Technology software should ease, not squeeze

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From telematics, to ELD and chatbots, trucking companies are aiming to keep up with the latest technology to stay competitive. However, no matter how impressive a new technological advancement is, if it’s too complex, more often, it ends up being more of a hindrance.

I’m reminded of my grandmother. A couple of years ago, I found myself faced with the daunting task of teaching her how to use Facebook. At first, the idea seemed overwhelming. My grandmother, while tech-savvy in many aspects, had little experience (and patience) with social media platforms.

As I sat down with her and guided her through the process, I quickly realized the importance of patience, simplicity, and clear communication.

In the same way, it’s crucial to recognize that the goal of implementing new technology should be lightening the load for drivers and fleet managers, not to add unnecessary burden.

When trucking companies introduce new software systems to their operations, it’s important to approach the process with care and consideration. The goal should be to empower drivers and fleet managers with tools to make their jobs easier, not more complicated.

Just as I broke down the steps of using Facebook into manageable ways for my grandma, trucking software platforms should be intuitive and user-friendly, with clear instructions and accessible support resources.

[Related: More than half of supply chain and logistics operations prioritizing automation amid labor challenge]

At one of the panels at the Truckload Carriers Association 2024 in Nashville, I heard carrier representatives talked about how there’s a crucial need for technology software that simplifies, rather than complicates their operations.  

Carriers seek software capable of automating tasks effectively and reducing the burden on employees, sparing the company from additional hiring. This echoes the usual trend of powerful yet inconvenient outdated software. What people are looking for are intuitive and easily grasped tools that effortlessly blends into their workflows.

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One of the key benefits of a well-designed software platform is the ability to automate repetitive tasks and streamline processes, features such as route optimization, electronic logging, and real-time tracking.

The market for route optimization software is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 10.9% from 2020 to 2025, according to research by Mordor Intelligence.

With that market opportunity in mind, it’s important to create software products that lightens the load so carriers can focus on what matters most: delivering goods safely and efficiently.

Of course, the success of software implementation ultimately depends more on than just its technical capabilities. Just as I needed to provide occasional support to my grandmother as she navigated the world of social media, it’s also up to companies to invest in training and support to ensure successful adoption of software systems.

After years of constantly asking my help, these days, my grandma is the first to comment on all our pictures and can post a Facebook, complete with a caption, emoji and even, background music. 

For tech companies looking to cater to carriers and most especially to drivers, perhaps it’s worth remembering, if the software is too complex to deliver value easily, is it truly valuable?

While fancy features may be captivating, true benefit stems from being customizable and user-friendly for employees to easily integrate with the new processes. Implementing automations that improve rather than burden workflows is important. With patience, simplicity and a focus on user empowerment, companies can fully leverage the potential of technology, and hopefully, spare users from banging their head against a wall in frustration.

Pamella De Leon is a senior editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. An avid reader and travel enthusiast, she likes hiking, running, and is always on the look out for a good cup of chai. Reach her at [email protected].