The need for speed when it comes to dispatching and managing truck shipments has been the driving force behind automation upgrades at TruckHub over the past six months.
A cloud-based transportation management system connecting shippers, dispatchers, and drivers on one platform, TruckHub was founded two years ago by Luis Lopez, a Miami-based truck fleet owner, “because I couldn’t find software that could specifically meet my company’s needs,” Lopez told attendees at MarketWaves 18 in November.
The upgrades – all aimed at saving time for the carrier, employees, and customers – were demonstrated by TruckHub technical product manager Robbie Dillon
“Time can be everything when trying to run a successful trucking business,” Dillon said. “And the biggest challenge I face with my team is creating a system that is both time effective and interactive, but faster than the current processes that the dispatchers are used to.”
When TruckHub was launched, it was with a 1:15 ratio of dispatchers to drivers. The company quickly found that data entry was the biggest challenge, particularly for container shipments. To solve the problem, it created “Portbot” and “MapView” to automate shipment dispatch and delivery.
After the container number from the customers’ delivery order is loaded into the system, MapView’s artificial intelligence (AI) engines take over, allowing dispatchers to search by driver location. The system lists all pending loads, ranking them by deadhead miles (least to most), supplying the dispatcher with the information necessary to quickly assign the loads.
“You can assign as many loads you want to a driver, and can also go back and see what you’ve assigned, and re-order them if needed, for the most effective route planning,” Dillon explained.
Algorithms built into the system create a “virtual” perimeter around a specific geographic location – known as geofencing – that recognizes the drivers’ pickup and delivery locations. If a driver forgets to update his location status, the geofencing algorithm does it automatically. “That way everyone involved with the shipment will be notified – even if the driver isn’t on top of his game,” Dillon said.
In addition to boosting automation for dispatch and delivery, TruckHub has built modules around driver recruitment, customer resource management (CRM), and trailer asset management.
For companies looking to be more efficient at driver recruitment, the module can centralize driver applicants in a way that assigns status based on their driving experience, which is constantly updated. The module sends an alert once the driver reaches a level of experience needed based on a company’s particular driver requirements.
For CRM, a module has been integrated with Outlook using TruckHub’s custom “Outlook bot” that scrapes every signature within an email that comes through a company’s Outlook system, and then qualifies a contact based on the content in the body of the email.
TruckHub’s asset management module allows dispatchers to know exactly the type, status, and location of equipment that is available for use at any time – for example, whether a piece of equipment is damaged, in the yard and available, out of the yard and being used, or is damaged and being repaired.
In other words, better information that lets dispatchers plan more effectively.