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Trucker Tools reaches milestones, launches new feature

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The mobile driver app, combined with Smart Capacity’s planning functionality and real-time, accurate information on available loads and trucks, gives brokers precision intelligence on when and where trucks are available. (Courtesy: TRUCKER TOOLS)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Trucker Tools has released what the company called “several growth milestones” and introduced new, customer-inspired features for its Smart Capacity platform and Mobile Driver App.

The new features improved the platform’s predictive freight-matching, real-time capacity visibility, automated load tracking, shipper intelligence and driver support tools for independent truckers and small fleet operators, freight brokers and 3PLs, according to Prasad Gollapalli, founder and chief executive of Trucker Tools.

The company announced two growth milestones. The Trucker Tools Mobile Driver App, launched in 2013, surpassed 600,000 downloads. The smart-phone-based, GPS-enabled app provides automated load-tracking and streamlined load tendering for drivers and has 16 of the most sought-after features drivers use to manage their business while on the road.  The number of “micro carriers – small fleet operators mostly with 10 trucks or less – using the app and portal also crossed the 125,000 threshold, providing brokers with a critical mass of connected, independently-operated truckload capacity, on a secure platform.

In addition, since March 2018, Trucker Tools doubled the number of freight brokers and 3PLs contracted on the Smart Capacity platform, utilizing its tools for capacity and load visibility and planning, predictive freight-matching, carrier relationship development and building reliable small-carrier capacity.

Gollapalli said the mobile driver app, combined with Smart Capacity’s planning functionality and real-time, accurate information on available loads and trucks, gives brokers precision intelligence on when and where trucks are available today and days into the future. The platform’s intuitive workflows dramatically compress the cycle to reliably match truck to load, saving time, and giving brokers collaboration tools with which, they can build trusted relationships with independent truckers and small fleets to improve capacity.

“The significant growth of users for both our mobile app and the Smart Capacity carrier-management platform and portal demonstrates our traction in the market. We are working with our customers – carriers and brokers – to create solid technology solutions to real-world business problems they face today — and will continue to face in a market that’s evolving and changing and an unprecedented pace,” Gollapalli said.

“Our focus is to be the technology provider of choice, a trusted partner that listens to [carrier and broker] needs, understands their business issues, and then develops the software applications necessary for them to adapt, grow and continue stay ahead of competitors – and their customer’s needs,” he said.

Through ongoing engagement and feedback, Trucker Tools learned that drivers and brokers on the platform continually cited the need for a more automated process to shorten the cycle to find, match and accept a load with a truck. In response, Trucker Tools built and introduced “Book it Now” as the latest new feature of Smart Capacity and the mobile driver app.

Book it Now is a fully automated process, preferred by carriers.  With this feature, a driver or dispatcher reviews (on their smart phone or tablet) a list of participating brokers’ available loads (with pricing) that match available capacity and are in that fleet’s or driver’s preferred lanes.  Each entry has a “Book it Now” button next to it.

Once the driver/dispatcher clicks on Book it Now, the load is booked and recorded in the broker’s TMS, a confirmation email is issued to the driver/dispatcher, and the load is scheduled for pickup.  A broker’s intervention is needed only if the driver and broker want additional conversation.

The broker has the option of selecting what loads go through the automated Book it Now process. They also have the option to engage with the process and more closely monitor and manage a Book it Now load, which could include talking to the carrier, confirming the rate or checking other details.

“The broker can still call the carrier to confirm things like type of equipment, availability, timing and other details. However, the intelligence and process algorithms we built into the system fully automates the process.” noted said Murali Yellepeddy, Trucker Tools chief technology officer.  These and other Smart Capacity enhancements are helping brokers and carriers cover more loads in far less time than with more manual methods.

“That’s time they can use to book more loads.  And drivers liked it, too, for ease of use, simplicity, transaction speed and accuracy,” he said.

As part of the load-matching and auto-booking process, the Smart Capacity system continually “learns” about the carrier’s and broker’s preferences, analyzing historical data and trends, such as preferred lanes, loads and shippers. Using that intelligence, with every Book It Now confirmation email sent to the driver/dispatcher, the system also sends a suggested list of future available loads-for-tender, which reflect the driver’s preferences and are in proximity to where the current load will be delivered.

“They get an advance look at available future loads, ranked with best on top, according to their history and preference,” Yellepeddy said. “It’s a tremendous advantage for the driver to know, with certainty, before even their current load is delivered, what reliable options there are for the next load down the road and when it’s available. And then to be able to accept and secure that load in advance.”

This saves time and expense for the driver, who otherwise would be sitting and waiting and not making any money. Instead, the driver can plan forward and have the next load confirmed without delay.

