Looking for assets
New freight matching tools increase search speed, usefulness
Fast, efficient dispatch is critical for all types of transportation companies – especially for nonasset brokerage and logistics moves. With truck capacity tightening, companies that hastily select carriers to move loads can be held vicariously liable for accidents or cargo claims. To address both the need for speed and risk management, technology providers continue to develop new tools and services for finding and dispatching someone else’s assets.
To improve efficiency, some companies that host online load boards and freight matching services let users input and retrieve information without entering a website. Brokerage and logistics companies using Internet Truckstop (www.truckstop.com) can subscribe to its Truck Export Web service to download truck postings into their dispatch systems on a scheduled basis.
Since 2007, TransCore has offered a Web services interface called Connexion for its online 3sixty Freight Match service and DAT Network (www.3sixty.transcore.com). The interface establishes a real-time communications link to 3sixty Freight Match by embedding XML code into companies’ native dispatch and other software systems.
Through the Connexion interface, McLeod Software’s PowerBroker enterprise management system for brokerage and logistics providers lets users search for a particular load – by trailer type, pickup-and-delivery date, etc. – from within the dispatch screen. PowerBroker then can narrow the search results from TransCore by filtering them through a carrier qualifications file. If a truck search returns a list of 10 carriers, the only assets that show up in PowerBroker’s dispatch screen will be those that belong to trusted carriers, says Robert Brothers, manager of product development for McLeod Software.
PCS Software offers the Express and Express Online management systems to both asset and nonasset trucking providers. The Express system includes an interface to the XpressTrax Loadboard hosted by PCS. Express users can post loads and equipment and perform searches through the load board directly from their dispatch screens.
Besides offering a real-time interface to online load boards and freight matching services, TMW Systems offers a “continuous moves” feature. Brokerage and logistics companies using the TMWSuite dispatch and enterprisewide management software can flag assets currently under dispatch. These trucks will show up as available equipment in TMWSuite at the location, date and time after their load delivers.
Getloaded.com plans to take searches on its load board to the next level by incorporating predictive modeling. Instead of typing in search parameters, the system automatically will recommend loads and trucks for users based on past search criteria. The company plans to release a portion of this next-generation platform in August.
To execute freight matches, brokerage and logistics providers require information on carriers such as safety ratings, certificates and insurance coverage. A new safety metric will be added to the carrier selection process when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rolls out Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 later this year.
Providers are adding CSA 2010 to their risk management services.
TransCore this month is releasing CarrierWatch 2010, an enhanced version of the company’s carrier monitoring service. CarrierWatch 2010 will feature safety scores and other metrics from CSA 2010, helping freight brokers, third-party logistics providers and shippers select motor carriers whose safety records comply with the most current federal standards.
Internet Truckstop offers safety metrics through its Carrier Performance Reporting service and plans to implement CSA 2010 into the service based on the information needs of its customers.
PCS Software offers an online service called Carrier Report to obtain carrier safety information. The service is $50 per month for unlimited searches and includes an interface with the Express dispatch system. Companies not using the Express platform can sign up for Carrier Report at www.xpresstrax.com.
Next-gen spot market
In April 2009, McLeod Software purchased iLens, a Web-based freight procurement, load execution and spot market software system used by shippers and freight management service providers. The revenue model for iLens is to create money-saving carrier rate guides without beating carriers up over pricing. The iLens system includes a Spot Market for shippers and freight management service providers to offer asset-based carriers visibility to freight not already under contract.
McLeod Software currently is offering clients on PowerBroker and its LoadMaster carrier platform free access to the iLens Spot Market (www.myilens.com). Customers using the PowerBroker platform can list available loads in the iLens Spot Market electronically through the Private Notification Network (PNN) feature. The iLens Spot Market has between 100 and 400 available loads daily, says Mike Voelk, vice president of sales for McLeod iLens.
In the future, McLeod iLens will enable brokers and carriers not only to match freight through the Spot Market but also to bid, tender, track and pay for loads electronically. The Spot Market also will include two-way integration with carrier dispatch systems to exchange information such as drivers’ hours of service and satellite tracking for arrival times and electronic proof of delivery, Voelk says.
Another type of next-generation spot market is being developed for smartphone platforms such as the BlackBerry, iPhone and Android. These mobile tools will increase visibility of trucks for freight brokers and loads for owner-operators.
PCS Software recently designed iLoadFinder, an application for Apple’s iPhone platform, for owner-operators to search for loads on the XpressTrax Loadboard at www.xpresstrax.com.
In February, the Internet Truckstop released uDrove, a compliance management tool for drivers to use on smartphone platforms. The company plans to include a load search function for uDrove later this year.
Getloaded.com recently released the iGetloaded app for the iPhone. With a push of a button, the application uses the GPS in the smartphone to search for loads leaving from the driver’s vicinity. By pushing the “Go Home” button, the application searches for loads, based on trailer type, that return the driver home from his current location. By pressing another button, the driver can call a load poster directly from his search results.
Since the release of the iGetloaded app in late March, more than 1,500 users have downloaded the application, says Bryan Jones, president. “Drivers are so much more comfortable using cell phones than laptops.” n
* McLeod Software (www.mcleodsoftware.com) said flatbed/heavy-haul carrier Vision Logistics Holding Corp. selected its LoadMaster carrier, PowerBroker brokerage, Hire Power driver recruitment and DocumentPower Enterprise imaging management systems.
* ALK Technologies (www.alk.com) announced CoPilot Live Truck v8, a voice-guided GPS navigation software designed specifically for trucking that runs on a range of GPS-enabled mobile devices, including Windows Mobile devices, laptops, iPhone and iPad 3G.
* Rair (www.rairtech.com), a provider of risk management services to the transportation industry, said Schneider National had selected its reporting modules for its electronic onboard recorder system from Qualcomm.
* TeleNav (www.telenav.com) announced the availability of its business mobility products for Verizon Wireless enterprise customers. TeleNav says its solutions allow field personnel to manage their work and exchange data with back-office systems using smartphones.
* Operating Tax Systems (www.ots.net) has been selected by Nashville, Tenn.-based Western Express to handle fuel tax compliance services for its 2,500 satellite-tracked power units. OTS, using its paperless solution, will prepare Western Express’ IFTA and mileage tax returns by capturing GPS data directly from the company’s power units.
* Par Logistics Management Systems (www.parlms.com) was selected by Target Corp. to provide reefer monitoring through Par’s LMS RT-200 system.