Walmart recently installed computer tablets in its entire fleet to track the movements of trucks and deliveries with “near real-time visibility.” The country’s largest retailer touted improved shelf stocking, customer service, and better technology for CDL holders and last-mile drivers.
“In collaboration with Platform Science, a telematics infrastructure and transportation technology leader, every Walmart Private Fleet cab is now equipped with an intuitive, interactive tablet device that fully integrates with NTransit, a driver workflow application developed by Walmart’s product and technology teams,” Scott Donahue, vice president of innovation and automation, reportedly stated. “This customized onboard computer system provides private fleet drivers with a world-class technology experience, the business with real-time visibility, and our customers with what they want, where and when they want it.”
Daimler Trucks North America backed Platform Science to develop and integrate Virtual Vehicle technology in 2020. In December 2021, the real-time tracking technology reportedly became available on Freightliner Cascadias on a subscription basis. Terms of the Walmart deal were not initially disclosed, but the big-box giant possesses more than 200 distribution facilities, 10,500 brick and mortar stores, 9,000 tractors, 80,000 trailers, and 12,000 of the industry’s best-compensated truckers.
“Our onboard technology helps drivers communicate more closely with stores by integrating with store applications, providing a more seamless delivery process. As the driver approaches a store, geolocation technology detects the driver’s location, sending push notifications to store associates’ handheld devices, allowing them to plan for a quick unload and turnaround,” Donahue reportedly stated. “We can also deploy secure audio messages directly with our drivers to ensure they receive important information while they are in the field.”
Walmart upped its starting salary for experienced CDL professionals to upwards of $110,000 annually and a package including benefits. It’s important to note that while real-time tracking is expected to reduce detention times and inefficiencies, administrators can also monitor truck driver activities, stops, and break times. The logistical enhancements may come with added truck driver oversight.
“Like any job, unplanned activities sometimes require the driver to do more than steer the truck. Our new system creates accountability by allowing drivers to communicate what they accomplished on the road,” Donahue reportedly stated. “That way, they are compensated for any miles and non-driving activities beyond what was initially planned.”