Trucking technology trends - 3 pieces of tech you need for your transportation business
Over the past few decades, the way we work continues to change from generation to generation. While pen and paper used to rule the office, technology has been able to revolutionize the way people work and communicate with each other. Instead of waiting ages for a physical invoice to reach you in the mail or playing phone tag with a customer, communication can now be pretty instant thanks to technology. In addition, technology has been able to help streamline the processes we need to do every day during our job and make the way we work more efficient.
Digitizing your brokerage or carrier business is key to helping your transportation business succeed in the industry. On the second episode of Rose Rocket’s podcast Freight Famous, host Justin Bailie chatted with CEO, Scott Auslund, of Gulf Relay. Scott made a great point saying, “I think most brokerages, I don’t care how small or how big you are, they are focused on digitization – that is the future. The value of the brokerage is really all about connecting a supply and demand market. If you can connect a supply and demand market more efficiently, you will win.”
While Scott highlighted brokerages here, the same applies for carriers — implementing technology that will help your business run better, is just as important as it is for brokers. You want to be the most efficient business in your market, so that your business can continually grow, thrive, and beat out your competition.
Below, we’ve pointed out a few trucking technology trends and highlighted the softwares that we think will help make any trucking business more efficient.
1.A transportation management system (TMS)
Ok, so we know we’re extremely biased here but we 100% believe that a transportation management system is key for any trucking business to have. This is a trucking technology trend that is here to stay. A TMS will transform how your business operates and how you communicate with both your partners and customers. It’ll let you run the entirety of your business — from quote to cash — in one software. We won’t lament on all the features your TMS should have (if you’re curious check out our article on 5 TMS Features You Should Look for in TMS Software) but we will highlight a few things a TMS will help you do:
- You’ll be able to efficiently create and manage orders
- Plan and dispatch loads
- Communicate with your partners and customers through things like a customer or partner portal
- Offer your drivers a mobile app to help make deliveries easier and more efficient
- Invoice faster (our customer Pam Hunt from Western Alliance Logistics can vouch for that!)
- Look back on your business! The data available from a TMS lets you look back at what worked, so you can plan better for the future.
Another thing we learned from Scott Auslund in his Freight Famous episode, was new generations are starting to enter the workforce (we’re looking at you Gen Z) and that this generation grew up with technology in their hands. When talking to Justin about Gen Z potentially entering the workforce as drivers Scott said, “ If I came of age and I’m 21 years old and I’m eligible to drive a truck in let's say 3 years from now, I was absolutely in high school and everything else with a smartphone.”
The technology we have access to in our daily lives, influences the technology that we want to have access to at work — we want our jobs to be as seamless in operation as our daily lives, like being able to bank fully online. A TMS will make the lives of you and your employees better with its power to make your work day more efficient and will become one of the integral technologies you use throughout your workday.
2. An ELD
Another trucking technology trend here to stay is ELDs. Besides being something that you have to have if you operate in the U.S. or Canada (learn more about the ELD mandate here), an ELD enables you to provide real time visibility to your customers and partners. Our customer Albert Renaud of Minimax Global Logistics told us, “You can order a pizza and get live tracking, but when you send a million-dollar piece of freight, you don’t get visibility.” Another nod to how the technology of our personal lives is influencing the technology people demand from their work lives as well.
ELDs help solve this problem and enable you to see where your freight is at any time. An ELD is even more powerful when you connect it to a transportation management software because then you have the ability to see where your freight is, right from the TMS. With visibility data in your TMS, you’re then able to share that with your customer or partner, whether through something like a portal or e-Tracking link, and they can self-serve in checking-up on the status of the freight.
An ELD is also ripe with data about your trucking business operations and can tell you things like driver hours-of-service, to help you make more efficient dispatching decisions.
3. An accounting software
While this might seem like an unorthodox trucking technology trend we very much believe that an accounting software is key for any trucking business to have. Keeping track of your finances will help you get paid faster, make tax time a bit less of a headache, amongst other things.
One wonderful thing about many accounting softwares is that they integrate with a TMS. Choosing softwares that integrates with other software is a trucking technology trend in itself because it levels up the way you’re able to conduct business.
An accounting software is important to have because once connected to your TMS it’ll consolidate the invoices from your TMS to your accounting software, so that both systems know the current status of an invoice and are able to get it into the hands of your customers faster, thus letting you get paid faster.
Jump into these trucking technology trends
We hope this article was able to shed some light on some trucking technology trends and three key pieces of technology you need for your transportation business. Implementing the appropriate technology in your business will help streamline your business operations and make you and your staff more efficient in the way you work both together and with your customers and partners.
If you’re curious about learning more about any of these pieces of technology or how they work together be sure to visit our website.