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.”
Freight moved among U.S., Canada, Mexico down in April from March
WASHINGTON — Total freight transported between the United States, Mexico and Canada totaled $104.5 billion in April, according to the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
The figure represents an increase of 1.8% compared to April 2018, but a 2.5% decrease from March 2019 when $107.2 billion was moved among the countries.
The most used mode of transportation was trucking, which moved $65.1 billion of freight, down 1% compared to April 2018 and down 3.4% from the $67.4 billion moved in March 2019.
The second most used mode was rail, which moved $15.6 billion of freight, up 6.3% compared to April 2018, but down .04% from March 2019’s $16.2 billion of rail freight..
Trucks moved 62.3% of all transborder freight, broken down as follows:
- U.S.-Canada: $28.8 billion (55.5% of all northern border freight)
- U.S.-Mexico: $36.3 billion (68.9% of all southern border freight)
Trucks moved $67.4 billion in March 2019.
Compared to April 2018, U.S.-Canada freight was down 3.3%, U.S.-Mexico freight was up 1%.
The three busiest truck border ports (43.3% of total transborder truck freight) included Laredo, Texas ($15.3 billion), Detroit ($8.6 billion) and El Paso, Texas ($5.3 billion).
The top three truck commodities (48.9% of total transborder truck freight) included:
- Computers and parts, $13.6 billion
- Motor vehicles and parts, $9.9 billion
- Electrical machinery, $9.5 billion
Those three categories also were the top three categories in March 2019.
Dwight Bassett named president of Boyd Companies
CLAYTON, Ala. — Dwight Bassett has been named president of the Boyd Companies.
Prior to this role, Bassett served as the chief operations officer and chief financial officer for the Boyd Companies.
Bassett has an extensive background as a leader in the trucking industry.
Before joining the Boyd Companies, he served as the chief operations officer for Builder’s Transportation. In this role, he helped redesign the company’s information system which greatly improved productivity and accountability.
Prior to Builder’s, Bassett worked for M.S. Carriers for 16 years. During his tenure, he held various roles within the organization such as dispatcher, controller, vice president of operations, and chief accounting officer. Under his leadership, the company’s fleet grew tremendously from 300 trucks to 4,000 trucks.
“It is an honor to be named the president of the Boyd Companies,” Bassett said. “The people at Boyd make the difference. There is a mutual respect and admiration among all of us that is not easily replicated.”
Chris Cooper, CEO of the Boyd Companies, said, “Dwight’s leadership will be important to the Boyd Companies and the Daseke organization moving forward. Dwight has a unique, intuitive and tactical mind for transportation and logistics. This has been shown in his leadership over the past six years as CFO and COO of the Boyd Companies.”
The Boyd Companies include Boyd Bros. Transportation, WTI Transport, Mid Seven Transportation and Boyd Logistics.
The Boyd Companies is part of Daseke Inc., the largest flatbed and specialized transportation and logistics company in North America.
Boyd Bros. Transportation is the largest carrier in the Boyd Companies and is a flatbed truckload carrier that operates throughout the eastern two-thirds of the United States, hauling primarily steel products and building materials.
For more information about Boyd Companies or career opportunities at Boyd Bros. Transportation, visit www.driveforboyd.com or call 888-485-8717.
Trailer orders down in May; June seen as pivotal month
The two companies that collect, analyze and publish data pertaining to the commercial vehicle market reported what might be called a significant decline in trailer orders for May.
FTR reported preliminary orders for 11,700 units, the lowest total since May 2016.
ACT Research reported preliminary new U.S. trailer orders of 15,500, down 16% month-over-month, but after accounting for cancellations, said net orders slid to 10.5k units, down 28% from April.
FTR said orders for 2019 production have basically come to a halt, as most build slots for the year are already filled. Trailer builds were hefty for the third straight month and should remain elevated in the short-term.
However, production numbers in the second half will likely moderate due to expected slower economic and freight growth. The flatbed segment is already showing signs of weakening due to easing in manufacturing and industrial activity. Trailers orders for the past 12 months now total 356,000 units.
“Orders should rise in June as OEMs begin taking orders for 2020,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “June orders will be a good indication of how the larger fleets view the freight market for next year. Carriers may be cautious as long as the tariff situation is disrupting freight flows and creating significant business uncertainty.”
ACT Research said year-to-date, net orders are 40% below last year, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report. Near-record backlogs have filled 2019 build slots for many OEMs, and there continues to be resistance toward booking orders into next year, resulting in the order volume contraction.
“We’re now running into very difficult year-over-year comparisons, as OEMs are generally unwilling to accept orders for 2020,” said Frank Maly, director–CV Transportation analysis and research. “We hear that some OEMs may open their 2020 orderboards in June; if so, expect better comparisons in the months ahead.
“However, given market pressures of strong capacity growth in the face of a slowing economy and tariff uncertainties, the anticipated order surge may not be as robust as many may assume.”
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