Truckers, fleet managers, and brokers face any number of regulatory tasks, load optimization and business decisions every single day. Add to that the decision on which technology, software or service best helps manage those tasks, and the chore becomes overwhelming.
But one goal of Transparency 19 was to help all stakeholders discern what is the best available in the market today. Out of the numerous vendors and solutions that presented their wares at Transparency 19, here are the Best in Show winners.
Chicago-based HubTran has created a web-based platform that can help third-party logistics providers (3PLs) and freight brokers process invoices and other documents from carriers and factors. Optical character recognition allows direct scanning of invoices into the HubTran system, and artificial intelligence pares the invoice’s details. Customers can set up rules for parsing invoices and HubTran’s platform integrates with major TMS and factoring providers. “If you’re a broker or 3PL, you probably have a back office full of people processing paperwork from carriers,” HubTran Chief Technology Officer Mike Mangino said. “We aim to make that more efficient.”
The San Francisco-based company is expanding well beyond its origins as a maker of electronic logging devices. From that one touchpoint in the cab, it is looking to make a complete fleet management system that includes logging hours of service, driver performance data and video system monitoring. It is also adding freight matching based on data from a driver’s preferred lanes. “We serve large and small fleets alike and we have a critical amount of data around their operating characteristics,” said KeepTruckin Chief Executive Officer Shoaib Makani. The company is also looking to add trailer tracking technology in the near future.
J.B. Hunt 360
One of the leading U.S. intermodal players, J.B. Hunt has been, well, on the hunt for ways to tap owner-operator networks. Its Carrier 360 app is already one of the most widely downloaded freight matching apps. To that, J.B. Hunt has added additional features such as load details, favored routes and recommended loads. It added to that with 360box, a service that gives small carriers access to drop-and-hook freight. Drop-and-hook moves have traditionally been the purview of major carriers with spare trailer capacity. But utilizing its own network of 500 trailers, 360box allows shippers to reserve capacity and carriers to bid on those moves. “Customers know that drop trailer solutions are the next step in efficiency,” said Shelley Simpson, J.B. Hunt’s Chief Commercial Officer. “The trailer pool adds flexible capacity to a company’s operations, and the drop-and-hook service eliminates wasted time at the dock.”
Starting as an online load board, Boise, Idaho-based Truckstop.com added Web-based access to a host of other business support services needed in the owner-operator market, including payments, transactional insurance, freight tracking and visibility, and a transportation management system (TMS). At T19, it showed off its latest addition, a “partner integration platform.” It allows customers to create and manage their own marketplaces for freight. One new feature is a tool for contract rate benchmarking developed with consultancy Chainalytics that provides benchmarks for contract rates versus spot rates.
Chatbots are making their way into a host of customer service uses. Chicago-based Fraight AI showed off its version for the freight brokerage industry, known as “Archie.” Archie is an artificial intelligence-powered platform that can handle the less critical communications occurring between a broker and a driver. Archie helps freight brokers easily determine when and where a driver is available to help match a load. That allows brokers to focus on edge cases where human intervention is needed.
The array of new apps and online resources for drivers means constant change for fleet managers. San Diego’s Platform Science helps fleets roll out new apps and other resources quickly through its developer tools. Using existing TMS and fleet management software, Platform Science “allows fleets to choose what apps they use, create their own apps and manage them all in a single environment,” said Chief Technology Officer Jake Fields. That can include new apps to help drivers manage their driving logs, fill out vehicle inspections, see pay information and their loads for the day.
TriumphPay is already a leading provider of payment solutions for freight brokers, managing $7 billion per year in payments to over 70,000 carriers. To further drive usability, TriumphPay is adding features such as working more closely with major TMS and back-office accounting systems. “The way we help drive efficiency is we have tools for carriers to submit paperwork to you in a structured format and integrate into your TMS and accounting systems,” Executive Vice President Jordan Graft said. For drivers, TriumphPay has also created a mobile app. It allows carriers to find their broker, select the load they want to bill, scan proof-of-delivery paperwork and add any accessorial charges.
Amid the plethora of loads available on freight matching apps, the real question becomes which to accept or reject? Reston, Virginia-based Trucker Tools aims to take at least some of the guesswork out of that with its Smart Capacity platform. Using real-time data and algorithms, Smart Capacity helps brokers predict when and where capacity will become available. With over 600,000 downloads for its mobile app, Smart Capacity taps a broad network of owner operators for capacity. The apps means brokers have to make fewer phone calls to cover a load. “Our goal is to reduce your costs of covering loads, so we’re putting everything on one platform,” Trucker Tools Chief Executive Prasad Gollapalli said.