Are you swamped with carrier data overload?
Like many in the industry, Quality Transport Senior Vice President Amanda Schuier was overwhelmed with data input. She was “living in the noise,” as she puts it. Mechanical repair needs, drivers running out of hours, next dispatch destinations, invoicing, payroll, maintenance, routing, dispatching, TMS platforms, site and security cameras and so much more; all the data was coming through on 36 different dashboards plus phone calls. She had several separate software licenses, users who couldn’t collaborate and drivers spending more time on the phone than on the road.
Drivers called dispatch not knowing where to go after their next load and not having the correct information or plans provided to them. The company had an outdated TMS system, was dissatisfied with their ELD provider and had maintenance software in need of an update. Quality Transport’s management wanted improvements in every area and wanted to be able to do more with less. In addition, they needed to filter the massive data deluge they were receiving and figure out how to make sense of it. And as a fleet, they felt unheard and unseen by their data providers, who seemed to care only about satisfying larger, corporate trucking companies.
Goals: Consolidate the Noise and Reduce Carrier Data Overload
Quality Transport’s goal was to consolidate the noise and bring as much of the data as possible into one pane of glass to help drive customer service. When Amanda started at Quality, one of her first goals was to improve the company’s technology. In addition, she wanted to optimize the fleet for better time management in order to use their trucks as much as possible. Enhancing the fleet operations and safety programs through data was also a goal, along with having the ELD and TMS working together.
Carriers need someone in place who’s dedicated to implementing the best systems for the business. It’s important that management realizes that it’s going to take time for an employee to do this and to allow them the time they need for the task. For Quality Transport, that person was Amanda. Amanda dedicated herself to attending the demos, testing the products and apps and learning how to use them. In addition, Amanda needed to spearhead the changes and teach these technologies to the rest of the company.
Making such large changes to a company’s technology is a big commitment. “It’s your job as a manager or owner to work as the beta tester,” Amanda says. “Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions and call possible vendors multiple times a day if needed. Finding a vendor who is responsive and answers your questions is important.”
Amanda knew the company needed a constant revenue metric to challenge the team and grow the fleet. She wasn’t willing to give up the things she wanted for the business operation and wasn’t afraid to push back against the vendors and ask questions.
Suggestions for Carriers Starting the Process
Having learned from experience, Amanda has some suggestions for those starting their search. Both Amanda and Robert Ramirez, Sales Manager at Axele, recommend shopping around. Amanda talked to many vendors, some with 30-day free trials. She suggests making a checklist of what you’re looking for and spending time asking providers questions to ensure they’re a good fit for you, your budget and your partners. Get the integrations you need. Try multiple versions to determine which ones best meet your criteria. For Amanda, the main criteria were accounting, billing, hours of service and driver settlements.
In our latest report, you’ll find additional suggestions from Amanda on how to deal with carrier data overload, including:
- 8 key questions that help you choose any trucking technology
- 4 top questions to ask before choosing a TMS
- How to use SMART goals to implement your new system
- How to improve cash flow and speed payment with a new system
- And more