Running a trucking business involves understanding how to move vehicles across country in an organized fashion. Geographical information is a key starting point for an operation like this, so it’s no surprise that a company like Rand McNally, possessing nearly 160 years of experience, would be a leader in helping trucking enterprises improve their workflow. The TND 760 Fleet Edition GPS device is one of their latest offerings that brings cartographic, monitoring, and networking technologies together to advance the job of transporting goods while meeting log-keeping regulations and boosting the bottom line.
Good Things in Little Packages
The device itself provides an easily accessible 7 inch screen and is only an inch thick. It installs quickly and gives information in both visual form and verbally for when the driver needs to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel. The device links to the Rand McNally Connect network through either WiFi or a cellular signal, so there’s no loss of contact no matter where a truck is traveling. The interaction between the individual TND 760 device and its wider system synergistically produces results far beyond what would be expected from the 5 inch by 7.5 inch box. As part of a communications web, its capabilities are determined by which of the three following service plans are selected.
At the minimum level, the TND 760 provides automated monitoring of vehicle operations to comply with hours of service or HOS requirements through the Electronic On-board Recorder or EOBR plan. This service plan, going for $19.95 a month, eliminates the need for keeping tedious written logs by using the device’s own GPS tracking to determine when and where the truck is being operated. Early warnings are issued when a driver approaches the limits of HOS requirements. Various on-the-job operations are noted to ensure compliance with complex personal conveyance rules. The EOBR plan also allows the TND 760 to obtain data from the vehicle’s OBD II computer to generate vehicle inspection reports twice a day. All reports are kept on PDF files.
At $29.95, the Basic plan builds on the EOBR plan by including such extras as mapping and messaging. In addition to IntelliRoute TND navigation that presents both 2-D maps of the road, 3-D images of the current roadway, and supplies the driver with audio instructions for negotiating routes, dynamic maps of other company trucks are provided. Information like vehicle direction, speed, and even hard braking incidents are shown in real time for both present operations as well as the recent past. Activities like hard braking or speeding can be recorded for further examination. The maps are interactive and allow business-related destinations to be entered. With this capability, supervisors can match particular shipments to the nearest suitable truck. There’s also a geofencing capability that records when vehicles are near a client’s establishment to determine charges including detention pay. Messaging is conducted through emails, and the TND 760 automatically switches to voice mode when the vehicle is in motion to prevent the driver from having to visually read them.
This plan, at $39.95 a month, unleashes the TND 760’s full suite of features. Under this package, individual drivers can access their own driver performance scorecard. They can examine things like total fuel consumption, miles per gallon, hard braking events, cruise control usage, idling time, speeding, and engine over-revving. It even permits them to see when fault codes were activated or what mpg is in given speed ranges. Likewise, input from the vehicle’s diagnostic computer is utilized to produce vehicle performance scorecards. These statistics can be used to determine the pluses and minuses of any given rig in the fleet. This capability also aids in vehicle maintenance reporting. Since these monitoring features operate on a daily basis, vehicle malfunctions can be caught early. Repair costs can be held down while rig downtime is kept to a minimum. Finally, when any problems from HOS time expiration to mishandling of a rig to log transmissions occurs, alerts can be activated so supervisors won’t have to check through detailed data directly. In the process, information concerning driver and vehicle behavior 30 seconds before and one minute after the occurrence is stored for later inquiry.