How Small Fleets Can Level the Playing Field with Custom Apps

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Custom driver apps give fleets of all sizes instant access to big-time features

Large fleets have economies of scope and scale. Yet being small is not an automatic disadvantage. To level the playing field, small fleets can take advantage of custom driver apps to keep their drivers fully connected, inside and outside the cab, with all the tools they need to do their jobs.

Custom apps can make a significant difference to your drivers and they don’t all require large, upfront investments in technical resources or new software. Fleets can effectively build their own custom app through an online platform that gives companies access to the same pre-built components and system integrations as large fleets. Each of these components can be tailored to meet the specific needs and requirements of the fleet.

“It is really beneficial that we’re able to use what some of the larger carriers are using,” says Catherine Ezzell Joyner, President and third-generation member of Ezzell Trucking, a family-owned bulk transporter based in Eastern North Carolina with 65 trucks.

Empowering Smaller Fleets with Custom Driver Apps 

Smaller fleets can level the playing field with their larger counterparts by harnessing the power of custom driver apps. These apps provide instant access to big-time features, enabling drivers to stay fully connected with all the tools and information they need, both inside and outside the cab. 

By implementing a custom driver app, smaller fleets can experience significant benefits, including improved driver experiences, real-time updates, unified workflows, and increased efficiency. The experience and success that Ezzell Trucking has had illustrates the transformative impact that custom apps can have on smaller fleets, enhancing their operations and putting them on par with bigger, more technologically advanced fleets. 

Custom Driver Apps Make A Significant Difference For Fleets Of All Sizes

Small fleets like Ezzell Trucking that use a custom app platform from Eleos are experiencing large-scale benefits in four important areas:

1. Improved Driver Experience

With a custom app, fleets can design unique workflows that account for differences in the data and documentation needs of each customer,  eliminating paper-based processes and improving service and driver job satisfaction.

Ezzell’s previous ELD telematics solution took 30 to 60 minutes to update information on an in-cab workflow application. The latency became a constant source of frustration among drivers. Today, drivers stay connected in real-time on Ezzell’s custom app that runs on their personal mobile devices as well as their in-cab tablets. Drivers are no longer waiting for updates and stay connected inside AND outside the cab. 

“The new custom app is much more user-friendly, and our trainers have an easier time showing new hires how to operate the intuitive screens,” said Ezzell. “Our drivers like the streamlined workflow and the fact that the workflow is in real-time.”

2. Real-Time Updates 

Lacking a tool to gather information and documents from drivers can negatively impact a fleet’s ability to bill customers, complete payroll, and root out inefficiencies.

A custom app that gives fleets and drivers a reliable channel to exchange data and messages creates real-time visibility and automation. For Ezzel, having an app that is accessible from multiple operating systems on smartphones is also an important part of their business continuity plan.

“With our custom app, management has a clear image of exactly what loads were moved last week, yesterday, and in the last hour, and the relative KPIs can provide a much better indication of where we need to focus efforts,” Ezzell said. “Driver dispatches are done in real-time and workflow can be completed quickly. Drivers are able to see changes instantly and their manual inputs in the new workflow have been greatly reduced.”

3. More Efficient Workflows

Custom apps that integrate with existing systems deliver a fast return on investment by unifying processes. Eleos has many pre-built integrations with third-party systems that power real-time shipment tracking, driver performance metrics, automated dispatch, and more. 

Smaller fleets that use the custom app platform with pre-built system integrations can deploy solutions quickly and benefit from automated updates and access to new features. Ezzell benefitted immediately from having an app that integrates with its TMS. 

“One of the best benefits of being a smaller fleet is the ability to be flexible, innovative, and quick,” Ezzell noted. “Those qualities are what we found in the Eleos app as well. … Using the same app platform as larger carriers has allowed us to adapt resources that we otherwise wouldn’t have known existed to creatively solve problems. … We have the ability to move our internal processes from a very paper-dependent process to largely automated, which has allowed us to have faster billing and payroll, and the integration capabilities that Eleos offers with our ELD partner has streamlined our driver’s day and allows for quick and easy updates.”

After engaging ASR Solutions (an Eleos Certified Integrator) to build a custom app, Ezzell began testing a demo app and integrated workflow in less than 30 days. The app is continually refined as Ezzell’s business evolves, but much of the development can be done by existing Ezzell staff using an intuitive online App Editor tool.

“We can make changes online without waiting months for updates. Again, those updates are instantly available to our drivers, which both we and they love. Our driver’s experience was improved basically overnight when we put the app in place.”

4. Increased Efficiency

Custom driver apps that allow fleets to monitor driver performance by gathering vital, real-time data can greatly improve fleet efficiency and help office staff make accurate, informed decisions.

“One of the key drivers of making the business decision to move to Eleos was the ability to get data into the hands of management quicker for KPI analysis,” said Ezzell. “We are able to customize workflow depending on the customer and what data is needed from the driver for the various customers. We have the ability to move our internal processes from a very paper-dependent process to largely automated, which has allowed us to have faster billing and payroll.”

Putting Custom Apps Within Reach

Custom driver apps can help fleets of all sizes increase efficiency and improve the driver experience. Smaller fleets that lack internal resources to build their own apps can use a modern, SaaS-based platform that comes with pre-built components and extensively tested integrations. The platform, from Eleos, removes the guesswork, expense, and frustration of building and maintaining a custom app. 

“If we tried to do this on our own, it would be next to impossible,” Ezzel says. “Using the same app platform as larger carriers has allowed us to adapt resources that we wouldn’t have known existed to creatively solve problems.”

Regardless of the size of your fleet, it’s time to discover how you and your drivers can benefit from using the same technology as the largest carriers, tailored to your specific requirements.

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