Early adoption of emerging technologies has its risks as well as its rewards. Take it from UltraShipTMS, a company that went to market with LoadFusion, a transportation optimization solution at the bleeding edge of logistics and transportation software. When you’re first to market, you become a target for all those who would follow in your footsteps, seeking to usurp the leader’s position. In the case of LoadFusion, the benefits of early adoption outweighed the risks, and the innovation was well-received earning transportation “Product of the Year” acclaim from the American Business Awards. It’s likely that Frito-Lay is banking on the rewards outweighing the risks involved in fielding a fleet of 35 electric trucks in New York State along with 20 “enhanced vehicle charging stations”.
According to a news release from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Frito-Lay – a division of Pepsico North America – will save 63,000 gallons of fuel annually by operating these 35 new, all-electric trucks, to deliver tasty snacks across the empire state. The correlation between the LoadFusion story and the Frito-Lay story lies in this quote from the NYSERDA release:
“The new highly automated charging stations will help optimize the future of electric vehicles. Frito-Lay is the first commercial test subject for these charging stations, which will not only improve how the Frito-Lay fleet is utilized, but also relay important information to the state for a better understanding of electric fleets.
The new all-electric trucks will operate from distribution centers located throughout New York, including in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and New Paltz. These distribution centers will also have the advanced charging stations.”
The forward-thinking minds at UltraShipTMS have already been hard at work considering the unique challenges posed by optimizing an electric fleet. A whole new set of variables are injected into route optimization planning when electric vehicles are used. Chief among these are where trucks will be required to plug in and recharge given that charging stations are much fewer and further between than diesel pumps. Also to be factored in is the range a truck will have before requiring recharging. Add to these concerns the effect that temperature fluctuations may have on range as colder temps are known to shorten battery life.
These new variables are already in early development stages for future updates to the algorithms at work within the LoadFusion Transportation Optimizer software. Chances are most competitive optimization technologies aren’t thinking about this quite yet. After all, adoption of electric trucking fleets is still very much in its infancy. But it is this zeal for early adoption of innovative technologies that is indicative of visionary leadership – like the leadership of Frito-Lay and the leadership of UltraShipTMS.