In October 2017, Elliott directed ANC to develop a mobile driver app with tools no other expedite carrier offers. Specifically, he wanted to give predictive information to help drivers make strategic business decisions.
Drivers already had the fleet’s Macro 19 message at their disposal. Pressing the button in the fleet’s in-cab mobile communications platform queries the Sylectus database to show the number of Load One trucks within a vicinity’s defined search radius, as well as the driver’s position in line for the next dispatch.
As new offers arrive, the standard dispatch practice is to call the driver who is closest to the pickup location. If two or more drivers are in the same area, dispatchers move according to FIFO wait times — first driver in, first out.
Another option for drivers is to call dispatch. Elliott says a driver might say, “Hey, I’m parked 75 miles west of Nashville. What are you seeing?”
To respond to these requests, a dispatcher might view a report in Sylectus that shows orders Load One moved recently in nearby freight markets. With this information, dispatchers can make recommendations for drivers.
The problem with the planning methods was that dispatchers and drivers lacked visibility to opportunities Load One had missed. Every day, the company turns down or brokers many loads when it does not have trucks available.
“There was never a holistic view of it all,” says Elliott.
In January 2018, Load One rolled out a base version of a new driver app, with the first iteration focusing on productivity tools. Drivers could message dispatch, scan trip documents, monitor past and current pay details and see the number of miles remaining on their current dispatch. They also could see the ETA of their delivery based on vehicle speed.
Drivers also could view their hours-of-service status through an integration with the fleet’s in-cab mobile platform. The app also gave drivers a single sign-on experience to third-party applications, including Stay Metrics’ driver rewards platform and Netradyne’s vision-based safety system.
Elliott wanted the next version to include a dynamic mapping tool to give drivers historic and real-time data on demand and capacity. With this business intelligence, drivers could make strategic decisions for positioning their trucks.
Elliott knew of competitors that gave drivers “heat maps” of loads the company had moved in the past 30 or 60 days, but he says the data likely was not helpful. “A heat map in our business is outdated within days,” he says.
When Elliott presented his ideas for the dynamic heat mapping tool to ANC, “we took it as a challenge,” De Leon says. “We knew we had the data to do it.”
By January 2018, ANC programmers brought demand and capacity information together in an interactive mapping tool. The updated version of the app was named the Load One Ultimate Advantage Driver App and has the following planning resources:
- Preplanned orders. Drivers can view orders in their current area that are booked. These orders generally are more common for truckload shipments.
- Past orders moved. The map shows the origins and number of loads moved, by location, through Load One’s fleet. The locations of these loads are marked with green pins.
- Missed opportunities. The locations of offers that Load One turned down or brokered when trucks were not available are marked with red pins. This data comes from the bid response system the company developed previously, which tracks the offers Load One accepted and declined.
Drivers can view any and all of this demand data by the day of the week and by the last 30 days, seven days and two days. The data is matched automatically to their equipment unit size, such as a straight truck or cargo van.
- Truck locations. The current locations of Load One trucks are identified with dark blue truck icons. The map view shows drivers only the trucks in a similar class as their own. They also can view trucks by single or team drivers.
- Competitors’ trucks. Drivers can display the locations of trucks from other expedite carriers that use Sylectus. Competitors’ trucks are shown as orange icons.
This data comes from Sylectus and its integration with the Alliance Network, a private load board. Load One and other Sylectus users have visibility to competitors’ trucks for brokering loads. Load One is the network’s largest freight broker, Elliott says.
About the award
Commercial Carrier Journal’s editors recognize innovators throughout the year and select one for special recognition as the CCJ Innovator of the Year. Innovators considered for the current award were those recognized in the magazine in 2018.
Innovation in any aspect of the operation is eligible for recognition. To qualify, the carrier must operate at least 10 power units in Classes 3-8 and maintain a satisfactory safety rating, if rated. Selection of innovators for recognition is at the sole discretion of CCJ’s editorial staff.
This year’s award was announced and presented at the CCJ Innovators Summit, a networking event for current and prior-year CCJ Innovators held Feb. 7-9 in Key Largo, Fla. Representatives of the innovative trucking operations updated one another on their initiatives.
The CCJ Innovators program is sponsored by Cummins, Freightliner Trucks, Omnitracs and Shell Lubricants. For more information on the program and links to previously recognized CCJ Innovators or to fill out the online nomination form, go to CCJInnovators.com, or contact Jeff Crissey, CCJ editor, at 205-248-1244.