Not every technological solution solves every problem that supply chain actors are experiencing within their position.
Some platforms excel in load execution, but fail to provide proper back office automation. Some applications provide visibility into available truckload capacity, but lack in less-than-truckload management.
These small, yet key gaps in automation open up the FreightTech market for companies looking to solve these specific problems by providing complimentary technology to large enterprise systems.
While there are a number of visibility tools and established transportation management systems available to logistics companies, they do not all have the perfect solution to communicate with drivers during transit.
Founder Ryan Rogers told FreightWaves how his recently launched product, TextLocate, offers a complimentary subscription-based service to these industry tools to help automate communication with carriers.
“I’ve coined it the ‘superpower of check calls,’” he 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.”
The product offers a simple, less invasive solution to driver location visibility. Within TextLocate’s platform, operations team members enter in the load identification number and a driver’s phone number into the system, which 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.
With the growing number of visibility and location applications, many drivers are hesitant to download applications due to privacy or safety concerns while on the road. TextLocate gives them an easy way to update parties with their location simply by clicking the hyperlink.
Rogers acknowledged this is not a new concept and that many TMSes 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 into operational teams as they wait for the drivers to respond.”
The tool also offers solutions to problems outside of basic check calls. If drivers are lost, operational teams can ask the drivers location and use the platform’s satellite imagery to help guide the driver to their destination in real-time. If the load needs team drivers to complete delivery on time, representatives can send texts to both drivers to provide confirmation to their customer that the load will be completed efficiently. Accounting teams could even use the tool to message drivers who have not sent in invoices or other paperwork necessary for proper payment execution.
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 also be included in the workflow of smaller trucking companies or dispatch teams looking for a convenient way to communicate with its drivers.
“This product is not a competitor to anyone, it’s a complimentary 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.