Reefer Monitoring & Control: Preventing Revenue Loss While Staying Compliant – Q and A with Expert Chris Corlee

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Ensuring temperature compliance through multiple points in the supply chain is one of the biggest challenges a refrigerated fleet can face. If not tracked closely, temperature errors, deviations and equipment malfunctions can lead to wasted food and other perishable cargo, as well as food safety issues and cargo claims for the fleet.

Implementing a proper cold chain solution across your fleet will help eliminate many of the challenges of refrigerated shipping. Here to answer some questions on why you should consider a cold chain solution is Chris Corlee, Director of Sales Engineering, TMS Integration Specialist and cold chain expert at ORBCOMM.

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , ,

Bridge Strikes, What Damage do they Cause and How to Avoid Them?

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Did you know… in the UK alone, there are five bridge strikes per day?

At every Transport Manager Conference in the UK in 2019, we heard of the many challenges and opportunities hauliers are facing daily. One thing that we’ve heard crop up again and again – an avoidable issue – is that of UK bridge strikes. Recent figures say there are typically five strikes per day across the UK. Hauliers face losses of millions of pounds per year as a result. There is a lot of scope for improvement in preventing bridge strikes with the right systems and processes. Telematics and clear processes can work together on the prevention of bridge strikes and eliminate the risks associated with bridge strikes.

Image via Network Rail

What is a Bridge Strike?

A bridge strike happens when an HGV or other vehicle collides with a railway bridge or with a bridge over a railway. There are around 2,000 incidents in the UK annually and approximately 180 in Ireland. Sarah Bell, Traffic Commissioner for London and the South East outlined at the recent FTA Transport Manager Conference series that UK bridge strikes are still a major issue for operators. In a four-week period alone in 2019, there were 96 strikes leading to March 5. As Sarah Bell says, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Research says that nearly half of lorry drivers surveyed (43%) admit to not measuring their vehicle before taking to the road. Read more ›

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Turning ELD into a Positive Driver Experience

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Queen Transportation turns to ORBCOMM for a driver-friendly ELD deployment

Queen Transportation wasn’t just looking for an ELD solution – they wanted driver satisfaction. Director of Operations Doug Ostrowoski set out to find a solution that placed Queen Transportation’s drivers first.

“It’s something that was going to be a positive – to be able to show the drivers ‘Yes, we’re going ELD, but you’re also getting some benefits out of it, too.’” says Ostrowoski. “Initially the drivers were against doing anything different, but after about two trips with the system they liked it way better.”

Features such as in-cab notifications about the road ahead have been saving their drivers a significant amount of time, and are not only leading to a happier fleet, but increased efficiency – a clear sign to Queen Transportation that cost savings are on the horizon. Read more ›

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Get Smarter About Smart Grid at DistribuTECH 2020

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Smart grid information

Improving reliability and minimizing service interruptions are two key challenges facing utilities, especially when it comes to energy provisioning in isolated areas. IoT for smart grid delivers 24/7 monitoring of field equipment and infrastructure, alarms, and the remote control of equipment from centralized locations to help optimize operations and improve customer service. Meet the ORBCOMM team at the upcoming DistribuTECH 2020 show in San Antonio as we unveil the latest in IoT technology for energy and water utilities.

This year’s show is shaping up to be one of the biggest yet, with thought leaders from around the world who will be sharing their knowledge and problem-solving skills. Visit ORBCOMM at booth 1760 to learn more.

DistribuTECH International

  • January 28 – 30
  • Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center | Halls 1 – 4
  • ORBCOMM Booth 1760

What Will I hear from ORBCOMM at DistribuTECH?

We know that working with the electrical grid can be unpredictable, especially in isolated areas. Utilities need real-time visibility into the status of field assets and infrastructure to reduce manual processes and quickly address issues. That’s where ORBCOMM’s smart grid solution comes in. Our system delivers precise, real-time data to utilities, so they can minimize manual intervention, leading to faster decision-making and reducing the frequency and duration of interruptions to the service.

Some benefits include:

  • Enabling visibility of operations even in remote areas through satellite communications.
  • Quick and easy installation with no infrastructure required.
  • Fast and accurate identification of system issues when maintenance is needed.
  • Durability in extreme weather and natural disasters.
  • Scalability to extend capabilities into new regions.

