Digitalization has taken hold across every aspect of the trucking industry, from the back office and receiving dock, to the drivers, trucks and trailers, making it difficult for carrier and freight brokerage managers to ignore.
There are lots of new cloud-based options for companies within the trucking industry to digitalize and integrate their operation platforms — including capacity management, billing and payments, and human resources — and to bring about overall enhanced efficiency.
Here are 10 information technology solution providers that gave presentations Nov. 13 at FreightWaves LIVE Chicago about their latest innovations and services to the industry:
The company focuses on helping freight brokers reduce their factoring costs associated with processing freight invoices and paying carriers quickly.
"Most of the time when we talk to brokers, the first objection we get is that they don't need to outsource their carrier payments," said Jordan Gaft, president of TriumphPay. "Then the next question is, what [invoice] payments are you making to factoring companies already — 40 to 50%. You're already outsourcing your carrier payments."
Once a freight broker's carrier signs onto to TriumphPay, it can opt in to QuickPay to pay invoices.
"It gives that contract back to the carrier to get paid without having to leverage a factoring company," said Melissa Forman, chief operating officer of TriumphPay.
Gaft said banking information only has to be entered once into the platform, and TriumphPay handles all the banking details.
"You have to trust that TriumphPay is better paying your carriers than you, and as a bank that's all we do," he said, adding that the company already handles over 160 brokers' payments to carriers and continues to onboard more.
Sunrise, Florida-based dexFreight provides a "smart contract" solution, which covers the freight transportation process from booking to payment, said Chris Burruss, the company's vice president of transportation relationships.
Burruss said dexFreight "breaks down silos" that can cause a freight broker to spend hours booking a single shipment and reduces that time to less than 15 minutes.
"With over 170 early adopters, we're about to unlock a new level of efficiency," he said.
There are two portals in dexFreight, one for shippers and carriers and another for brokers and carriers. dexFreight shows all the shipments in the various stages of negotiation inside the portal, without the need for phone calls, Burruss said.
dexFreight also has an open API, which allows it to integrate with other systems and auto-populate information in the system.
For payment, the shippers, carriers and brokers can enter their banking information in the portal. Once the shipment has been delivered on the invoicing side, the carrier has the opportunity to use dexFreight's DeFi.
DeFi uses blockchain to facilitate safer, auditable and traceable freight payments. The company said it actually speeds up payments to truckers, who are often operating on thin margins and wait up to 30 days on average to get paid by their customers after delivering shipments.
Chicago-based Redwood Logistics, which offers freight brokering and third-party logistics services throughout North America, has launched its Redwood Platform Services in conjunction with the company's release of RedwoodConnect 2.0, a supply chain integration platform that simplifies and streamlines the integration process.
Chief Innovation Officer Eric Rempel called RedwoodConnect 2.0 a software-as-a-service offering, meaning it requires no programming on the part of the user and can be integrated with other systems.
"We have a rich history of integrations and innovations. Over the past decade, we have connected just about every enterprise system out there, even homegrown," Rempel said. "With over 800 integrations and over $3 billion in freight moving through our platform annually, we've seen it all."
Rempel said "traditional supply chain management is dead." Demographics are shifting toward operators who are digitally savvy on visibility and instant flexibility, and the rate of change is getting faster and faster. Companies are still having a hard time keeping up, he said.
Rempel said Redwood Platform Services is "a no-code integration platform" and puts the focus on innovation and optimization. "We've built this to simplify the connectivity process," he said.
"At Redwood, we are betting on Redwood Platform Services to not only create data supply chains for our customers, and that includes shippers, carriers and 3PLs, but to also improve our digital freight brokerage offering," Rempel said.
"There's one area that escapes the [logistics] optimization process. We all use it. We all mostly hate it, and it's email," said Andrew Burger, vice president of global sales for FrontApp. "It wasn't designed for business. It forces you to fly blind."
If a critical email is missed, it can mean lost business and damaged reputations with customers and partners, he added.
Based in San Francisco, FrontApp is a collaborative email communication solutions provider.
