Technology Streamlines the Road Ahead for Tomorrow’s Commercial Fleet Management


The wheels on a truck go ‘round and ‘round – until sometimes they don’t.

And when they don’t, when shipments and schedules get disrupted, there is a snowball effect that can derail key organizations and vendors across an entire supply chain, often with negative downstream relational and balance sheet consequences.

Safety on the road is a crucial element of vehicle fleet management. Fortunately, firms’ maintenance realities are being productively impacted by the shipping and logistics sector’s ongoing technical evolution.

It’s important to “be proactive and get ahead of what could occur to a vehicle,” Jordan Wagner, vice president and general manager at the newly-launched Torque by Ryder, told PYMNTS in a recent interview.

“Our focus is entirely on using technology to enhance preventative maintenance so that customers don’t experience breakdowns,” Wagner said.

The trucking industry is undergoing a significant transformation driven by the increasing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and the digitization of supply chain and logistics processes. In response to these changes, companies are launching innovative solutions to modernize truck fleet management and enhance efficiency.

Historically (a word often used when describing the present-day operational realities of the logistics industry), most fleet management is done on a long-term, contractual basis with little flexibility and reams of paper.

But change is brewing.

The Broader Implications of Technology in the Trucking Industry

There exists a significant market gap for transactional fleet maintenance services for operators who don’t want to enter into a traditional management contract with its multiyear horizon, but also don’t want to leave their trucks unprotected against the daily wear and tear of doing business.

“There are fleets of trucks that aren’t interested in a long-term contract but need service on their vehicles. So preventive maintenance service, think oil change, federal DOTs, those kinds of things — we provide that through a 100% mobile solution where customers can self-schedule, they can set themselves up, they can track our vehicles, they can pay online. It’s all mobile delivery, we don’t have any shops, but it’s doing a lot of the same work that we would do in our Ryder shops,” Wagner explained. “We can come out to a fleet of vehicles and send a technician and they spend the day there working through trucks. That’s the ideal situation.”

It’s a different business model, one that’s highly technology focused and centered around customer uptime and not having to bring the truck into a dealership or a shop, he added.

The application of technology to fleet management touches upon nearly every aspect of the marketplace ecosystem, including payments and invoices.

And, as seen across the rest of the commercial landscape, the payments occasion is where institutional inertia tends to rear its head most when faced with process and workflow digitization.

“We still have to have a lockbox for checks, you still have people out there doing things on carbon copy paper and writing it down, and the thing about payments is everyone still wants to do it every way. We’re really trying to get away from phone calls and checks, but the reality is that in this space there are still plenty of people who want to do it the old-fashioned way,” Wagner said. “The old channels are still very, very prevalent.”

The firm is trying to change the way the industry thinks and make it simpler for everyone to transact, Wagner said. The goal is to automate a lot of the processes around scheduling, receiving an accurate quote, getting the work done, processing the payments, and eliminating as many touch or pain points as possible.

Modernizing Truck Fleet Management Drives Efficiencies

As it relates to the adoption of innovative technologies to speed up processes and streamline workflows, Wagner said the fleet maintenance space specifically “has a long way to go,” despite the technology being ready.

“There are still a lot of people that just don’t want it. It’s still early innings,” he said.

Change is difficult, but observers believe that the increasing adoption of EVs in a commercial setting will help accelerate and modernize even the sector’s most entrenched ways of doing business.

Wagner echoes this sentiment, while noting that the “infrastructure’s not quite there to support the level of electric vehicles that I think everyone’s pushing toward. It’s probably five, 10, 15 years out before we see something that really is substantial.”

With EVs gaining momentum, mobile maintenance becomes increasingly relevant since many services can be provided on-site, eliminating the need for vehicles to visit traditional repair shops.

That’s why now is a good time to get ready, Wagner said.