If a common theme linked most if not all of the announcements by technology and service providers at the 2015 McLeod Software Users Conference in Alabama this week, it would be “integration,” as a variety of providers joined digital hands to offer freight brokers, trucking companies and logistics providers more multi-faceted ways to boost operating efficiency while reducing costs.
ALK Technologies said it successfully and now integrated its PC*MILER 29 routing, mileage and mapping software into McLeod’s LoadMaster and PowerBroker suite of products – integration that provides, in the words of Robert Brothers, McLeod’s manager of product development, “another helpful tool” for managing fleets and brokerage operations to increase efficiency and cost savings.
Bill Maddox, ALK’s VP-sales said integrating PC*MILER 29 provides McLeod’s customer base with access to the latest truck-specific routing and mileage data, including updated toll roads. It also features HOS Manager, a feature that factors mandatory hours of service (HOS) break times directly into the route plan to improve asset utilization, plus a “Points of Interest” function that offers “live” Pilot & Flying J diesel fuel pricing updated every 30 minutes.
Orbcomm announced at this year’s user conference that its successfully integrated the two-way communications features for its fleet tracking and monitoring system with McLeod’s LoadMaster enterprise system. That integration provides trucking companies across North America with the ability to capture near real-time trailer data for both refrigerated and dry transport assets through one comprehensive system, via Orbcomm’s GT 1100 dry van trailer tracking solution and its RT 6000+ cold chain monitoring package.
Through this integration, “trucking companies will gain centralized visibility to their trailers and cargo by providing temperature, fuel level and cargo sensor readings in real time,” noted Christian Allred, Orbcomm’s senior VP. “This can reduce the loss of revenue from damaged goods, unauthorized use of trailers or stolen fuel.”
Freight Friend LLC also jumped on the integration bandwagon at the annual McLeod gathering, noting that it linked its load board directly with the McLeod LoadMaster and PowerBroker products to improve ease-of-use for freight brokers and motor carriers alike.
Bandwidth announced at the conference that it is integrating its text messaging system into McLeod’s dispatch operations management system. That helps “free” the LoadMaster system from the details involved in sending text messages among all the various network providers and carriers, the firm noted, while also allowing for faster, easier, and more accurate communication with drivers in order to deliver clear and concise information about their load assignments.
CarrierWeb reiterated at McLeod’s yearly event that its added new mobile options via the Android phone platform to complement its in-cab hardware, reefer and dry trailer telematics solutions. The company said the new Android version of its fixed in-cab unit and a new mobile solution that extends its applications and driver workflows outside the cab onto tablets and smartphone devices.
“Fleets continue to seek technology to improve operational efficiency, safety, compliance, and driver satisfaction,” noted R. Fenton-May, CarrierWeb’s chairman. “Now they have the best of both worlds — fixed telematics units to ensure delivery of mission-critical information, and portable solutions to change how they manage driver workflows.”
Electronic Funds Source LLC (EFS) highlighted its brand new universal secure payment solution – SecureFuel – at McLeod’s conference; a system developed to catch unauthorized fuel purchases by combining truck telematics with fleet card transaction data. The system leverages engine-control module (ECM) information and marries it to transaction data, avoiding the need for additional hardware installation in the truck. EFS also said SecureFuel now works at over 14,000 truck stop locations.
Eleos Technologies LLC unveiled at McLeod’s show a new mobile phone application that helps eliminate document scanning charges. Kevin Survance, CEO of Eleos, said that offering free document scanning is possible due to the efficiency of the company’s technology and the rapid commoditization of document scanning.
"We’re proud to usher in a new era in which it’s no longer necessary to pay five cents per page to capture trip documents from drivers,” he added. “Trucking companies who power their drivers’ mobile apps with the Eleos Mobile Platform can now enjoy simple usage-based pricing with no up-front capital investment and no scanning charges.”
Pegasus TransTech announced at McLeod’s yearly conference that it integrated its operating system with McLeod’s LoadMaster suite as well as the TRANSFLO Mobile+ device scheduled to go into production later this month. This upshot of this integrated package is that carriers gain the ability to transmit real-time information driver smartphones through TRANSFLO Mobile+ – ensuring drivers stay connected even when they aren’t in the cab of their truck.
Additional functionality for drivers through the new TRANSFLO Mobile+ product include: video training, driver scorecards, safety information, plus company news and updates.
The integrated package also provides the ability to interface two-way messaging so carriers can send communication directly to a driver’s smartphone, the company noted, while also allowing carriers to tie specific mobile phones to the correct driver, thus beefing up enterprise level security and data integrity.
Consulting firm Trincon showed off the latest release of its TruCosting cost modeling and business intelligence software at McLeod’s annual conference; a system designed to: identify the actual cost of operation – both variable and fixed – down to the individual load level; identify the most profitable business segments, customers, and lanes; assign assets to those areas of the business that offer the greatest return on investment; assure adequate fuel surcharge compensation; and assure pricing strategies are profitable.
“In today’s complex business climate, the challenge is to turn data into information that is useful, actionable and relevant to each company’s specific needs,” noted Duff Swain, Trincon’s president.
Truckstop.com announced at McLeod’s yearly gathering that it will be holding a user conference of its own November 9-11 in Dallas, TX, at the Omni Mandalay Hotel at Los Colinas. The conference – dubbed Connected 2015 – is designed as an educational and networking event for transportation professionals, noted Scott Moscrip, CEO of Truckstop.com.
He added that Connected 2015 will also feature a variety of speakers, including: Noel Perry, senior consultant and truck and transportation expert at FTR; John Larkin, managing director of research for Stifel Financial Corp.; Lee Klaskow, senior analyst in transportation and logistics for Bloomberg Intelligence; Cori Eckley, VP of NATCO Transportation; and Brandon Bridges, director of strategic capacity solutions administration with USA Truck Inc.