Brokers: Understanding ELDs, Tracking-Only Apps and the Real-time Visibility Offered by Trucker Tools’ Driver App

As the need for visibility has become more intense, the methods for tracking freight have expanded. Brokers and 3PLs may request access to location data captured by a truck’s ELD for the purpose of tracking freight. Freight brokers also may be asked to use a shipper’s proprietary freight tracking software or single-function tracking-only app. A third option is the Trucker Tools app-based visibility solution that simplifies life on the road for carriers and provides reliable, accurate tracking for brokers. In this blog, we discuss each choice and why carriers often prefer Trucker Tools’ multi-functional driver app over other load tracking technologies.

Electronic Logging Devices

Though ELDs are made to record truckers’ hours-of-service, they also can monitor speed, idling, hard braking, and a truck’s location. As a broker or 3PL, you may see ELDs as the ideal solution for solving your visibility challenges. Using a truck’s ELD data to track freight, however, is harder than it may initially seem.

In order to receive visibility data from the ELD on the truck hauling the load you’re tracking, you’ll need to get permission from the trucker. What we are hearing from our broker and 3PL partners is that it can take three to six months to obtain permission to access a trucker’s ELD. In most cases, this delay is due to the carrier’s uneasiness with giving brokers and 3PLs access to their ELD data. This is especially true with mid-sized and small-sized trucking companies, which currently make up the bulk of the capacity market.

Owner-operators and small trucking companies often are concerned that their speeds are being tracked or that their driving is being monitored in a way that could raise insurance rates. As a result, only a small percentage of carriers are sharing ELD data with brokers.

Single-Function Tracking Only Apps

Single-function freight tracking apps are one of the most popular ways to track freight. One of the greatest challenges with these tracking-only apps is that carrier adoption is usually low. To understand why carrier adoption is low, it’s helpful to consider the carrier’s perspective.

While your brokerage or 3PL may only use one or two different freight tracking systems, small trucking companies and owner-operators may be required to use a new freight tracking app with every broker, 3PL or shipper with whom they work. Each app’s user interface is different and has a learning curve. This means truckers are constantly adopting and adapting to new technologies. Single-function tracking apps also offer no value beyond tracking for carriers, which is why they often don’t use or immediately delete tracking only mobile apps.

As is the case with ELD data-sharing, carriers may feel like they don’t know with whom, for how long and when their location data is being shared via a single-function tracking only app. Instead of strengthening relationships between carriers and brokers, technology that lacks transparency can erode trust between carriers and brokers. If the carrier doesn’t trust the technology that shares their location information with a broker/shipper, that technology is not going to be successful in providing better visibility compliance.

Trucker Tools’ Carrier-Friendly Driver App Preferred by Truckers

Trucker Tools has created a rock-solid visibility solution that appeals to owner-operators and small trucking companies. The Trucker Tools free mobile driver app includes GPS-powered freight tracking capabilities, as well as over a dozen other tools that simplify life on the road for truckers. Carriers can use Trucker Tools’ driver app over and over again with many different brokers, 3PLs and shippers. The practicality and multi-functionality of Trucker Tools app drive carriers to adopt our technology at higher rates than other freight tracking technologies.

Another reason carriers often prefer Trucker Tools’ driver app is that its freight tracking tool provides transparency. When the trucker’s location is being shared with a broker via the driver app, the trucker receives a smartphone notification that this is occurring. The trucker can also see which broker/3PL is receiving the information and for which load. This transparency can go a long way in building trust with preferred carrier partners. The practicality, multi-functionality, and transparency of Trucker Tools’ driver app are why our 3PL and broker users realize much higher tracking compliance success rates than they do with other freight tracking options.

When the mobile driver app is used with Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity real-time carrier capacity and relationship management platform, load tracking can be set up to automatically turn on and off based on the trucker’s proximity to the shipper or receiver’s dock. This can help reduce check-calls and improve efficiency for both brokers and carriers. Brokers can view the locations of trucks easily in the Smart Capacity interface and address any potential service issues as they occur.

To learn more about Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity real-time carrier capacity and relationship management platform and its driver-app based load tracking, email or to schedule a load tracking demo by completing the request form.