Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) announces the introduction of enhancements to its TruETA solution for improved route planning. While estimated time of arrivals (ETAs) are not new to the trucking industry, the application adds a new dynamic to the solution—driver intent. The announcement was made at Trimble’s third annual in.sight user conference + expo.
Keith Mader, VP of analytics for Trimble Transportation, tells FreightWaves at the in.sight conference that transportation is unique as it’s “all about family.” Bridging the gap between their various sectors is key for Trimble. He says “the role of analytics is like a glue between the transactions from all the data coming in.” They’re all about “solving problems at scale.”
“These are human beings,” says Mader. “You have to have the human touch. It’s not robots. How do we take data and take the digital world and do something meaningful with it, do something human with it.”
With the goal of driver retention as key to everything, Driver Intent is another way of aggregating data toward the end of making it better for drivers. Most TMS systems allow for visibility of a route’s speed limits, traffic delays and weather factors, among other things. But, along with the enhancements to the solution, Trimble is offering two additional add-on modules for one of the most accurate ETAs—Driver Trip Planning and Out-of-Route/Out-of-Corridor.
The Driver Trip Planning module, which is a supplemental module to TruETA for TMW.Suite and TMWSuite, allow dispatchers to view how drivers are planning their trip, including rest locations they choose and durations of each stop. The tool, which runs as a module within TMWGo!, enables drivers to take into account their hours of service, and it recommends stops based off remaining drivable time. By knowing where a driver will stop, for how long they will stop and how their hours of service are affected, the Driver Trip Planning module calculates one of the most accurate ETAs from dispatch to delivery.
“We believe the fact that we are now able to capture this information will substantially improve the quality of service that our customers will be able to provide,” says Ray West, senior VP and general manager of TMS solutions, Trimble Transportation Enterprise. “Every system prior to this was limited to predicting ETAs based solely off driving conditions with no input from the driver. Now, we are able to give precise ETAs with the added information of how drivers plan their trip, including how they plan around hours of service regulations.”
The added benefits of these enhancements goes beyond just increased trip planning accuracy. Because drivers can pre-plan their trips down to the location and length of stops while abiding by hours of service regulations and meeting deadlines, they can better avoid service failures, abstain from planning while driving and maximize their hours of service, and will be more likely to retain their jobs. One of the best benefits for drivers is the ability to choose rest locations based off amenities that they are looking for. This in turn creates happier drivers and dispatchers who have an agreed upon, transparent schedule.
”Hitting the customer’s delivery window is no longer an aspirational goal for carriers – it’s imperative from a customer service score and financial standpoint,” says West. “TruETA helps eliminate much of the guesswork and manual data that comes with the trip planning process to help fleets reduce the risk of a dissatisfied customer.”
Another benefit of the TruETA solution is a new add-on for out-of-route and out-of-corridor for TMW.Suite, TMWSuite and TruckMate. Out-of-route and out-of-corridor enables carriers to see when drivers take an alternate route that wasn’t part of the original plan. The carrier can see how long a trip may be extended in terms of distance, time, or both. The carrier can also alert the driver that they have diverged from the planned route and proceed back to the correct road. With out-of-route miles being so costly, along with potential late fees, this added module can help with driver route compliance and help carriers better manage margins.
Out-of-corridor alerts can also help carriers better track their high-value loads or know when a shipment of hazardous material is not on the correct road. The alert acts as a geofence that can notify dispatchers whenever the driver is a certain distance away from the intended route. This can enable the company to avoid costly fines whenever a shipment of hazardous material is on a road that it’s not supposed to be.
With TruETA, Trimble’s transportation customers have the automated, cloud-based software needed to stay ahead of potential service failures, and they can avoid the added costs of hosting on-premise servers.
The TruETA solution now benefits both the back office and in-cab driver environments by allowing users to take advantage of ALK’s full suite of Trip Management services. Services include PC*MILER industry standard routing, which takes into account traffic and driver-selected, route-specific hours of service breaks, as well as ALK Maps visualization of live traffic flow and current weather conditions, including radar, cloud cover, weather alerts, road surface conditions and geofence alerting capabilities.
“TruETA has helped us with keeping track of our trucks and knowing up-to-date locations,” said Shawn Dancer, owner of Dancer Logistics. “This new process is much faster and more efficient. We no longer have to wait for the driver to call in for an ETA. The mapping within the agent is a great tool. I can’t imagine going back to the way we did it. This is one of the best products Trimble Transportation sells. It’s a must have.