Michelin innovations aiming to make road freight sector run smoothly
Eyewitness News asked Michelin Connected Fleet Marketing Manager Gomolemo Makola and B2B Director at Michelin Charl Lensley what role they play in this industry, how they assist SME’s and how technology can contribute to helping the industry run smoothly.
JOHANNESBURG - Road freight plays a huge role in Africa’s economy as they transport goods from one location to another.
The industry recently held a Road Freight SME Summit on how they could support SMEs, and help them access information and resource and how will they meet the needs of small fleet owners in attendance and the broader trucking sector.
Eyewitness News asked Michelin Connected Fleet Marketing Manager Gomolemo Makola and B2B Director at Michelin, Charl Lensley, what role they play in this industry, how they assist SMEs and how technology can contribute to helping the industry run smoothly.
“One way Michelin has indirectly supported SMEs is by partnering with various programmes, incubators, and accelerators that provide funding and mentorship to startups and smaller enterprises working on innovative solutions related to mobility, transportation, and sustainable practices. By collaborating with these programmes, Michelin contributes to creating an ecosystem where SMEs can access funding and resources to develop their ideas and products” said Charl Lensley.
Road freight faces challenges not limited to soaring fuel costs, subpar road conditions, labour disputes, navigating intricate legislative compliance, tackling cross-border complexities, combating corruption, upholding road safety standards, and ensuring the security of cargo and vehicles.
Talking to Eyewitness News, Makola said truck hijackings were a reality, and they try to take precautions to protect their drivers and the goods transported.
“The fleet management system provides vehicle tracking, embedded intelligence solutions and camera video monitoring, which can be essential in the event of a hijacking. The Connected fleet's innovative stolen recovery service seamlessly combines real-time connectivity, tracking and advanced fleet management capabilities, uniquely offering an all-in-one solution for locating stolen vehicles and enhancing fleet efficiency.”
At the summit, the issue of costs came up like the delays at ports and border posts having a significant impact on logistics costs, the additional costs of warehousing and distribution operating costs, and the proposed waste tyre recycling levy among others putting SMEs at a disadvantage.
And that SMEs often face challenges in securing adequate funding and development for their operations and growth.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to be taking over most industries whether this could benefit road freight, Lensley said: “The advance of artificial intelligence and technology is significantly influencing road freight in several key ways. AI-driven systems are revolutionising maintenance practices for road freight vehicles. For instance, we employ AI to monitor vehicle components such as tyres, brake systems, and engine performance. This technology can detect issues in real-time, allowing for proactive maintenance and minimising downtime and costs for road freight operators.”
Makola said that AI algorithms play a pivotal role in enhancing route planning and optimisation. Michelin Fleet's change by geolocalisation’s system and data analysis capabilities help transporters find the most efficient routes. This results in reduced fuel consumption and improved transit times, leading to cost savings and superior on-time delivery performance.