Maddocks eyes present, future of technology

At Maddocks Systems’ 13th annual users conference in Tucson, Ariz., President and CEO Bob Maddocks told attendees the time is now to differentiate themselves from other carriers with technology. Maddocks predicted that many current opportunities will become standard for carriers to make new efficiency gains in coming years.

Trucking companies must have management systems that continue to evolve to simplify ever-growing corporate complexities, he said, as many carriers continue to broaden their scope of expertise. Sixty percent of Maddocks customers operate multiple disciplines including truckload, LTL, brokerage and intermodal, he said.

A growing number of carriers are using real-time reporting tools such as dashboards and KPIs to deliver information in time to managers for them to correct their operations. Many carriers also are beginning to geofence trucks to get indisputable data about arrival and departure times and increase driver and dispatcher efficiency through automation. Maddocks also said he is certain that RFID will gain momentum.

“Just imagine the day when your dock can attach a 50-cent reusable device onto a pallet or box programmed with the GPS location of where it should be dropped off. The driver arrives at the location, and the boxes are flashing and screaming ‘It’s me, unload me!’ ” he said.

Maddocks also announced several new software products at the conference, which drew about 500 attendees from the United States and Canada.

A crucial trend for carriers with cross-border operations is the onset of automated manifests for customs clearance at the U.S.-Canada border. Compliance to a regulation called ACE for Automated Customs Clearance soon will be mandatory.

“For those of us who sit on the sidelines for too long, it may paralyze our ability to perform cross-border shipments efficiently,” he said. “Once (ACE) becomes law, we will only have 90 days to comply. We need to work together now to avoid the rush.”

To meet the demand, Maddocks Systems announced a new product called eManifest. The product is designed to provide customers with cross-border operations a quick, easy-to-use and accurate way to send electronic customs documents to customs agents before arriving at the border.

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Maddocks also announced that users of its flagship product, TruckMate for Windows, will be able to instantly access and update any data, including dispatch and order entry, through wireless devices such as smart phones or Pocket PCs.

“Anything you can do in the office, you will soon be able to do untethered, almost anywhere.”