Improve the Safety of Personnel on the Road

Poor driving habits can result in an increase in vehicle crashes, putting the lives of workers at risk and exposing utilities to expensive liability. A fleet safety solution helps drivers develop situational awareness, allowing them to identify and correct risky behaviors. ORBCOMM’s comprehensive fleet safety solution delivers in-cab voice coaching, compliance with Hours of Service regulations, driver scores, speeding notifications and more.

Take advantage of numerous benefits, such as:

  • Instant in-cab voice alerts of unsafe driving such as speeding and seatbelt violations.
  • Automatic notifications to the back office when a vehicle has been involved in a crash.
  • Driver scorecards to identify those in need of further training.
  • On-the-road productivity tools for drivers such as customizable electronic checklists.
  • Optional satellite communications to ensure reliability in remote areas.
  • Speed by street functionality accurately identifies speeding violations.

The ORBCOMM team is looking forward to the first show of the year. Book a meeting to find out more about ORBCOMM’s smart grid and fleet safety solutions.

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Posted in 4. Oil & Gas / Utilities, 6. Networks Tagged with: , , , , ,

Working Hours Analysis: What Happens When You Combine EU Working Time Data, Drivers’ Hours Info and Non-Tacho information?

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Tachograph data is vital for the successful running of any EU fleet. Under both EU and country laws, tachographs record driving time, break time, rest periods, speed and distance travelled. But what happens when you need to get a fuller picture of all your data points, to forward plan your drivers’ activities or prepare files for an audit or inspection?

That’s where Working Hours Analysis (WHA) comes in. The WHA workspace combines detailed social infringement analysis, non-tachograph data about drivers and vehicles, attestation letters, minimum wage checks and customised expenses – all from one screen. The benefits for fleets include higher levels of tachograph compliance, reduction of costly fines, easier management of fleets with multinational driver workforces and improved payroll accuracy.

Here, we look at five key tachograph and non-tachograph data points, that, when examined and used, can make a big difference to your fleet’s administrative and operational efficiencies and compliance.

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6 Ways In-cab Devices can Move Beyond Compliance to Boost Fleet Efficiency and Driver Productivity

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Since the introduction of ELDscompliance has been the main impetus for fleets to install in-cab mobile devices.   

However, with scores of basic ELDs introduced to the market over the last two years, fleets are now recognizing the limitations of compliance-only ELD products and the cost of not maximizing productivity and efficiency gains made possible by smarter in-cab solutions such as ORBCOMM’s ELD truck management solution powered by Samsung. 

By connecting drivers with the back office and even to customers, in-cab devices can become a productivity hub for fleets. If internal and third-party software and applications can be combined on one single device, fleets can use the device’s computing power and data connectivity to reduce delivery times, improve customer communications, minimize fuel costs and reduce maintenance wear and tear. 

Here are six reasons to consider upgrading your device to products like ORBCOMM’s ELD solution powered by Samsung tablets: 

1. Closed, Proprietary Platforms Won’t Make the Grade  

Today fleets have a myriad of apps, software and documents that they want to share online with their drivers. Whether these are third-party or in-house, the range of applications can include navigation, parking, weather and DVIR apps, payroll reporting, driver bonuses, weigh station bypass, maintenance shop apps, training documentation … the list goes on. To ensure these can work together, in-cab device software must be open, non-proprietary, scalable, powerful and flexible enough to integrate with other applications. 

2. Better LastMile Delivery 

As e-commerce pressures force shippers to change the way they do business, carriers must find more cost-efficient and traceable ways to deliver products to customers. Barcode scanning and digital signature capture are key technologies to provide real-time proof of delivery. In-cab devices need to be able to provide these to drivers for use in all weathers and conditions.  

3. Move to the Paperless Cab 

The drive from paper to electronic communication is also key. By going paperless, drivers can scan barcodes, capture signatures, take photos of loads and transfer trip reports directly to shippers and receivers. Paperless cabs reduce administrative costs, make billing and invoicing instant and provide other benefits for the fleet. The driving experience is enhanced as the driver becomes more productive. And the happier the driver is, the less likely it is for driver turnover to occur. 

Vince McCullough has been driving trucks for 42 years. He’s both a driver and driver trainer with Chief Express and sees that paperless has a lot of advantages:  

“Every morning I go into the Driver Summary screen on the ORBCOMM ELD. It pulls up the last 10 or 12 days I’ve driven, and if I haven’t signed off on yesterday’s hours yet, the record of those hours will be listed in red. I touch that and it asks me to sign it. I hit another button to sign and the red turns to green. I’ve signed my logs for the day before and I’m good to go. It takes 10 or 15 seconds.” 

