presents both opportunities and challenges that require them to rethink their operating models.

 

Earlier this year, Chevron and Delo® sponsored a webinar hosted by Fleet Owner magazine to explore the impact of e-commerce on the transportation business model, in particular from a fleet maintenance perspective. Sandeep Kar, Chief Strategy Officer for Fleet Complete, discussed the technologies driving the digital transformation of commercial vehicle operations, while Mike Spence, SVP for Fleet Services at Fleet Advantage, answered questions on the maintenance implications of this phenomenon.

 

The dramatic rise of direct-to-customer shipping means that fleet managers need to pay more attention to vehicles operating in the crucial “last mile” to the customer’s door. The demand for vehicles is shifting from long-haul, high-mileage routes over highways to urban streets, where they encounter more stop-and-go traffic, more braking and turning, higher fuel consumption per mile, and more idling. Fleet maintenance shops have to increase their emphasis on preventive maintenance to ensure that their vehicles are prepared to meet these demands. E-retailers have conditioned their customers to expect fast, on-time delivery, frequently next-day and even same-day in some cases. That means they will direct their delivery business to carriers they can count on to fulfill those promises.

 

Many new technologies come into play that are driving the deep integration of online retailing and transportation. Monitoring the movement of goods has never been more critical. Increasing smart-truck connectivity makes it easier for retailers to track their shipments and relay that information to their customers. It also enables fleet managers to monitor vehicle health remotely and to collect data that enables them to deploy trucks more intelligently and efficiently.

 

With the pressure to maximize vehicle uptime, productivity and reliability, lubrication is a key consideration. Fleet operators need engine oils that can perform under the harsh demands of last-mile driving, deliver fuel efficiency benefits, and extend intervals between changes to minimized downtime. Chevron is actively working with fleet operators to help address the challenges of this changing business environment.

 

E-commerce has been a big boon to the transportation industry, but it brings a host of new challenges as well. The market will favor operators that can adapt to changing demands and deliver consistently and reliably. How is e-commerce affecting your business? We’d like to hear from you on this topic. Meanwhile, check out our recorded webinar for a glimpse into a digital future that, in many ways, has already arrived.

James Booth
About the Author: James Booth graduated from the University of Southampton (UK) with an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D. in Tribology. James began his career with Chevron 10 years ago in Chevron Oronite Technology, The Netherlands, and later moved to Richmond (Ca, USA), as a formulator within Automotive Engine Oil (AEO) Product Development team. He previously held the position of Americas region AEO Product Qualification Team Leader, and vice-Chair of the American Chemistry Council Product Approval Protocol Task Group. James is curently the Commercial Sector Manager supporting Chevron’s Delo brand and other related lubricants brands.