In a recent Lunch & Learn webinar with the Transportation Intermediaries Association, Trucker Tools’ Founder and CEO Prasad Gollapalli was joined by Leonard’s Express’ VP of Logistics Troy Wiitanen for a discussion on carrier visibility compliance. Leonard’s Express currently uses Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity and free driver app to track loads digitally in real-time, receiving real-time digital load location updates every five minutes. The webinar, titled “Measure, Communicate With and Coach Your Carriers To Improve Visibility Compliance,” focused on how Leonard’s Express is using a strategic approach to real-time visibility and its partnership with Trucker Tools to boost shipper service levels. In the webinar, Wiitanen also provided best practices that freight brokers and 3PLs like you can use when implementing a real-time visibility platform such as Trucker Tools.

The Role of Communication in Carrier Visibility Compliance

“As everyone can attest to on this webinar, customers — whether it’s a shipper or receiver — they want to know where their freight is yesterday,” said Wiitanen. “The days of getting the call after the delivery is missed are over. The expectation has changed there. Certainly we have a little different dynamic here with having a freight brokerage, but also having our own trucks, and we realize that it doesn’t matter if it’s our trucks or a carrier’s trucks. The wheels need to keep turning. That’s what it ultimately comes down to. So if we can be proactive with a receiver and advise them that we’re going to be late, which of course we hope we never are but we know happens, the more we can get in front of that, the better our chances are of working through some of those scenarios to keep those carriers and our drivers moving. That’s where communication is uber important.”

Wiitanen went on to say that the Leonard’s Express team is transparent with carriers about why drivers are expected to use the Trucker Tools driver app for load tracking purposes. According to Wiitanen, there are two reasons. First, the Leonard’s Express team wants to have visibility of the load without bothering the driver. Secondly, having a driver answer check calls while moving a load is a safety issue. Wiitanen said that for these reasons, load tracking with an app like Trucker Tools’ benefits everyone involved — from drivers and carriers to brokers and shippers.

Best Practices for Bringing Carriers On Board with Real-Time Visibility Tech

“Whether it’s the driver or the carrier dispatcher, there’s always hesitation across the board,” said Wiitanen. “For us, best practices start with just reiterating the expectations and the reasons why we’re using the app for tracking — that it’s for safety and not wanting to be a distraction. The reality is that we certainly don’t want to be the ones calling that driver at 2:00 in the morning. Another thing from a best practices standpoint that we’re doing is including our load tracking expectations on our rate confirmation sheets. We tell carriers and drivers that our customer requires tracking and that’s why the process needs to be followed. One other thing that we do — and actually we got this from the Trucker Tools team — is that we provide step by step instructions on how to literally download the app and accept tracking. I think it’s one of those little things that from a visual standpoint has helped with compliance.”  

The Value of Carrier Score Carding

“One of the challenges is communicating the expectations of some of the customers to carriers,” said Wiitanen. “A dispatcher or a driver may or may not know about some of those expectations. There’s also value for a carrier to score high on visibility because it might be worth a little something more to me as a broker. That’s a conversation that I would expect my brokers to be having with whomever that carrier is. It’s a “If you do this, then I’m willing to do this” conversation. We’ve got to achieve those certain levels on tracking acceptance and on-time delivery, but those are conversations that we need to be having on a day to day basis because ultimately we want to be a trusted partner out there. We want to be a trusted provider.”

For the rest of the conversation, watch the webinar on demand at https://www.tianet.org/business-services/lunch-learn/. Schedule a free demo of Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity.