By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
TransPlus has released an app for drivers. Learn about TransPlus Connect here.

Trucking Technology Is Always a Wise Investment

Scenic view of a truck driving in the mountains
Blog

With its far-reaching influence on pretty much every part of the supply chain, it’s no surprise that the trucking industry is sensitive to belt-tightening. From fluctuating fuel prices to increased competition, any additional financial strain from a tough economic landscape can leave many businesses concerned about their profitability. Achieving and maintaining success in a wavering economy often involves finding innovative solutions that allow you to cut unneeded spending in many areas of your business.

While it may seem counter-intuitive at first, one of the best ways to cut your daily costs is to invest in the industry’s latest technology. From GPS to TMS, these tools are designed specifically for trucking and can improve your daily efficiency. Work can get completed faster, with fewer user errors, all while giving you important data to help make better decisions for your business. In an industry where time is measured in money, modern technology is the best way to “future proof” your business and help boost your profitability in lean times.  

Let’s take a look at a few ways that tech tools can help your trucking company stay afloat during uncertain economic times.

GPS and Mileage

While paper maps may long be a thing of the past, many trucking companies may not be taking full advantage of the GPS tools available to truckers. It may be tempting to use a basic routing app on your smartphone, but there are some drawbacks to using technology that hasn’t been designed with trucking in mind. The biggest issue being that the routes suggested by your basic mapping app may not be suitable for large trucks. This may seem like a minor problem until your driver finds him or herself stranded on a muddy unpaved side road, waiting for dispatch to send out a specialty tow truck to help get them back on the right road. These ill-advised detours take up precious time and can quickly eat away at the amount of money you’ can earn for that shipment.

Specialized GPS software, designed for and catering to the trucking industry, will construct a better route that takes the driver on reliable roads that have been guaranteed to be appropriate for the size of their vehicle. You can also specify that the route avoids tolls and further optimize the route so that you get the best dollar per mile for that shipment. These small benefits add up to big savings.

Another reason to deter your drivers from using basic routing apps is to limit the number of wage disputes you may encounter when drivers are paid per mile. By getting everyone on the same page about GPS and mapping tools, you're providing much-needed transparency that helps drivers understand why the mapping apps on their phone may not provide the same mileage calculations as the software used to calculate the original route. The more clear things are before a trip starts, the less time, energy, and money is spent discussing trip miles later on.

Telematics

Telematics devices are becoming standard for many fleets, especially with most jurisdictions adopting ELD mandates. While acquiring, installing, and training drivers and support staff on how to use telematics devices and software may seem like an extra headache, the benefits can be huge.

Any device that provides workflow, which automatically completes stops on a trip when a truck carrying the device breaches a pre-defined geofence, can help you improve your tracking and tracing, meaning that dispatch spends less time trying to figure out where a load is. Workflow can also be integrated with your transportation management software so that you can keep track of the status of multiple trips at once, while using the information collected by these devices to help keep the other parts of your business humming like a well-oiled machine.

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) can elicit mixed responses depending on who you are talking to, but at the end of the day these devices keep your drivers safe and allows you to keep an eye on any habits that may be costing you money. Some ELD can provide data on when a driver performs a hard brake, which can result in wear and tear on your equipment that may require premature repair and even replacement. ELDs with cabin-facing cameras can also help you understand when your driver may not be paying the most attention to the road, which can open opportunities to discuss better driving habits that can improve your fleet’s overall fuel efficiency.

Telematics devices also keep track of driver’s hours, which makes payroll less stressful for drivers and your support teams. Efficient payroll practices means that less money is being thrown into the void.

Driver-specific Apps

Smartphones are becoming an essential part of a driver’s day-to-day life, and for good reason. The wide variety of apps that can be installed on mobile devices means that drivers can be more productive during work hours, and relax more effectively during their down-time.

Many driver-focused apps exist, and while some of them maybe free there are some apps that cost money to acquire. Whether you adopt one as a requirement for your business operations depends on a number of factors:

1.      Ease of onboarding new drivers

You spend enough time trying to set your drivers up for success. If it’s hard to get them started using an app, that’s time that’s being wasted and money that could be better spent elsewhere

2.      Simple for day-to-day use

Any app that you invest in should integrate seamlessly with a driver’s workday. It shouldn’t be overly complicated or inconvenient to use

3.      Replaces inefficient processes

Identify your pain points – if using an app can solve a problem, that’s money well spent

 

There are plenty of niche apps, but you should consider adding apps that provide many services in one. The best example of this is an app designed to be used with your TMS. Connecting your drivers and dispatch effectively can have huge cost savings in efficiency alone, not to mention boosting your driver retention rates.

Introducing TransPlus Connect

Enhance Driver Relationships with the Ultimate TMS App

Asset Maintenance

Your assets, and the people who take care of them, are one of the foundations of your business. If you aren’t using technology to keep track of your trailers and trucks you’re risking throwing your precious dollars away.

Asset maintenance software not only allows you to keep an accurate head-count of your equipment, it also lets your maintenance crews keep safety information up-to-date. You’ll have a more accurate understanding of the status of your trucks and trailers, such as which equipment is coming up for a safety check, how many trucks and trailers are unavailable, and where those pieces of equipment are at any given time. As you are probably acutely aware, the amount of time an asset spends out of commission cuts down on the money you can get out of that asset. Adopting an asset maintenance tool can keep everything running smoothly so you can limit those unexpected interruptions to your cashflow.

Furthermore, these systems can be automated and can speak to multiple departments, cutting down on the amount of labour spent updating records in multiple places. Dispatchers will no longer need to spend time tracking down the status of a truck before they can dispatch a load, and your maintenance crew can quickly gather the information they need to do their jobs without missing a beat.

You may also want to look into software that helps you keep manage your driver data. The onboarding process can increase your paperwork immensely, and these tools help you keep information organized and accessible, without increasing the amount of paper and printer ink you need to keep in stock. A better process for driver onboarding can also benefit your retention rates since you’ll be setting your new drivers and your company up for a more successful working relationship.

Transportation Management Software

TMS tools are a great way to keep an eagle-eye view on your business. A good piece of software should become the hub that connects all the disparate pieces of your operations, and over time builds a database of information using each shipment you complete.

When you’re looking for a TMS to help you save money, make sure you follow three basic rules:

1.      Scalable

You never know where your business will take you, and trucking can be especially fickle. You should invest in a software that is affordable for the size of your business, but also has the potential to grow alongside your business. Conversely, you should also consider software that can be scaled back in the event that your business can’t support the cost of maintaining it.

2.      Fits Your Infrastructure

A TMS becomes your central database– all your business information is stored in it. How you choose to build your infrastructure depends on your needs. Previously, the standard method for acquiring a TMS was to buy your own TMS server and host it on-site. Although this has its benefits, it’s often a huge up-front cost that requires maintenance and additional IT support. In recent years, customers have been finding huge cost savings by moving to a cloud-based TMS. This removes the up-front cost of acquiring a server and turns it into a much smaller monthly payment, where you purchase the space your business needs from servers that the TMS maintains. This also means that you no longer need to keep server-savvy IT people on your payroll, since IT services for your server will be provided by the cloud host – your TMS provider!

3.      Integrates with 3rd Party Providers

Throughout this blog post we mention many examples of products that provide an essential service to your trucking business, but these providers are usually not affiliated with the TMS you choose. That’s why it’s important to choose a TMS that integrates with these providers and can take the information they generate and join it seamlessly with the information in your TMS database so that you can get a full picture of the health of your business.

Acquiring Transportation Management Software can often seem like a daunting task, but this specialized software has been built for businesses like yours. It gives you the tools to streamline your operations and can eliminate many costly day-to-day activities. And while you may not notice it at first, the money you save on manpower builds up over time. A well-implemented TMS may even help you cut down on future staffing costs!

While you may initially balk at the idea of investing in technology when a rocky economic forecast is on the horizon, there’s plenty of reasons to explore how these trucking-based tools can help keep your business profitable. And even though some of the cost savings may not be immediately apparent, the many improvements to operational processes, fuel efficiency, and driver retention rates can all add up to substantial savings in the long run. All-in-all, thoughtful investment in technology is the best insurance against economic uncertainty.

Read our TMS Buyer's Guide

Navigate the TMS software landscape with our comprehensive buyer's guide - find the perfect platform for your trucking business today.

Latest From the Blog

Our Insights on Tech, Industry Trends, and News.

Scenic view of a truck driving in the mountains

Trucking Technology Is Always a Wise Investment

Trucking-based technology is one of the best tools you can invest in to help boost your company's profitability during uncertain economic times.
Read more
holiday trucking scene

Truck Drivers Thrive with Increased Communication During the Holiday Season

The importance of communication in trucking during the holiday season
Read more
Smiling Woman Driving Truck

The Best Mobile Apps for Trucking

Mobile apps can be an important part of running your trucking business.
Read more