Ghost Fleets – not knowing the vehicle health once the vehicle is on the road!
Like many families mine is preparing to celebrate All Hallows Eve, (Halloween) and preparations have begun early from buying pumpkins to decorating the house. This year I have noticed a definite theme; ghosts!
Ghosts are certainly a fascinating topic as they are apparitions which only appear when they want to signify their presence or deliver a message. I am also reliably informed by the younger members of the household that the modern meaning of ‘ghosting’ is to end a relationship by simply losing touch and disappearing!
This got me thinking about trucks leaving their premises. Despite all the pre checks on tyres, wheel rims and load, effectively the vehicle potentially becomes a ‘ghost truck’. As a fleet manager I have effectively lost touch with that vehicle, and I am no longer able to gain an insight into its performance. That hinders my ability to ensure a holistic approach to efficiencies and safety. It may have a tracking unit, but that only provides a location not the knowledge of performance. The truck has effectively become part of a ‘ghost fleet’.
It gets worse when you consider that trailers are completely at the heart of ghosting. Trailers are the ‘ghost fleet’ equivalent of the person that despite being warned, explores the haunted house at midnight because they heard a noise; alone! That kind of behaviour is unpredictable, and you know it’s not going to end well and usually results at you yelling at the TV screen, from behind the sofa.
When uncoupled, trailers are even more unpredictable. Normally left for a period of time in all sorts of locations and usually alone. It’s easy to lose track of their position and have no knowledge of tyre pressures before pick up. That lack of insight can mean a loss of productivity from the trailer at the worst possible time.
When on the move despite the fact that we know the trailer is out there we are still blind as to the performance of the running parts and behaviour of the load. Sometimes that doesn’t end well when failing to deliver the load on time.
Luckily for fleets, our technology is evolving to ensure that the ‘ghost fleets’ become a thing of the past. Connectivity will allow the fleet manager to have data insight and pro-actively understand the condition of their fleet when stationary, uncoupled or on the move. Which means you can put away the pitchfork as you don’t have to locate your trailer at the haunted castle and enjoy a good night’s sleep knowing that your fleet is no longer ghosting you!
Anyway, there is no such things as ghosts, is there? Happy Halloween to you all.