"What we've built at Front is an app that allows you to run your communications in the same way you run your operations," Burger said. "No more not knowing, no more guesswork."
FrontApp was developed to serve as a "multichannel mailbox" that allows multiple people to share the email stream in a collaborative way, reducing miscommunication. It also allows users to perform post-analytics of those communications, he said.
FrontApp was founded in 2013 by Mathilde Collin, CEO, and Laurent Perrin, chief transformation officer. FrontApp has about 100 employees and has amassed $79 million in venture capital funding.
Idelic, based in Pittsburgh, has developed data management tools that help truck fleet operators reduce accidents and driver turnover.
"Our customers have been able to realize value by reducing accidents by 40 to 50%, and then take these types of numbers back to their insurance brokers to help reduce insurance premiums," said Hayden Cardiff, CEO and co-founder of Idelic.
The company's Idelic Safety Suite provides fleet managers machine-learning models to identify on "watchlists" which drivers are most at risk of accidents and even prevent accidents from happening, Cardiff said.
"We actually give you pointed insights into how much each individual event actually contributes to that overarching risk," he said. "The safety managers now can actually train based off the specific behaviors that the driver's exhibiting."
"Our main goal is retention by prevention," Cardiff said, noting that it costs an average of $8,200 to replace a driver.
"We help create a culture where drivers want to stay," he said. "They feel like they're being watched after and not watched over."
To do this, the company released the Idelic Driver App. From in-cab devices, drivers can see what actions may have caused their safety scores to change and if any training has been assigned.
"Gone are the days when a driver comes into your office and they are oblivious to their behaviors. Now you can go in and coach on those specific behaviors and get buy-in from your drivers and help them engage with you as they continue to improve," Cardiff said. "Your accidents will be reduced and your retention will rise."
San Diego-based Netradyne provides in-cab video software that monitors the activities of truck drivers both inside and outside the cab to help reduce accidents.
Adam Kahn, president of Netradyne, said in many cases the relationship between the driver and fleet is incomplete and suggested that safety systems remain incomplete by design.
Netradyne's Driver Eye focuses on the driver's perspective from inside the cab.
According to Kahn, a vehicle that travels 80,000 miles a year has to be driven 400 minutes a day.
"The trick is whether I can see all those 400 minutes a day," he said. "I would guarantee you that there's an awful lot of great driving that's happening that's being missed."
Driver Eye shows driver events as they occur. That information can be shared by the fleet manager with the driver. "It's all real-time information," Kahn said.
This type of video representation may even exonerate a driver during an accident, he added.
Due to the enormous amount of video recorded, Driver Eye allows fleets to manage the "edges," Kahn said. The system helps identify which drivers are having problems through hour-by-hour notifications.
"In the video space, you have more context," he said.
Based in Beaverton, Oregon, DAT Solutions operates the largest truckload freight marketplace in North America and supplies market data and insights to transportation brokers, news organizations and industry analysts that's derived from 256 million freight matches and a database of 65 billion market transactions.
DAT's Rate View is an industry benchmarking tool for spot and contract rates, said David Peckman, area vice president for DAT Solutions.
Rate View incorporates maps and other granular details to "get a good sense of geography where this rate is pulling from," he said.
Each rate requires at least 70 unique reports and three unique companies, and Rate View ensures there is no single company that covers more than 50% of the data on a reported lane. It allows freight brokers to more accurately monitor trends and maximize their market opportunity, Peckman said.
Rate View's Hot Market Maps pulls the raw data feed of load-to-truck ratio from DAT Solution's load board. The data can be parsed out over different periods of time and to the ZIP code level.
"It's going to provide a pretty good amount of tactical awareness at the desk level," Peckman said. "If you're able to see what load-to-truck ratio is doing hour by hour, then you can make well informed decisions on the trucks that you may or may not have at hand."
Rate View also includes Multilane Upload, which serves large RFQs, which can be uploaded to a spreadsheet file and provide guidance on those rate returns.
Rate View has an option to review spot rates on a state-by-state basis. "It's very easy to see which rates are changing most quickly day to day," Peckman said.
