While COVID-19 pressed the gas on technology adoption in the global transportation industry, a lot of the financial cost of that technology adoption falls to the truckload carrier or driver — an additional burden they don’t need.
From November 2019 to November 2020, 500,000 fewer people were employed in the trucking industry. While the initiation of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse last year removed thousands of drivers off the road, the reality is that drivers struggle with their level of pay, lack of work-life balance and on-the-road lifestyle.
Fast-growth startup ClockWork — a highly configurable digital delivery platform connecting shippers with independent carriers in local markets — focuses its solution on improving the lives of drivers, while giving customers control over first mile pickup and final mile delivery. ClockWork has raised $1.8 million in venture capital with investors in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. By March, the startup projects they will exceed $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR).
“The driver’s life is made easier,” said co-founder Sascha Peyer in an interview with FreightWaves. “We recognize that the driver is a critical part of the workforce in a global supply chain. Our technology wraps around existing systems and utilizes automation to extend the digitized delivery order through to the carrier, dispatcher and driver. The existing contracted truck network for a third-party logistics (3PL) provider or a shipper has intrinsic value. We unlock this potential by digitizing these relationships. This is how we differentiate from the GPS sensor provider, the digital broker or visibility sourced from ELD.”
Peyer said the value from digitized delivery accrues to the shipper, therefore the financial responsibility of technology should be the shipper or 3PL’s — not the carrier’s.
ClockWork’s cloud-based solution includes a bidirectional integration with a 3PL’s or shipper’s existing system. Workflow automation applies a configurable profile and then progresses the delivery order from carrier tender to dispatch and then into the driver’s hand. Real-time actionable pickup and delivery data collected by the driver in the delivery moment eliminates manual processes and triggers notifications to the shipper and consignee if a delivery is late or refused or damaged.
The app is user friendly for drivers and customizable to match a customer’s branding and needs, as well as the driver’s primary language. The company’s client portfolio is truly global, with app deployments in North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. On New Year’s Eve, a digitized Proof of Delivery (POD), including pictures of undamaged cargo, came through from Kathmandu, Nepal.
International freight forwarder Röhlig Logistics partnered with ClockWork in 2020 to help onboard its small and medium-sized family-owned trucking partners that do not yet have widely deployed technology solutions. By digitizing scheduling and tracking of all its first- and final-mile domestic deliveries, Röhlig can now focus on the international part of its business.
Röhlig CEO Rafael Ueltschi said ClockWork is more than just another technology integration, it’s the company’s “innovations wish list partner.”
“They’ve been a true partner and not just a solutions provider,” said Ueltschi. “We drive them to continuously innovate and they’re open to it. They question their own processes too. And they listen to us and our customers on what the market and what we really need. In the last two months, we’ve specifically created an additional solution for one customer that we’re planning on applying and deploying across all customers in the U.S.”
There’s a tendency in the industry for 3PLs to build technology solutions internally, but Peyer, who spent 28 years working for two large 3PLs, now understands the importance of 3PLs and shippers keeping an eye on the market outside their four walls and partnering with startups for technology solutions.
“Startups can operate vastly quicker than any other organization because the organizations are usually so deep with hierarchies and approval processes,” said Peyer. “If we find a cool feature, we can deploy in a matter of days.”
One of ClockWork’s features — its driver rating capability — gives ClockWork what Peyer calls an “Uber effect.”
“You never see a two-star Uber driver because when they’ve delivered bad performances, nobody will ever use them again,” said Peyer. “In the trucking scenario, the anonymous driver is not incentivized based on performance and therefore the industry continues to work with drivers who are willing to accept the lowest possible rate. That’s where we believe we’re going to make a difference.
“The Clockwork platform enables carriers and drivers to be recognized for their good work. The days of trusting your delivery to an anonymous carrier selected by a margin-hungry broker are over. A local driver in a fast-growing market now becomes a valuable extension of your logistics team.”