Truck driving as an industry has changed a lot over the years. One of the most recent changes involves customer requirements when it comes to tracking shipments. Customers have always wanted to know where their freight is and liked to be notified of any delays when occurring. About 10 years ago, to track, you had to call up a driver or dispatcher and ask them where the truck was. Although most trucking companies were pretty good at giving accurate updates, some were not. Miscommunications between drivers and dispatchers were common. In other cases drivers would be unresponsive and this led to a lot of misinformation and supply chain disruptions.
Thankfully today with our Sleek Fleet App it is pretty easy for just about any shipment to get accurate tracking data. This has led to fewer appointments being missed and has also made it easier for customers to get a heads-up when a shipment is going to be late for whatever reason.
While certain carriers require their drivers to allow tracking, there are still a lot of drivers that I talk to that don’t understand why they should have to download an app for tracking. I hear truck drivers say things like “I’ve been around for 30 years and have never been late…why do I have to download an app?” or “It should be illegal for you to see where I am.”
One thing that I think the industry has failed to do as a whole is to explain to drivers why it benefits them to get on board and allow tracking on their shipments. First off, when a driver uses our app we no longer need to call them or their dispatch. They can simply log on and dispatch themselves and that’s it, which saves everyone a step. I know that a lot of drivers hate getting calls or texts for updates and this eliminates that completely. Also, with the use of tracking apps it has been a lot easier to eliminate double brokers and carriers who consolidate or put a shipment on the rail. This is great for the legit carriers and drivers out there who are just trying to make an honest buck.
If that still isn’t enough to get everyone on board, customers and brokers are taking note of which companies and drivers are tracking. I know some brokers that are actually fining carriers if the drivers don’t track. While I personally think that is a bit too harsh, I know that the carriers that we consistently reach out to first are the ones whose drivers are helping us out by downloading our app and allowing tracking. The drivers that are holding out against this much needed change in the industry are only going to be hurting themselves in the long run and missing out on potential opportunities going forward.
Transparency is no longer a suggestion to customers and shippers but more of a necessity that will ultimately benefit everyone involved in Supply Chain. The sooner that everyone moves forward with these requirements the better it will be for everyone, including the truck drivers that are the lifeblood of our entire industry.
This blog was written by Matthew Wall (Wally). Wally is a Team Lead for Driver Engagement at Sleek Technologies, and has worked extensively with the trucking community.