Once considered expensive and enterprise-level systems reserved only for larger fleets, truck management systems — those that can track location of equipment, monitor drivers’ available hours of service, and streamline tasks performed by drivers and back-office staff — are now crucial tools for fleets of all sizes, not just those with hundreds (or thousands) of trucks and drivers.
Two emerging trends over the past half-decade have made adoption and implementation of new in-cab tech platforms much simpler than it used to be. First, smartphones and in-cab tablets have become ubiquitous. Second, the 2017 electronic logging device mandate created a window for new systems to be made available, and at low costs, for carriers across sizes and segments, especially carriers that operate in the mid-sized range of between 20 and 100 trucks.
As carriers large and small wade into 2022, it’s vital that they evaluate how a truck management system can cut costs and create capacity for their shipper and broker customers — then take necessary steps toward adopting a system for their fleet.
Short of the fact that a flurry of new systems have entered the market in the past few years and your competitive peers are likely en route to adoption already, here are four key reasons why every fleet needs to make adopting a trucking management system a chief priority in 2022.
They provide needed integrations with brokers and shippers.
Brokers and shippers utilize their own so-called transportation management systems (a cousin of truck management systems) to procure trucking service, determine rates, track their cargo, manage payments and much more. Increasingly, shippers and brokers are demanding visibility into their freight and better integrations into their systems from those hauling their loads (aka the trucking companies moving freight from Point A to B).
In 2022 and beyond, shippers and freight brokers increasingly will shy away from carriers who don’t offer integrations or access to freight visibility and will gravitate to trucking companies that do. They see these integrations as vital to fixing the capacity shortages that have plagued their supply chains in 2021 and busted their transportation budgets.
While a simple ELD access via an API (application programming interface) can suffice, that doesn’t offer the same benefits as a more robust platform does for freight-tendering parties, nor does it allow fleets to realize any further benefits beyond ELD compliance.
Tech stagnant fleets could lose business if they don’t have the proper integration protocol in place, and truck management platforms give brokers and shippers exactly what they want.
They create another front in fleets’ sustainability efforts.
Building a more sustainable freight transportation industry doesn’t just mean relying on better fuel economy, emissions-reductions systems, or adoption of electric vehicles to curb the industry’s environmental footprint.
It also means maximizing the efficiency of today’s capacity by making better use of drivers’ available hours and fleets’ existing trucks and trailers by limiting wasted miles and unused trailer space.
Truck management systems accomplish these goals in a few ways. For one, they give fleets (and brokers and shippers, by extension) the ability to recognize wasted capacity and work to mitigate it by zeroing in on deadhead miles, empty trailers, and under-utilized HOS of their drivers. Secondly, with more visibility for all parties, including shippers and receivers, they can help mitigate detention time at the docks by flagging that time, alerting shippers or receivers of an incoming truck to load or unload, and help reduce wasted fleet productivity (and idling emissions) associated with long wait times.
They unlock new load opportunities.
Tying in with the theme around sustainability, the right truck management platform will integrate with load boards and major freight brokerages, thus allowing carriers to quickly search for and book freight for wherever their trucks and drivers ar
In addition to consolidating the number of systems a dispatcher or driver must access to find and book a load, integrating load boards or brokerages directly into a truck management system helps dispatchers and fleet managers find higher-paying loads, reduce wasted capacity, and more seamlessly dispatch loads to drivers.
They streamline and automate tasks.
Among the core functions and chief reasons fleets should adopt a TMS in 2022 — they simply make drivers’ and back-office staffers’ jobs easier and less frustrating.
And by moving certain processes into the digital realm, TMS platforms can improve carriers’ cash flow by speeding up the invoicing process, streamlining IFTA reporting, tracking fuel spends, and reducing the hours back-office personnel spend sorting, indexing, and filing hard-copy documents.
For drivers, this means fewer headaches in managing and filing paperwork like Bills of Lading, as well as another route for maximizing their daily HOS clock. And for in-office staff, streamlining time-consuming tasks gives fleets the chance to upskill their workforce and create new opportunities in departments like safety and compliance and driver relations, or other areas of their fleet that could use extra resources.
Kamion, a truck management system, brings a suite of optimization tools to small- and medium-sized motor carriers, equipping them to operate competitively, profitably, and sustainably. Acquired by Loadsmart in 2021, Kamion’s mission is to provide end-to-end optimization for trucking processes and enable fleets to scale quickly with demand by helping them find and book loads from top brokers, automatically dispatch loads to drivers, manage paperwork and invoicing, track and manage compliance with federal hours of service and IFTA reporting, and provide freight visibility for shippers and brokers.