Falling rates and rising fuel prices in 2023 are eroding profits for motor carriers. Q3 of 2023 is shaping up to be more difficult than Q2 when shipper spending dropped by 10.9% and shipment volumes fell 9%, year over year, according to the US Bank Freight Payment Index.
Meanwhile, operating costs have risen sharply. A June report by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), “An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking,” tracked major increases in wages (15.5%), equipment payments (18.6%), and fuel (53.7%) compared to last year’s midpoint.
The ATRI report estimated carrier operating costs were $2.06 per mile. At this level, many fleets were underwater in Q3. Diesel prices increased by nearly 60 cents per gallon in August and national spot rates fell to $1.67 per mile, on average. Trucking economists predict market conditions will not improve until early 2024, ratcheting the pressure on fleets to find innovative solutions to deliver fast paybacks.
This blog explores a strategy to increase efficiencies by channeling mobile and back-office technology through custom driver apps. We’ll show examples of how top fleets leverage pre-built components and integrations from a custom app platform to give their drivers everything they need, in one place, saving time and money.
Integrating Technology into a Custom App
Research by Randall-Reilly shows that more than 85% of truck drivers use their smartphones for work. A custom app for in-cab tablets and drivers’ devices is the ultimate platform for in-cab and out-of-cab mobility. Drivers can complete non-driving tasks from any location, such as receiving and responding to dispatch assignments or completing a safety training module.
Mobile driver apps are commonplace in trucking, but many are off-the-shelf solutions lacking the capabilities to create integrated workflows. A custom app platform with pre-built components and connections to third-party systems gives fleets the fastest, most affordable way to make drivers and office staff more efficient.
With a custom app, fleets can give drivers seamless access to information. For example, you can give drivers real-time visibility of safety, performance, and compliance data by integrating the app with your ELD system. Similarly, you can give drivers access to pay information in the app through integrations with your accounting systems. Other possibilities include embedding truck navigation, real-time communication, a “find my trailer” tool, and online training.
All these examples and more can be included in a custom app, giving drivers one-click access to essential functions to eliminate delays, guesswork, and administrative burdens. Automating manual processes with integrated custom apps not only saves time for drivers but frees office employees to focus on high-value, rewarding activities like building stronger relationships with drivers and customers.
Streamlining Operations with Custom Apps
Let’s take a look at five examples of fleets increasing efficiency over the road and in the office with integrated custom driver apps:
- USA Truck: USA Truck, a DB Shenker company, has been in business for over 30 years. It had the disparate ecosystem of trucking technology to prove it. All this changed after the company successfully consolidated various systems into a single app to give drivers a single sign-on user experience for navigation, payroll, selecting loads, and more. After deploying the custom app with Eloes, the Van Buren, Ark.-based fleet saw driver turnover decrease to all-time lows.
- Knight-Swift: Knight-Swift drivers grew frustrated by jumping between multiple applications to manage loads and communicate with the dispatch team. The carrier worked with Eleos to integrate driver communication tools, fuel stop selection, navigation assistance, and document scanning into a custom app. This resulted in Knight-Swift significantly enhancing overall efficiency and driver satisfaction.
- K&B Transportation: K&B Transportation struggled with its expense management process for lumper fees. The company turned to Eleos and Add-On Systems to develop a function that ties payment requests by drivers and the management approval process together in a single workflow. The integrated app function automates 70% of lumper payments and other integrated features have significantly boosted dispatcher efficiency and improved hours-of-service compliance.
- Ezzell Trucking: Ezzell was encumbered by manual, paper-based delivery processes. The carrier wanted to embrace technology and worked with Eleos to deliver a fully customized app in under 30 days. The app harnessed pre-built components to automate processes and deliver real-time shipment updates, including document scanning capabilities that simplify non-driving work tasks. Today, utilizing their custom app to automate their processes, Ezzell drivers eliminate as much as 60 minutes of dwell time per load and have never been happier.
- Walmart: Walmart rolled out its NTransit driver workflow app to over 13,000 drivers via in-cab tablets. The app also integrates with the fleet’s ELD and telematics solution to deliver an improved workflow that has reduced dwell times by 13% while improving communication, on-time deliveries, and driver satisfaction.
A Transformational Opportunity
Embracing technology innovation in an industry as dynamic as trucking and logistics has become necessary for survival. Custom mobile apps can automate time-consuming processes to reduce operating costs, minimize errors, and improve driver satisfaction and time on the road. Fleets that deploy these versatile solutions to meet their unique requirements are staying competitive in the ever-evolving industry.
Integrating your existing technology into a custom driver app has never been easier. Pre-built components and connections of a custom app platform are an express lane to higher productivity and efficiency, all of which can be customized to meet your needs for any market condition.
Working with a reliable partner like Eleos will ensure your custom app is integrated with your IT systems and scalable as your company grows. As a custom app developer, Eleos understands what it takes to integrate and maintain solutions for the largest fleets by encompassing ELD telematics, transportation management system (TMS), weigh station bypass, communication tools, training software, and more.
Reshape Your Fleets’ Operations
If you’d like to see how we’ve helped other fleets create their own custom driver app, simply contact us.
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