Some truck drivers are hesitant to download visibility and location applications due to privacy or safety concerns while on the road. A recently launched tool, TextLocate, allows drivers to provide their locations simply by clicking a hyperlink.
Founder Ryan Rogers told FreightWaves the subscription-based TextLocate service is complementary to other industry tools in an effort to help automate communication with carriers.
“I’ve coined it the ‘superpower of check calls,’” Rogers said. “There are millions of check calls being made across the industry every day. If our tool can help reduce that by 10%, it’s a huge win for teams looking to save time.”
While the product’s development was influenced by Rogers’ experience at logistics companies including U.S. Xpress (NYSE:USX), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Covenant, the tool could be included in the workflow of smaller trucking companies or dispatch teams looking for a convenient way to communicate with their drivers.
“This product is not a competitor to anyone, it’s a complementary product and the sky is full with unlimited opportunities to save time and build better relationships with drivers that is ultimately less invasive and easy for them to use,” he said.
Within TextLocate’s platform, the load identification number and driver’s phone number are entered into the system. That triggers a one-time request for a location update from the driver. Once the driver clicks the hyperlink within the tool, the system will automatically update the TextLocate dashboard of his or her current location.
Rogers acknowledged that many transportation management systems provide the ability to text drivers. But those often request the driver to still call or text to update locations.
“Even if you do have this function in your platform, it needs to be mobile friendly and avoid having to dial a phone number,” he said. “This system can automatically send out a text message to every driver in transit and offer that time back in to operational teams as they wait for the drivers to respond.”
The tool also offers solutions to problems outside of basic check calls. If a driver is lost, operational teams can use the platform’s satellite imagery to help guide the driver to his or her destination in real time. If the load needs team drivers to complete delivery on time, representatives can send texts to both drivers. Accounting teams could even use the tool to message drivers who have not sent in invoices or other paperwork necessary for payment.