The current freight capacity crunch has made for interesting — and potentially very profitable times — for small and midsized trucking firms. Peak season — typically starting in the fourth quarter — began sometime in the spring and aren’t letting up as we near Christmas.
But as opportunities increase for trucking firms, so may disorganization and a “fly by the seat of your pants” management approach.
Fortunately for smaller trucking firms — those with under 50 trucks — transportation management systems are improving and being developed specifically for them. Axele, our TMS which launched in June 2020, has gotten a warm welcome as a feature-rich alternative to what was on the market.
The success of Axele represents that continuation of three trends:
AI for smaller businesses: Trucking firms, no matter their size, have to pour through reams and reams of data, both external data, customer data and their own data. Large firms across industries have learned how to harness this information to generate efficiencies and insights like never before. Perhaps for the first time, smaller trucking firms can now leverage the power of artificial intelligence to select the most profitable loads, plan and optimize routes, and assign drivers based on their hours of service and their preferences. Axele has a foundation of 20 years of experience building algorithms and AI used throughout the transportation industry.
The move away from spreadsheets and “borrowed” systems: Excel spreadsheets are so 2005. Unfortunately for full truckload firms looking for affordable TMS systems, they were replaced by these “borrowed” or hybrid software packages, typically customer relationship management systems that were tweaked (and not very well) in attempts to sell into the freight transport market. Axele was designed from the ground up specifically for the small and midsized carrier.
Better integration and ease of use: While the large carriers have information technology support staff to implement and train planners, dispatchers, and others, smaller firms don’t have that luxury. Because Axele was developed for small and midsized trucking firms, ease of use and the ability to integrate into existing systems was a priority. Based on customer feedback, the efforts have been successful: One customer commented that the software is as intuitive as the latest iPhone; another told us that his teenage daughter easily manages the company’s accounting with the new system.
Other feedback from the field includes:
Dashboards are cool: The ability to integrate Axele with the different systems — internal and external — allows for the creation of a “management dashboard” that offers a snapshot view of the business in one place.
Not just for dispatchers and planners: We’re a little surprised just how pleased accounting departments have been with the invoicing and payment tracking functions — both for drivers and for customers. Dispatchers and planners are obviously power users, but accounting departments have raved about Axele’s ability to smooth a variety of processes.
Axele customers: Let us know how we’re doing! What we can improve and what you like about the system. Not a customer? Let us know your biggest pain points! Axele probably has — or will have — the functionality and features to address those issues.