Detention time, waiting for a load or unload – without being paid — at the shipper’s facility, is the bane of every trucker’s existence. To help drivers, carriers and brokers better manage this problem, Trucker Tools has built and implemented a Detention Alerts feature.

“The moment the carrier arrives and stops at the shipper’s facility, a time-stamp is issued, and a clock starts tracking wait time,” explained Yellepeddy. “This can be configured for whatever time period the broker wants, typically one or two hours. Once the wait time reaches the trigger, and alert is issued to the broker, so the broker can call the shipper and help expedite getting the driver loaded or unloaded and released.” Detention alerts can be set up with any driver on the Trucker Tools Mobile Driver App.

Phase 2 of this feature, Detention Scorecards, is under development and will be implemented in June.  Scorecards will let drivers assess and grade their interactions and experience with a shipper, integrating other driver reviews, comments and photos of the shipper’s facility and loading docks. The scorecard also will incorporate historical detention trends, and driver feedback on shippers’ detention practices.

“Detention history and grades will be available to anyone on the platform,” said Yellepeddy. “So, someone tracking a load, or considering an available load, can look up a current review on that shipper’s location. Drivers and dispatchers to make better informed decisions on which loads to take – avoiding those shippers who make drivers wait excessively. It also will help brokers educate shippers on where they need to improve to get a better grade and make themselves more attractive to carriers.”

For more information on Trucker  Tools Smart Capacity, and the recent functionality improvements and additions, visit www.truckertools.com, call (703) 955-3560, or email us at sales@truckertools.com

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Business

Convoy launches Convoy Go, a grab and go system

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Graphic shows the operational model for Convoy Go. (Courtesy: CONVOY)

SEATTLE — Convoy, a nationwide trucking network and platform, has launched Convoy Go, a drop and hook marketplace that allows any carrier or owner-operator in the U.S. to start hauling pre-loaded trailers, and to operate at the same level as large asset-based carriers.

Drop shipments, or pre-loaded trailers, currently represent the majority of Fortune 500 company shipments.

To date, most of these shipments have been serviced by large asset-based carriers.

Convoy Go enables any carrier or owner-operator in the U.S. using the Convoy app to operate at the same level as large asset-based carriers, in terms of fleet utilization, service levels and access to shipments.

With its drop and hook marketplace, Convoy Go creates a seamless “grab and go” system, where carriers simply bring their power unit, pick up a pre-loaded trailer and hit the road, according to Tito Hubert, product lead for Convoy Go. To accomplish this, Convoy Go leverages its Universal Trailer Pool, a nationwide pool of Convoy-managed trailers that can be used by any driver in Convoy’s network, with no rental fees, he said.

“Convoy’s data shows that up to a third of the cost of truck freight in the U.S. is attributable to time spent either waiting for appointments, or waiting at the dock to load and unload,” Hubert said. “This massive amount of waste has a direct impact on increased transportation costs, decreased drivers’ earnings and reduced overall trucking capacity for shippers. We built Convoy Go to enable drivers to increase their productivity and earnings, all while providing shippers with greater capacity.”

He said Convoy Go reduces driver wait time in facilities from an average of three hours to less than an hour and provides five- to-10 hour appointment windows, offering drivers more flexibility to optimize their schedule.

Together, this translates into increases of carrier productivity of up to 50%. Carriers can find, book and complete a load, all using the Convoy app. Convoy’s Universal Trailer Pool is shared across all shippers and trucking companies, Hubert said.

Since Convoy initially piloted this offering in 2017, the company has worked with select shippers and thousands of drivers to tune the model across the Northeast, Southeast, South and West regions. Today, the program is available to all shippers and carriers nationwide.

Carriers, most of which are doing drop and hook loads for the first time, experience shorter wait times at facilities and flexible appointment windows, which translate directly into increased carrier productivity:

Convoy is a nationwide trucking network and platform striving to transform the $800B U.S. trucking industry. With Convoy, carriers get access to a free mobile app that allows them to find loads they want, save time, drive fewer miles empty, and get paid quickly. Hubert said shippers use Convoy’s data-driven insights and industry-leading service levels to book loads, improve their supply chain operations, lower costs, and reduce waste.

 

 

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Schneider says it will use its assets to enhance middle mile capabilities

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With its acquisition of Watkins & Shepard Trucking in 2016, Schneider became a provider in first to final mile delivery of over-dimensional goods for omnichannel retailers and manufacturers. (Courtesy: SCHNEIDER)

GREEN BAY, Wis. —  With its end-to-end delivery portfolio, Schneider says it is able to deliver seamless shipping that keeps businesses one step ahead from the first to the final mile. The middle mile, which provides connectivity from and between local last-mile terminals, is equally as important as its first- and final-mile counterparts.