4. Keeping Data Secure 

Having so much data out there on the road with drivers comes with challengesData security is the first; phone loss, theft and unsecured WiFi connections can be headaches for IT managers who are responsible for protecting company and customer data. With potential attacks on the device, its software and the data, IT managers need to be able to manage mobile devices out in the field from back in the office. Device management is a necessity so that phones can be locked or wiped remotely.

5. Keeping Devices Updated 

Managing hundreds or thousands of mobile devices in the field can be a headache for fleets. Devices must be stocked, configured with the correct software and apps, managed for inventory and distributed to users. It’s not just the device; the correct mounts and cradles must be shipped also. And once out in the field, 24/7 support is key for drivers as they get used to their new devices. When new software is released, this must be upgraded remotely; managers need to be able to touch the device without it having to be brought back into the office. And when some devices fail, these must be returned, replaced and warrantied.     

6. The Future? One Device in Each Truck  

Realistically, fleets will be able to support one in-cab device in trucks in the futureDrivers cannot be expected to juggle two mobile devices. Instead of wasting time retrieving information from emailssocial media or cell phonesdrivers want to be able to access everything on one device. Drivers don’t want or need another device to complete all their tasks. 

Fleet Fuel Economy

Choose the Right Solution 

To cope with all these challenges, fleets are examining the capabilities that their in-cab devices have for combining driver communications, productivity and efficiency apps on the one device.  

That’s why ORBCOMM’s truck management and ELD solution is now available on Samsung devices, where fleets can build a productivity hub and create driver ecosystems. By locating productivity and efficiency apps together on a Samsung device – internal or third-party – fleets can connect drivers, schedules, assets, back-office and customers, all on one in-cab screen.  

Even better, fleets can buy all the components directly from ORBCOMM for one price. ORBCOMM’s Truck Management and ELD bundle, powered by Samsung, combines everything your fleet requires, including full hardware and software, Samsung mobile device, full data connectivity, MDM (mobile device management), high-quality enclosures and mounts from ProClip, together with device deployment, fulfilment, warranty and customer support. 

Fleets can choose from Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A 8.0 or Galaxy Tab Active2 and get defense-grade security, ruggedized hardware and proof-of-delivery technology. Samsung devices make it easier to track orders, capture signatures or take notes with fast data processing, high-resolution cameras that perform in low light, facial recognition, enhanced touch, glove mode, water-resistant S Pen stylus and long-lasting batteries. 

 To learn more, download a datasheetor contact us at 

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5 Tips to Ensure Smooth Roadside Inspections After the ELD Deadline

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The ELD compliance mandate is now in full effect and the Federal Motor Carrier Association (FMCSA) is reminding motor carriers and drivers that enforcement has begun. 

Fleets without a fully functional ELD will be considered out of compliance with Hours of Service regulations. As per the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), drivers will be asked to complete their delivery and park the vehicle until an ELD is installed 

Here are five tips to help ensure your fleet of drivers has smooth ELD roadside inspections: 

  1. Ensure your driver knows how to identify the device as an ELDAt roadside stop, the first question will likely be, do you have an ELD?  Make sure drivers know the name of the ELD provider and can point to the indicator on your screen that says ELD. It is unlikely inspectors will have the complete list of FMCSA-registered ELDs, so having the information available is a good start. 
  2. Ensure you have logs available for the previous seven daysYour ELD should provide you with the last seven full days of ELD formatted logs as well as the current 24hour period. If the driver has had the ELD for less than 7 days, ensure they have printed AOBRD logs that should be available for inspection. AOBRD logs are expected to be in printable format. 
  3. ELD compliance demoHave all the required documentation. The mandate requires that the user manual and Cab Cards are readily available in either printed or electronic format, as well as seven days’ worth of blank logs, in case of a malfunction.  
  4. Know how to mount and unmount the ELD ScreenThe mandate requires the ELD screen to be accessible to the inspector from outside the vehicle. Make sure drivers know how to remove the ELD screen from its mounting bracket and securely remount it for safe use after inspection. 
  5. Know the file transfer mechanism the ELD supports. The driver may be asked to transfer ELD logs to web eRODS for further inspection with the web eRODS tool. The mandate requires ELDs to be able to transfer files by BluetoothUSB, or telematics transfer option that allows email or web service or both. Drivers need to know what type of file transfer the ELD device supports and how to access it when askedIf sending by email, the ELD is pre-configured to send log files to the appropriate contact as set by the FMCSA, so there is no need to manually input an email address 

For more on ELD, read our Compliance and Transition Made Simple Q and A or book a demo for our future-proofed ELD solution that drivers love.  


