7.1 Test Participant Interview Results
During the pilot test, interviews were conducted to gauge participant opinions about the UTT system at the beginning of the pilot test and as the pilot test progressed. The motor carrier personnel interviewed during the test were:
- Scenario 1:
- Route Planner/Truck and Trailer Inventory Manager
- Scenario 2:
- Executive Vice President
- Scenario 3:
- Executive Vice President
Table 13 presents the resulting average responses from participants to the interview statements using a 5-point Likert scale, with 5 representing the strongest agreement with a statement, and 1 representing the strongest disagreement with a statement.
Initially, the participants had high expectations for the UTT system. Contributing to these expectation levels were previous experience with the vendor, and advance information regarding potential system capabilities, benefits, and use. As shown in the midpoint and final interview results, the UTT system met or exceeded expectations relating to usability, technical performance, and overall participant acceptance. All three carriers expressed a strong interest in equipping their entire trailer fleets with UTT systems.
Table 13: Participant Opinions About the UTT System
|Participant Reaction Statements||Start-Up Expectations||Midpoint||Final|
|The deployed UTT system has made a favorable impression upon yourself and others at your company.||5||5||5|
|The UTT system has been used significantly and on a regular basis.||4.7||5||5|
|The UTT system required significant staff resources, including time.||2||1.3||1.3|
|The initial training provided adequate to prepare personnel to use the UTT system.||4.7||5||5|
|The dispatchers responded positively to using the UTT system.||5||5||5|
|The UTT system might prove to be an improvement to your existing operations.||4.7||5||5|
|The UTT system has been easy to use.||4.7||5||5|
|The UTT system has been reliable.||5||5||5|
|The UTT system has allowed for better/easier tracking of loads, drivers, and vehicles.||5||5||5|
|The UTT system has improved customer service and Estimated Time of Arrivals for pickups and deliveries.||4.5||5||5|
|The UTT system has provided an increased sense security and safety for company employees.||4.5||5||5|
The participant motor carriers also provided the following comments about the UTT system:
- The UTT system has the potential to improve motor carrier productivity and enhance the security of trailers, both moving and stationary.
- One of the most important benefits of the UTT system was in improving the utilization of trailer inventory.
- The UTT system can reduce wasted time and resources spent in manually searching for the location of trailers and identifying trailers available for drivers.
- The UTT system can effectively monitor cargo and trailer integrity by providing alerts of intrusion, diversion, or theft events. The UTT system may aid in cargo theft recoveries, resulting in reductions of insurance premiums and deductibles.
- Through the use of the UTT system, improved visibility of trailer event history and position details can enhance customer service by allowing the carriers to provide timely progress reports on customer cargo location, status, and estimated times of arrival.
- The geo-fencing capabilities provided by the UTT system were a helpful in preventing trailer theft or equipment abuse.
- The ability to landmark customer locations was useful to check that drivers are delivering and picking up at the correct spots.
- By receiving door status information for fleet vehicles, additional security resulted from knowing when and where trailer doors were being opened.
- The ability of the cargo sensor to relay information about the change in cargo status was an important way to enforce detention agreements with their customers.
7.2 Deployment Issues and Technical Performance
During the installation and deployment of the UTT systems in the three scenarios, several issues impacted the pilot test.
In Scenario 2, the primary deployment problem was one unit with a defective GPS module that required replacement, which the field service tool successfully identified. Also, this participant's maintenance manager would have preferred a wireless door sensor due to the labor involved in installing the wired sensor.
Scenario 3 involved a carrier of munitions and other sensitive loads for the DOD. At the beginning of the pilot test, the DOD revised the Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation to Ordnance (HERO) standards for UTT devices. Due to an advisory released by DOD regarding the use of UTT devices, the Scenario 3 participant was unable to fully utilize its trailers with UTT systems to haul DOD munitions shipments. Testing the UTT system within sensitive loads hauled for the DOD was not conducted significantly during this pilot test due to the requirement to receive U.S. Army Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) approval to put UTT systems in munitions trailers. Near the end of the pilot test, the UTT system was HERO-certified for zero clearance to cargo. This notwithstanding, prior to the certification, the majority of trailers were used for hauling shipments that were not for DOD. The UTT system trailers were domiciled on a DOD facility until the HERO certification process was completed.
According to the test participants, the UTT system performed well in daily motor carrier operational conditions. A technical issue of participant anti-SPAM software blocking the email alerts occurred during one of the field-testing events. This problem was resolved by modifying the email header. In Scenario 2, two magnetic door sensors were sheared off and disabled. A driver reported that as the trucks back up to the dock, the door-sensing magnet could shear off if the doors hit the dock. In the future, installers plan to consider reducing the height of the sensor or installing the sensor in a more secure location.
7.3 Participant Recommendations for Improvements
The participants had several recommendations for system improvement over the course of the pilot rest. In Scenario 1, the users at this motor carrier preferred not to wait 6 hours to determine the location of untethered trailers. As a result, the systems were reconfigured to 2-hour wakeup intervals. The high level of trailer use and the 2-hour positioning intervals provided significant help in locating trailers.
In Scenario 2, the dispatcher preferred not to exit out of the TrailerTRACS application while exiting the carriers' administration software module. In addition, when viewing a specific trailer and requested position history, the system did not automatically indicate the trailer ID. The dispatcher had to key-in the information again in order to request a position history, often having to back up through screens to get the trailer ID.
In Scenario 3, users indicated that they would like to see all the trailers' positions at the same time in their 24-hour wakeup period. This ability would eliminate many of the steps needed to find accurate positioning. When a participant was in the event history log and pressed the tool bar to refresh, the participant noted that in 7 out of 10 times, the software would display the event history log. For the remaining three times, the participant noted that the system displayed an error message stating that "this cannot be done from this page." Furthermore, the responding carrier saw major benefits from tracking the detention time, and suggested a reporting capability specifically focused on this area.
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