To optimize the movement of freight through its 24 terminal networks across 48 states, Schneider is broadening its middle-mile configuration to include its van truckload and intermodal owned assets, according to Rob Bulick, senior vice president and general manager of First to Final Mile.

With its acquisition of Watkins & Shepard Trucking in 2016, Schneider became a provider in first to final mile delivery of over-dimensional goods for omnichannel retailers and manufacturers.

Schneider now capitalizes on the full force of its broad network for the middle and final mile, with access to more than 10,700 trucks, 22,000 intermodal containers and a suite of technology tools for comprehensive freight management, Bulick said.

Throughout this process, Schneider is able to fully apply its proprietary network optimization system to freight within the middle mile to enhance consistency of the engineered network. An engineered network determines required departure and processing times, expected delivery times and regulates workflow through the terminals.

Schneider’s engineering management tools apply data-driven recommendations to optimize operations and manage the movement of freight through the middle mile. The overall engineered network will also contribute to standardizing pricing and transit, he said.

“Full incorporation of Schneider’s assets into the middle-mile service offering will reduce the number of freight handlings through the terminal network, ultimately reducing product claims. This optimization will also improve driver efficiency and increase consistency in service standards and delivery times,” Bulick said.

Along with middle-mile optimization, Schneider is implementing a standardized delivery day for ZIP codes, creating predictability.

Customers will be provided with the exact transit flow of their shipment, as well as a projected day and time for delivery from ZIP code to ZIP code for a holistic, end-to-end scheduled solution.

“A seamless delivery experience – whether it’s the first mile, the last mile or the miles in between – means there’s a consistent, reliable network working hard for a customer’s business,” Bulick said. “Expanding our middle-mile strength to include Schneider’s owned assets and data-driven network optimizations ensures we’re constantly meeting the high expectations for final-mile delivery that customers and consumers can depend on and trust.”

To learn more about how Schneider’s and Watkins’ end-to-end portfolio of services makes for smooth first to final mile deliveries, visit https://schneider.com/our-services/first-to-final-mile.

 

 

 

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No spring break for spot van, reefer rates

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The map shows the various rate ranges for van load to rate ratios. (Courtesy: DAT TRENDLINES)

PORTLAND, Ore. — National average spot van and refrigerated freight rates slipped again during the week ending April 13 as the number of load posts fell 4% while truck posts increased 3%.

The arrival of produce season in several southern markets failed to make up for the effects of more capacity in the spot market and bad weather across much of the country, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Here are the national average spot rates:

  • Van: $1.83/mile, 2 cents lower than the March average
  • Flatbed: $2.37/mile, 3 cents higher than March
  • Reefer: $2.15/mile, 2 cents lower than March

Van trends

How soft are spot van rates? Pricing was lower on 76 of the top 100 van lanes last week. Only 23 lanes saw rates rise and one lane was neutral.

Van load-to-truck ratios have not held up after a promising start to April, with the national average sitting at 1.3 loads for every available truck. The good news is that load counts rose nearly 5% in Chicago and Houston, and more than 3% in Los Angeles last week—major markets for spot van freight.

Markets to watch: Outbound rates were down from Los Angeles, Columbus, Ohio, Philadelphia, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte to Allentown, Pennsylvania, gave up 13 cents to $2.08/mile, and rates fell on two Buffalo-inbound lanes: Columbus to Buffalo, down 19 cents to $2.66/mile, and Chicago to Buffalo, off 19 cents to $2.31/mile.

Reefer trends

Prices rose on 38 of the top 72 reefer lanes last week. Thirty-one lanes were lower and three were neutral. Higher volume in Florida and California was balanced out by lower volume from the Upper Midwest and Texas, which hurt spot reefer pricing overall.

Markets to watch: Lakeland, Florida, volumes spiked nearly 27% last week while the average outbound rate climbed 2 cents to $1.57/mile. Let’s see if Lakeland rates trace the pattern in Miami, where a big jump in volume two weeks ago was followed by a nice gain in the average outbound rate ($1.80/mile, up 13 cents). Meanwhile, several lanes from Florida and California produced strong rates:

  • Fresno, California, to Denver up 40 cents to $2.24/mile
  • Fresno to Boston gained 19 cents to $2.23/mile
  • Miami to Baltimore up 29 cents to $2.00/mile
  • Miami to Elizabeth, New Jersey, rose 15 cents to $1.82/mile

The Imperial Valley is underperforming for reefer freight: last week the average outbound rate from Ontario, California, was $2.51/mile, down 8 cents, on 9% lower volume.

DAT Trendlines are generated using DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. The RateView database is comprised of more than $60 billion in freight payments. DAT load boards average 1.2 million load posts searched per business day.

For the latest spot market loads and rate information, visit dat.com/trendines and follow @LoadBoards on Twitter.

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