Flexibility and efficiency are ever-present goals for the trucking industry as the complex nature of freight hauling has persisted into the 21st century.
Though innovations in “freight tech” have provided truckers with digital freight brokering, electronic logging devices (ELDs) for hours-of-service tracking and mobile apps for driver management, these solutions have become logistical asymptotes as the industry recognizes that greater efficiency has yet to be achieved.
But the abundance of freight-tech solutions also has contributed to marketplace fragmentation in which drivers and dispatchers commonly correspond across multiple platforms and mobile applications. Today’s fast-paced freight landscape demands smarter tools that can do more with less.
Enter GPSTab ELD, a comprehensive transportation software that believes just that. A product of UTECH, the fleet management software’s Swiss Army knife tool set includes an ELD compliance solution, an aggregate dashboard, asset tracking to crack down on theft, driver scheduling and management, and intelligent dashcam monitoring, among other features.
The flexibility provided by transportation management systems (TMSes) was once a privilege only the largest fleets could afford, but that is no longer the case. Trucking companies of all sizes now have the ability to manage and scale their fleets affordably.
“Software platforms are no longer a luxury use, it’s a necessity,” said UTECH President and CEO Yuriy Nekrasov. “Carriers can no longer afford to wait before implementing technology. Motor carriers today must ultimately rely on technology to survive.”
Today, the trucking industry as a whole can quantify the benefits of integrative technology. Nekrasov argued even the government wants greater flexibility to aid the capacity crunch as evidenced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s most recent revisions to its hours-of-service regulations aimed at expanding driver exceptions and modifying break requirements.
The need for greater control and visibility has reached a fever pitch in 2020 as the market continues to tighten after climbing from mid-spring lows. Spot rates for dry van truckload, ocean containers and intermodal containers are all hitting multiyear highs. Employment figures are also steadily rising as the truck transportation sector added 10,000 jobs in August — the fifth-biggest one-month gain on record since 2010.
UTECH Vice President Jason Barnes asserted that aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, profit compressions resulting from regulatory changes in addition to rising driver wages and insurance premiums stemming from “nuclear verdicts” are hitting motor carriers the hardest.
“The trucking industry’s challenge has always been to do more with less,” Barnes said. “As competition continues to be fierce for drivers, with pay rate increases of 50-100% or more year over year, the question becomes, how do you efficiently scale your company while still maintaining profitability?”
Barnes challenges trucking companies to think simple. Rather than seek multiple solutions, why not just one?
The GPSTab ELD platform incorporates 25 load boards and is growing, reducing the need to use multiple systems. Barnes noted that a single driver manager or dispatcher can operate more efficiently within a single ecosystem. The platform provides the ability to track drivers in real time and locate holes and gaps in driver scheduling and offers expansive freight visibility through its aggregate load board.
“Dispatchers no longer need up to 10 different load boards open at a time to search for freight and use Excel spreadsheets to calculate the locations and arrival times of their drivers,” Barnes said. “All of this including managing their drivers’ hours of service can be done under one umbrella. Thus, GPSTab ELD does more with less.”
Nekrasov’s mission for GPSTab ELD is to fill the tech gap that largely separates larger carriers from smaller ones. He estimates that 98% of the trucks on the road are owned by companies with 20 trucks or less. Providing this overwhelmingly large percentage of the sector with an affordable and comprehensive fleet management platform will in many ways level the playing field.
“With its driver scheduler component and ability to book and find freight, in many ways GPSTab ELD provides smaller carriers their first foray into fleet management technology,” Nekrasov said.
Unlike other fleet management solutions, Nekrasov noted that GPSTab ELD doesn’t lock customers into annual contracts — users are free to discontinue the service at any time. GPSTab ELD grew over 60% between Q2 and Q3 and now has over 23,000 active drivers on its platform. Nekrasov attributed most of its growth to its existing customer base, which he said is thriving with GPSTab ELD.
“We’re still relatively unknown outside of the Midwestern U.S. but customers stick with our platform after giving us a try,” Barnes said. “Customer’s stay with us because we’re continually finding ways to drive value. Whether that’s through our platform or through our strategic partnerships with factoring and insurance companies, our commitment is simple—We help our customers maximize profitability and reduce overhead.”