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IoT Technology Helping Meet Increasing Demands on Food Transporters

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E-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart are continuing to change customer expectations when it comes to acceptable delivery timelines and transportation requirements. Customers are increasingly going online to buy cosmetics, housewares, health and personal items and more recently, as research shows—groceries, further fueling the decline of brick and mortar retail and creating new pressures for e-tailers looking to attract and retain customers.  

According to a 2019 survey by Coresight Research, the number of US shoppers buying groceries online has jumped in the past year from less than a quarter to well over a third. In the same survey, 39.5% of respondents said they expect to shop online for groceries over the next 12 months into 2020. While a recent report by the Consumer Goods Forum says that online grocery shopping is set to increase by 163% globally by 2023.  

This direction that shoppers are taking is a strong indication that we’ll see more refrigerated vehicles. With greater demand for online groceries, there is a larger focus on temperature-sensitive loads and last-mile deliveriesBut as demand growsso do the challenges for carriers. Temperature fluctuations, inability to comply with food safety regulations, blind spots in the network and chain of custody breakdowns can all lead to problems, rejected loads, shipment delays and consequently, revenue losses.  

Small reefer operators face many of the same challenges as larger operators. Smart IoT solutions help to break down the barriers for operators of all sizes, ensuring they can keep up with the changing habits of shoppers and the challenges that bring.  

Smarter Strategies for Smarter Companies 

Transportation and logistics companies are integrating IoT technology as part of their core strategy to improve fleet and load visibility, maintain adequate temperatures and comply with regulations. IoT also brings advanced features such as Controlled Atmosphere, which can help to lengthen the shelf-life of products travelling long distances in intermodal shipping containers, making life easier for food transporters and ensuring the integrity of the cargo at the end of the journey. 

Ensure Accuracy and Two-Way Reefer Control 

Today, operators can utilize sophisticated monitoring systems that connect directly into OEM refrigeration units to ensure accurate temperature readings and remote control of the units. If needed, operators can remotely initiate a defrost, run pre-trip inspections, change reefer state and adjust reefer temperature. Two-way control gives transport managers the ability to manage vehicles from a centralized location, so drivers can concentrate on what they do best—driving. Two-way monitoring can also help mitigate human error by enabling fleet managers to deploy quick corrective measures when issues occur.   

Stay up to Date with Real-time Temperature Alerts 

Constant temperature monitoring and real-time tracking protect carriers against potential losses. In the event of a discrepancy between the trailer temperature and set-point, an alert informs staff, who can quickly take corrective action. If, for example, a door is open for too long and the temperature changes, key personnel get notified via email or text. This means operators can identify a problem before the goods are lost or compromised.  

Bolster Regulatory Compliance 

Automating data collection and record-keeping safeguards operators as proof of temperature compliance is always available. In addition, a telematics solution allows users to send automatic reports to shippers or receivers to prove cold chain integrity and document chain of custody.  

Randy Martin, Compliance Manager with Dutch Valley, a PA-based bulk distributor says the ORBCOMM solution is invaluable in protecting his deliveries: “If the customer on the other end just decides they don’t want the load, they’re going to say the temperature isn’t right. We can prove quickly that the temperature was right, and they’ve got nothing to go against.” 

ORBCOMM’S reefer management solution is simple and complete. Smart IoT devices come with cellular or dual-mode satellite connectivity, sensors and robust management portals. To learn more about our next-generation cold chain monitoring solutions, visit our website, or email us

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ELD Compliance and Transition Made Simple: Read Our Q+A

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ELD compliance demoThe Electronic Logging Device (ELD) deadline is here for US trucking companies, and fleets must outfit their cabs with the new systems to remain compliant and keep operations moving. But sometimes the hardest part of a transition is the adjustment period after the switch. In the case of the ELD mandate, poor preparation, lack of training and devices that don’t comply with standards can all plague the process and severely affect a fleet’s ability to operate.

