The logistics industry may be in the midst of a technological revolution, but owner-operators and small carriers are still the backbone of trucking. These small operations outnumber all other fleet sizes combined. They are also the carriers most likely to see their bottom line and time management abilities threatened by initial tech integration.
Drivers, especially those working in smaller fleets, often suffer from so-called app overload. They use different apps for different brokers, plus individual apps for things like tracking fuel prices and finding places to park. This leads to a cluttered phone screen and an irritated driver.
Owner-operator Tamara Brock notes that some of the apps she has been asked to use in the past are not even functional, amplifying her app overload frustration.
“Make sure the app doesn’t crash,” Brock said. “It doesn’t matter how great an app is if it crashes every time I try to use it.”
Brock also values apps that serve multiple purposes, cutting down on the number of things she needs to download. She currently uses the Trucker Tools app, which centralizes a lot of the features important to both drivers and brokers. It also doesn’t crash, according to Brock.
The Trucker Tools mobile app gained traction in the trucking community because, in addition to facilitating tracking and visibility solutions, it offers drivers useful information like truck stop listings, routing guides, cheapest fuel locations and parking maps.
“We are not just a tracking app. We are an app that helps the driver with a lot of things on the road. There is a lot of trust built between us and the drivers,” Trucker Tools CEO Prasad Gollapalli said. “Drivers get frustrated when they have to download apps from individual brokers, then another app for fuel prices and another app for tracking. By rolling all this into one app, we’re eliminating app overload for the drivers.”
Truck drivers, as a whole, do not like the idea of being tracked. Shippers, however, require brokers to have full visibility into where a load is located in order to keep their business. One of the easiest ways to help drivers warm up to tracking and visibility is to offer features that help them, not just the broker.
The Trucker Tools app has been downloaded by over 750,000 independent truckload operators to date. This is powerful because carriers with only one to six trucks move the majority of the nation’s freight.
Fleets made up of one to six trucks account for about 333,000 of the industry’s approximately 407,000 total fleets. Mega carriers operating 1,000 or more trucks account for only 278 fleets. The rest fall somewhere in the middle.
There are over 2.5 million tractors spread across all the fleets in the U.S. Fleets with one to six trucks account for 565,000 tractors. Despite their size, fleets with 1,000 or more trucks only account for 517,000 tractors.
Even though the largest carriers do not move the most freight, they do have a concentration of resources that make investing in technology and committing to innovation easier. For the smaller carriers, the revenue to make those kinds of investments can be difficult to acquire.
The Trucker Tools app is popular with owner-operators and the smallest carriers because it enables drivers to get connected and take advantage of technology without investing large sums of money in the process.
Trucker Tools helps level the playing field between the carriers that move the most freight and those that have the most money.