Automating daily operations for small trucking companies

About the Client

Our client is a subcontractor in the transportation industry. They work with larger freight forwarders and transportation organizers, so that they can service part of the load transportation assigned from large shippers and manufacturers that operate within the EU territory.

Our client works with a set of regular customers from which it constantly receives transportation orders, but at the same time, they also acquire new customers through load boards and freight market places. The company operates partially with their own fleet, but they also hire other transportation companies with a similar business model, to be able to compete as many loads as they can.

Challenge

Our client’s customer list was constantly growing, but they felt like the increase in the workload did not give the expected growth for the company overall.

What we concluded from extensive meetings and interviews with our client is that they do have the necessary capacity to handle the workload, but they are not efficient enough because of lack of digitalization and automatisation of the processes, which consequently caused decreased traceability and visibility of the work they do.

To handle their multiple transportation orders, both incoming and outgoing, they were using excel spreadsheets, which offered limited possibility to track info, archive, create reports, or make any data driven decisions.

They were using different tools as a GPS tracking solution which didn’t allow them to have any control over the chosen routes and optimize their costs.

The creation of invoices and tracking of their payment was completely manual work and required manual calculation of kilometers, charging approved kilometers with different prices according to specific contracts with each customers, calculating empty vs full kilometers – and all of this work was done manually in excel spreadsheets, taking off the dispatchers time, which could be used in finding and handling more loads.

Solution

After mapping out the processes and doing in depth analysis of the clients daily operations we came up with a model for a software that was going to cover all basis, and will serve as operational software to all the people included in those operations.

Our goal was to connect the GPS tracking with a route planner, and create routes as the main entity  that can be easily tracked and invoiced. Additionally, we wanted to automate the communication with the driver. Our client was previously sending location and freight info through Viber, What’s Up and similar communication tools. The drivers then needed to check up their messages to see details for the job, manually type coordinates from the communication app to the navigation tool, which left them with a lot space for errors and miscommunications.

The software we designed for them consists of 3 main parts: ERP web application, GPS tracking device installed in the vehicle that collects real time information, Driver Assistance mobile app.

The ERP is the main operation tool for the back office administrators. They can easily create routes with different types of points of interest (loading, unloading, drop off, pick up, navigational point..), add freight details, company info and notes to each POI, set up the status of the trailer to full or empty, set up a deadline for each POI etc. They can see distance calculations, ETAs and reports for the route, they can track their progress through the GPS tracking device, and they can create invoices for their customers based on per km/hour/day/rate contracts created specifically for each customers and add additional costs. All this connected in one software, and in a matter of clicks.

For the Drivers, the route planner serves as the main communication tool – all the necessary information regarding the route, is sent to the driver’s Driver Assistance app installed in a mobile device, so they can now have details about their daily tasks, updated in real time as the backoffice makes changes.

Benefit

The first and the most important benefit is the complete digitalization and automatization of all daily operations for our clients. All the other benefits are extracted from this. By having all the important data in one place, all the activities that are using this data can be completed in a matter of clicks, which affects positively the efficiency of the people performing these actions. Having all the customers, drivers, vehicles stored in one place, enables the operator to quickly and easily create contracts, routes, invoices. Additionally, the route planner directly helps with optimizing transportation costs, by giving the dispatcher the opportunity to create the most economical routes and assign those routes to the drivers.

Furthermore, the communication with the driver is automated and much more precise. Instead of having the driver scroll through messages to find all the important info regarding the freight, now he receives all the info in his app, accessible at any time and updated in real time. The integrated navigation enables the driver to navigate to each POI using the route assigned from the dispatcher, and there is also chat tool included so the drivers can communicate with the backoffice to report any issues or ask questions. Finally, maybe the greatest benefit from the digitalization is the ability to extract different kinds of reports that are important of the job, see the history of all driver/vehicle/customer related activities which directly supports the decision making process for our client. An integrated solution like this gives the much necessary transparency to all the daily operations. This means that the managers can see the real picture of what is going on in their business, track issues and  identify the potential flaws in the process, which eventually will help them optimize the business model, make the most of the time and resources on hand, and grow the business.