In this age of two-day home delivery and automated delivery notifications, customers expect visibility throughout the supply chain. Whether it’s the shipper, distributor or consumer, everyone expects to be able to track the progress of their freight, purchase or package. As a result, freight visibility (freight tracking) has become an absolute must-have service offering for third-party logistics (3PL) providers. Many 3PLs, however, struggle to successfully implement technology-based tracking solutions. They often find it difficult to get buy-in from small carriers and owner-operators, who haul most of the freight in the United States.
Choptank Transport has achieved significant growth over the last four to five years. At present, the 3PL moves more than 150,000 freight loads per year and its annual non-asset-based revenue is more than $300 million. With more than 350 full-time employees, Choptank maintains regional offices in Baltimore, Atlanta, Tampa and Denver, and is headquartered in Preston, Md. In 2018, it was ranked number 32 on Transport Topics 2019 Top 50 list of largest logistics companies in North America.
Choptank’s success as a 3PL is built on a 20,000 strong carrier network and a dedication to providing top-shelf customer service to its shippers and customers. More than half of Choptank’s carrier network is comprised of owner-operators and micro-carriers of 10 trucks or less. According to Choptank founder and CEO Geoff Turner, this is by design. He reports that the adaptability of owner-operators and micro-carriers and their willingness to carry special delivery, reefer, perishable and multi-drop loads has, in part, helped make Choptank the nimble, successful business that it is today.
Choptank recently sought an easy-to-use, carrier-friendly technology to provide freight visibility to shippers and their customers. The company implemented a well-known freight visibility system and introduced an accompanying smart phone-based tracking mobile app to its carrier network. Because Choptank relies heavily on owner-operators and micro-carriers for capacity, the technology needed to be easy to use, valuable to carriers and functional. However, most carriers struggled to integrate the smart phone tracking app into their daily workflow. The adoption rate for Choptank’s carrier network hovered around 20 percent.
The newly implemented smart phone tracking app relied on geofencing, which uses cell phone towers and triangulation, an outdated technology that is chronically inaccurate. Most carriers recognized that the cell phone triangulation-based technology didn’t work well and therefore chose not to install or use the smart phone tracking program on a daily basis. Carriers already use multiple smart phone programs and mobile applications during their daily business, so they were averse to installing the single-feature, proprietary tracking technology on their smart phones, particularly because it wasn’t capable of providing any additional benefits to them. Many truckers also were suffering from “app overload” and found that using the legacy tracking app slowed down the phone’s performance and negatively impacted their driving times and efficiency.
Choptank began using Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity carrier relationship and capacity management platform in 2017 and introduced Trucker Tools’ free driver app to its carrier network shortly thereafter. Choptank migrated to the Trucker Tools solution, in part, because many truckers in its carrier network were already using the free driver app. The Trucker Tools’ driver app does more than provide freight visibility: it includes 16 trucker-centric features and tools, providing information on parking, weather, optimal routes, traffic, rest stops, fuel prices, repair shops, weigh stations and more. The Trucker Tools’ driver app also helps carriers track detention time and provides load matching, making it particularly popular with carriers and owner-operators.
Choptank’s carrier adoption rate of the Trucker Tools’ driver app is currently at 85 percent, which represents a 289 percent increase when compared with the adoption rate of the previous smart phone-based tracking program. The Trucker Tools driver app uses a smart phone’s built-in GPS technology to provide real-time, accurate freight location information to the Choptank logistics team via the Smart Capacity interface. Since migrating to Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity and driver app, Choptank’s freight tracking location accuracy has risen from 40 percent to more than 97 percent.
Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity and driver app has increased Choptank’s operational efficiency by 20 percent. Choptank staff members can view a truck’s accurate location on a map within Smart Capacity and see if a truck is detained, encounters heavy traffic or is delayed by weather. This has decreased significantly the number of check calls Choptank’s staff members make to carrier dispatchers and truckers. With Choptank staff members spending less time calling carriers and truckers, they have more time to focus on delivering top-notch customer service and strengthening relationships within the carrier network.
The migration to Trucker Tools’ solution also has facilitated better relationships with carriers. Smart Capacity’s freight matching gives carriers access to freight that they normally would not be able to access on their own. Trucker Tools’ driver app offers automated communications, in-app document uploads and predictive freight matching, all of which increase efficiency in carriers’ day-to-day operations as well.
Trucker Tools’ freight visibility solution enables Choptank to offer the same suite of services provided by large carriers, but with a twist: in addition to providing visibility accuracy that is comparable to large carriers, Choptank can offer a top-level, relationship-based customer service, something that larger carriers can’t deliver. Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity and driver app are a win-win-win, benefiting the 3PL, its carrier network and its shippers.
Discover how Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity and driver app can increase freight visibility and operational efficiency for your company by emailing email@example.com by calling 703-955-3560 to schedule a demo.