In addition, a view of national rates is provided through Rate View, which is "very valuable for capturing trends," he added.
"When you contribute to rate view, we return your contributions back in the lookup so you can monitor against the market," Peckman said. "These reports allow you to monitor your top 100 lanes on all three equipment types on both spot and contract."
HubTran automates a freight broker's back office by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to index documents, group them, and validate the data with whatever is in the transportation management system.
"We do this as a software-as-a-service, which means that we get the leading-edge technology while not having the costly and long technology projects," said J.P. Lauz, director of customer success of Chicago-based HubTran.
The HubTran Dashboard receives an email from a carrier that needs to get paid. HubTran then finds the assigned load to that document and "as simple as that, I'm going to click ‘saved' and it's approved and off it goes," Lauz said. "This information is now in your TMS, the images are in the right locations and the amounts have been validated."
HubTrans processes invoices through any TMS without any human interaction, and if it does require human intervention it will stop and wait for that validation before it continues through the process. Lauz said HubTran is integrated with all the major TMSs.
"The best thing we can offer is the ability to be more efficient — at least four times more efficient," Lauz said. "Do more with less. Have less people in your back office and be able to process more invoices."
Francis Roy, vice president of Montreal-based vHub, describes his company as a "smart trailer-sharing community for the trucking business."
vHub does two things for the industry. First, the company helps increase asset utilization by matching idle trailers with people willing to pay to use them. Second, the company reduces empty miles.
"We create a trust-based community that will make it easier to share and collaborate and drive more performance out of their assets," Roy said.
vHub starts with the renter interface and searches for a trailer. The available trailers are sorted by closest proximity to the renter. The information also includes details about the owner and visual specs of the equipment.
"If you hit reserve at this point, the system will present you an overview of your total cost for the transaction and you can create a reservation," Roy said.
Once the reservation is confirmed, the trailer owner can then see who the renter will be and if he wants to proceed with the rental agreement. Everyone using vHub must show proof of insurance coverage to be a part of the community, Roy said.
A mobile app for vHub notifies the trucker where to pick up the trailer and any additional details. Additional steps in the app prevents the driver from picking up the wrong trailer.
The driver can also use vHub app to record any pre-existing damages to the equipment before transporting the trailer. The driver also takes a picture of the odometer.
vHub generates the contract, takes the money from the renter and gives it to the owner. "It's a completely paperless, completely automated process," Roy said.
Based in Philadelphia, DrayNow describes itself as a real-time intermodal marketplace for first and last mile for third-party logistics providers, intermodal marketing companies and freight brokers.
The solution allows users to view truck capacity in real time, post loads, track load status, and obtain electronic documents immediately. With DrayNow's mobile application, truck drivers can get turnkey access to intermodal freight, browse loads, compare rates and details, select loads, deliver loads and get paid faster.
"We're injecting technology and capacity into the innovation-barren intermodal freight industry, which has been left behind as other areas of trucking and freight have drastically changed, adopted new technologies and accelerated in recent years," said Paul Gottich, director of customer success for DrayNow.
In 2016, there were 3,000 drayage carriers. That number has more than doubled in two years, Gottich said.
All carriers operating on the DrayNow platform are thoroughly vetted and constantly monitored to make sure they're compliant with all operational requirements, said Drew Holland, the company's vice president of technology and strategy.
Once companies are vetted, they use the platform to choose the freight that fits into their schedule. The app serves "as a workflow tool" for the dray operator, Holland said.
For the duration of the trip, the driver is tracked and traced through the mobile app, and required to fill out the relevant information along the way.
"We built this platform from an operator's perspective with operators' buy-in," Holland said. "Our goal is to make it simple and transparent to use our platform and enhance existing workflows."
DrayNow can be integrated with existing TMS platforms.
"Ninety percent of the freight that's posted on our marketplace is requested by a carrier in less than 15 minutes," Holland said.
"Last year alone in intermodal domestic drayage, 2 billion miles were driven empty. That's about $5 billion in waste," Holland said. "Through our internal algorithms and matching tools we're aiming to drive that waste down to zero."
Image Sourced from Pixabay