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Uber Freight gives drivers ability to rate shipper facilities

Uber Freight is giving drivers the opportunity to rate shipper facilities. The information can be used by both shippers to improve conditions and drivers, who will see the details of a facility before accepting a load. ( Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves )

Anyone who has ever ridden with an Uber driver knows that once you reach your destination, the app asks you to rate your trip. If a driver’s rating dips too low, tips on how to improve are triggered to help improve the rider’s experience.

A similar type of rating system is now being introduced by Uber Freight to help carriers, shippers and drivers improve the overall experience of hauling freight. Facility Ratings, available within the Uber Freight app, empowers drivers and carriers to help effect change at shipper facilities.

“It gives the network of drivers and carriers the ability to provide feedback on facilities they’ve visited,” Xinfeng Le, carrier product lead, explained to FreightWaves. “All the information will be available to drivers before they make a decision.”

Drivers and/or carriers can rank facilities based on attributes such as detention time, overnight parking availability, bathroom facilities, and onsite scales. Rankings run from one to five and provide some insight into the conditions at a facility, Uber Freight said. Drivers can also leave a written review.

According to a Zipline Logistics survey last fall, 80 percent of carriers said that there are facilities they will not haul out of in to because of issues such as inflexible appointment times or lengthy detention. Uber Freight pointed out that the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates detention time alone costs truckers between $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion in earnings each year.

In just a few months of testing, the new feature has led to over 10,000 facilities being rated, said Kate Kaufman, director of account ops for Uber Freight.

“I think it goes without saying that the drivers and carriers especially, have been looking to us to provide this kind of feedback,” Kaufman said. “I think what is really cool and important about this feature is the sharing of feedback with the people who can make change.”

 A look at a typical Facility Ratings screen within the Uber Freight app. ( Photo: Uber Freight )
A look at a typical Facility Ratings screen within the Uber Freight app. ( Photo: Uber Freight )

Following a driver’s rating, shippers can access the information and use the data/comments to make improvements, if necessary. Kaufman said Facility Ratings hasn’t been active long enough to see how shippers have changed, but she did get a positive reaction from one that conducted a trial.

“I have had conversations with one shipper who demoed it and they said that if they just staggered their pickup times, they could [improve operations] and they said it could save them $300 in detention time per load,” she said.

By allowing shippers the ability to drill down into individual facilities, they can see things such as hour-by-hour views of pickup and dropoff times and detention times and costs. Facility Ratings integrates with the current Uber Freight platform and app and is available at no cost. Driver comments are submitted with only initials, so there is a level of anonymity for drivers.

“That gives you really compelling, actionable data that can [generate] change within an organization, because it is backed by data,” Kaufman said. “Our shippers are excited to say the least. They now have the ability to take this new information and overlay it over other pieces of information.”

Nestle North America is one company that is always seeking a way to improve its shipping experience for drivers.

“To maintain a healthy, efficient supply chain, it’s key to prioritize carrier needs and feedback,” Robert Fisher, procurement manager for Nestle, said. “The data that Uber Freight is providing with Facility Ratings in its platform is a great validator for making improvements to our operations, whether that means reorganizing personnel shifts or even moving to a bigger facility. I’ve never seen this granular breakdown and level of visibility into facility activity before – it’s eye-opening, and exactly the kind of data we want to look into.”

Kaufman said the addition to the Uber Freight platform is part of a quest to improve both driver and shipper experiences and improve on-time performance.

“We really want to be 100 percent in on-time performance, but that is really difficult in transportation,” she said. “But anything we can do to get closer to that [is what we want to do].

“I think the key is to foster that cooperation between shipper and carrier [or driver] so everyone can profit,” Kaufman added.

Facility Ratings is available today to any driver/carrier using the Uber Freight app. It will roll out to all shippers in the coming weeks, Uber Freight said.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.

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