Truck IT app helps with scheduling, tracking and paperwork for construction market
Many people don’t realize it, but construction firms have many of the same problems with truck visibility and tracking that less-than-truckload and truckload carriers have. While the vehicles may not be traveling for days, facing highway congestion and shippers who are not ready for pickup or delivery, they do face other issues, including weather, which can delay progress and back up sites. Not to mention a late asphalt delivery that can slow road paving projects and cause countless vehicle backups.
That’s why Andrew Lindsay, president of the Astra Group, which specializes in the construction of community, athletic and recreational facilities across the Southeast, felt there was a better way. Together with Pace Davis, they decided technology could be leveraged to improve the process of getting dump trucks to construction sites on time. Enter the Truck IT app.
“The biggest need is changing the way the dump truck market works,” Spencer Boice, president of Truck IT, explains. “It’s very paper oriented.”
The Truck IT app connects dump trucks to the contractors who hire them. It works much like other freight matching apps, advertising available needs, such as Company X that needs three loads of dirt hauled, and allows companies to select jobs. But just as importantly, the electronic ticketing process automates the exchange of information, clearing up many of the miscommunications and eliminating physical paperwork. This speeds the process on both ends, at the jobsite where workers don’t need to stop and sign off on deliveries or pickups, and in the office so staff does not need to manually input job data.
“One of the big challenges in the industry is there are a lot of ‘prime’ haulers,” Boice says, noting that just because a contractor hires Smith Trucking to provide 8 trucks for the job doesn’t mean that Smith Trucking will provide those 8 trucks. “Contractors typically ‘rent’ a dump truck or driver for the day and even if you have a contract with a prime hauler, they may sub out the work.”
The app allows project managers to schedule trucks, to know whose trucks will be arriving at the site, to track them through GPS so they know when those trucks will arrive on the jobsite, to automate reports and invoices, to seamlessly process payments and to provide notifications of delays on the job site, for instance as a result of weather.
For customers who use the Truck IT app, they can take advantage of project management tools, purchase order tools that allow the specification of rates, locations and/or haulers, and allows them to set a preferred hauler list or specify requirements.
Truck IT sends one invoice with 30-day terms for hauling completed through the system.
Haulers themselves can also see productivity increases, Boice says, as they will know where their trucks are which leads to more effective scheduling. The app includes a convenient calendar to see availability of trucks and the job board makes it easy to track vehicles coming and going. The Truck IT app also helps with navigation along the most efficient routes and allows drivers to see what jobs they have each day or review work completed.
For all jobs completed through the app, haulers will be paid within seven business days and all invoicing is handled automatically, so there is no need to do a separate billing.
Boice explains that the increased visibility is also good for preventing disputes such as when the truck actually arrived on site.
Launched in September 2016, the app is still being “refined” Boice says, but there are hopes to expand its coverage area. Currently, it is only available to users in the Greater Atlanta area. Boice says there are about a dozen customers using it right now with more than 500 trucks in the network – representing about 25% of the total available trucks in the area.