ORBCOMM’s Scott Stofer – Director of Product Management and resident expert on ELD mandate and Hours of Service compliance – is here to answer some burning questions on the transition process and discuss why ORBCOMM is the right choice for your ELD solution.

How would you define a successful ELD transition?

It mainly comes down to training and operations. The introduction of ELDs has tightened up many of the less strict requirements. With these new guidelines, drivers and office staff must adapt to new processes, leading to the necessity for new training programs. The business needs to become acclimated to these process changes, which can be made easier through an effective and user-friendly ELD solution.

From an operations perspective, there are multiple resources required to execute these changes, from solution providers like ORBCOMM to the account managers to the training personnel. With all these moving parts, the adoption process can take time and needs to be staggered. A successful transition will make room for a more gradual adoption that also accounts for the training component, all while keeping your business up and running at full strength.

What is ORBCOMM doing to help its customers make this transition?

We started looking at this process back in January, as we knew this change was on the horizon, and there would be nothing easy about it. Our first order of business was to put together an ELD task force that included account management, sales, operations and support teams. With everyone in the room, it was discussed and understood that this would be a difficult process for our customers and working through the growing pains alongside them by following a transition schedule was critical. Wasting no time, the sales and marketing teams began a campaign of consistent customer engagement, which will continue via frequent touchpoints that provide insightful updates. Ensuring that our customers can continue to operate their fleet seamlessly and in compliance with the law is important to ORBCOMM, so we want to be there every step of the way as the changes set in.

What is unique about the ORBCOMM ELD solution that’s different from other solutions out there?

There are two benefits customers will find when choosing our ELD solution. The first is that we’ve worked side-by-side with vendors and customers through every deployment and have developed a deep understanding of the pitfalls that can arise in the adoption process, as well as how to avoid them. Pain points are sometimes inevitable when moving to the new system, but fleets can trust ORBCOMM to not take short cuts and do a thorough job.

The second benefit is in the devices. We’ve worked with third-party organizations to certify our devices and have fixed our focus on building comprehensive solutions that fully comply with the legal specifications, keeping your fleet firmly within the boundaries of the law. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of devices right now on the FMCSA-certified list that don’t comply with these standards, as the ELD regulation required companies to self-certify, and the majority of them did. A very small number, like ORBCOMM, insisted on third-party certification, so you know what you’re getting meets or exceeds the standards.

The Canadian guidelines were recently published. What are we doing to support the Canadian market?

We have already started the process of reviewing the guidelines and the mandate, which includes engaging with some of the entities that are expected to take part in the certification process. The Canadian ELD mandate is very much in line with the FMCSA’s rules in the US, with which we are very familiar, so it’s simply a matter of identifying the additional rules that apply specifically to Canada. Ultimately, we’re in a great position to provide an ELD for the Canadian market as quickly and painlessly as possible.

The ELD transition process can be unforgiving, and the responsibility rests with transport companies to find a partner that will keep operations running smoothly and in compliance with the law. ORBCOMM’s ELD solution includes a broad set of management tools such as driver communication, navigation, performance scoring, driver safety features and more, to help you run a more efficient operation. See significant ROI through new efficiencies built around fuel consumption and drive time and improve driver retention by making it easier to manage and maximize their hours.

Book your free ORBCOMM ELD demo now to learn more.

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Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Earned Recognition, Brake Testing and Brexit, all at FTA Transport Manager Conferences

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While last year bristled with uncertainty around Brexit, there was more of an air of optimism around this year’s FTA Transport Manager Conference Autumn Series. ORBCOMM was delighted to exhibit at six dates across the UK.

We joined hundreds of industry professionals from all around the UK to hear Traffic Commissioner updates, the latest information on urban restrictions and clean air zones and how roller brake testing is vital for fleets.

Some of the challenges transport managers face include driver shortages, traffic congestion, staying on budget and remaining compliant. Sarah Bell, Traffic Commissioner for London and the South East, gave an update at the Southampton event on the expectations of transport managers and the importance of continuous professional development. One area she is looking to improve on is reducing the numbers of public inquiries and licence revocations and suspensions. In the past year, there were 872 public inquiries, 103 disqualifications of operators/directors and 139 disqualifications to transport managers. Communication and good working processes are key in reducing these figures in 2020.

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