Rapid-fire pitch: Smart Capacity tries to cut through all the clutter

Too much information.

That’s the problem Prasad Gollapalli, founder and CEO of Trucker Tools, says is one of the biggest for third-party logistics companies (3PLs). Lots of calls and emails come in, and the tools that are out there are simply inadequate to allow companies to handle all that information that is coming through emails, telephone calls and other forms of communication.

Trucker Tools’ solution is its Smart Capacity platform, which it presented at Marketwaves18 in Dallas. Trucker Tools’ goal is to provide a solution to the three big problems that Gollapalli said all 3PLs face.

One is that “there are too many calls to cover,” he said. Covering one load can take a broker between 30 and 40 calls, according to Gollapalli.

The second big problem Smart Capacity tackles is what Gollapalli called the “one-load wonders.” “What we mean is that brokers book a carrier, and after the carrier delivers the load, that carrier falls off the system,” he said. “This is a very serious problem because it increases the cost of covering a load.”

A third problem that Smart Capacity targets is that “there are multiple sources of capacity, but there is not one accurate source,” Gollapalli said. Finally, brokers are dealing with the fact that there are “many Uberized models that want to disrupt the broker model,” he added.

“Our goal is to take care of those three issues and reduce the cost of covering the load for the brokers, and also to increase their profits,” Gollapalli said.

The tool demonstrated by Gollapalli at Marketwaves showed a heat map reflecting available capacity, which he said is “built on accurate real time information.” “When you look at a particular load that you want covered, instead of giving you hundreds of truckloads you have to sort through, we give you all the trucks that are available,” he said. “But we put them in an order so that you reach the good trucks first.”

A “good truck” is defined by several things such as lane preferences and whether the truck will be available at the time you need it.

Smart Capacity also deals with the “one and done” problem by providing the broker with all the available capacity of a carrier. “Once you book a carrier it stays in your network for your next load,” Gollapalli said.

The Smart Capacity tool also helps the broker automate much of what is now manual work, in particular, using natural language processing to read the blizzard of emails and determine availability, match available loads, “and do that in less time than it took me to say that,” Gollapalli said. That deals with problem three in that it helps build an accurate pool of available capacity.

Finally, Gollapalli said Trucker Tools has always emphasized privacy. “We don’t share the data that Smart Capacity processes. We are not a co-op, not a public loadboard. It is a private network.”

Show More

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.