It's hard to imagine my trucking business today without technology, but I remember a time when we spent hours and hours of time just locating our equipment. And during the global pandemic, where we’ve been hauling groceries and emergency materials, like water and toilet paper, technology has been integral for keeping up with the increased loads.
Our team has grown exponentially, and we were at a point where we also wanted to bid on a piece of work that needed project44 integration (project44 is a visibility platform for shippers and logistics service providers). It became clear that we needed to explore different technology solutions to keep the business thriving and in a better position to win more business.
One of the challenges we faced was updating the existing, manual system of having our drivers check in via phone calls. We were wasting time waiting for drivers and the office to connect on a call to provide simple status updates. We also realized that because we didn’t have visibility into vehicle location, it was a risk to our customer service, as the customers were often left in the dark on estimated times of arrival and necessary updates while drivers were on the road. Moreover, with an analog system still in place, our payroll and IFTA reporting was all done manually, requiring hours of office work and oversight.
We eventually landed on implementing Verizon Connect’s fleet management technology to help in these areas and also because it provided easy integration with project44. Since it’s been implemented, we’ve seen the following benefits to our business:
Better customer satisfaction
Good customer service is an important part of retaining and attracting new customers. Before, when customers asked where our trucks were, we’d have to give a driver a call. With a built-in map that shows the locations of all our trucks, we can immediately tell a customer where their inventory is at any time.
One of my favorite benefits is that I have this visibility into my trucks and trailers whether I’m at the office or out. I can easily bring up a map with the location of our trucks at my work computer or on my phone. The technology streamlined our communication with drivers and customers, but it also helped our IFTA reporting by housing all the data in one spot, from which states had tolls, to how many toll miles were driven in a given period of time.
Promoted driver safety
The technology helped us to manage our drivers and track assets, while streamlining efficiency across the board and most importantly promote driver safety. Before we had the technology, we didn’t have information about our drivers’ driving behavior or even if our vehicles were idling.
The technology helps by not only tracking which drivers are braking harshly or turning corners too fast but also gives us near real-time alerts to our phones if a driver is speeding, so we can proactively check in on their safety, and we’ve also added video tracking to our system. Video footage is triggered when something abnormal happens on the road, like speeding or collisions. The video evidence has protected our drivers on several occasions, proving their innocence, and it has probably saved us thousands in insurance and legal fees.
Because we stepped up with fleet management technology, we were ultimately able to bid on new freight lanes that needed project44 integration, which alone has generated half a million dollars in income annually. During COVID-19, the technology has helped us stay connected as our drivers make essential supply trips going to and from grocery stores and wholesalers. Ultimately, technology has changed our business for the better, and I couldn’t imagine why anybody wouldn’t want to do the same for their own business.
Nick Beck is the owner and founder of Beck Trucking, which is based in North Carolina.