Choptank Transport accelerates growth, access to capacity with digital freight matching, carrier engagement, app-enabled load tracking from Trucker Tools
PRESTON, VA - Choptank Transport, one of the industry’s fastest growing logistics service providers, is rapidly shedding manual processes and digitally transforming its operations to accelerate revenue growth and build a more resilient, sustainable carrier network, through deployment of Trucker Tools collaborative applications for shipment visibility, carrier engagement and predictive freight-matching.
Last year, the company standardized on the Trucker Tools Smart Capacity digital freight-matching and automated shipment load-tracking platform, which is integrated with the Trucker Tools Mobile Driver App.
Less than a year later, the company is reaping significant operational improvements in load-matching efficiency and accuracy, “micro” carrier development and engagement, and accurate, timely shipment visibility through more automated, real-time, app-based load tracking – all of which provide strategic and tactical service benefits for Choptank’s shipper/customers, noted Geoff Turner, Choptank’s founder and chief executive.
“Size and how fast you can scale is an important aspect of survival in the brokerage industry,” said Turner, who founded Choptank 20 years ago with six employees, and today oversees a $300 million business. “You can’t afford to stand still and let technology pass you by. We felt a sense of urgency to adopt effective digital technologies to make our brokers more productive, wean us off legacy manual practices, do more with less, and respond faster and more accurately to customer needs,” he said.
“At the same time, we needed a platform and a partner we could engage and integrate with quickly, and that would grow with us over time,” he added,” giving us more precise information on available capacity. We wanted better tools to predict and execute the most efficient match of truck to load, and the ability to engage with far more small fleet ‘micro’ carriers. We are getting all that and more through teaming up with Trucker Tools and sharing those advantages directly with our customers.”
Prasad Gollapalli, founder and chief executive of Trucker Tools, noted that Choptank’s rapid adoption, and its aggressive onboarding of carriers to the Trucker Tools platform and its smart-phone based Mobile Driver App, has made them the top user of Trucker Tools’ automated load tracking services. “Choptank has fully embraced the potential of Trucker Tools to compress broker workflows, improve data quality, load tracking and speed of information delivery. Their shipper customers reap the benefits of more accurate, reliable, real-time data on loads and capacity, while carriers gain mobile app-based tools that give them access to quality loads faster, simplify tracking and provide management resources that make life easier for them on the road.”
“Micro” carriers – those with 9 trucks or less – and owner operators, represent some 80 percent of total truckload industry capacity. Choptank’s capacity network – its average-sized carrier has 5 to 10 trucks -- includes over 20,000 owner-operators and micro-carriers, and it’s growing.
Trucker Tools mobile driver app, launched in 2013, has been downloaded by over 550,000 truckers, and is actively used by some 110,000 small fleet operators, providing a critical mass of connected, independently-operated truckload capacity which can be leveraged by brokers.
“We’ve seen phenomenal uptake among our carrier partners in adopting the Trucker Tools mobile driver app and automated load tracking,” Turner noted. In the six months since launching with Trucker Tools, Choptank’s small-carrier base has increased from less than 50 percent to over 90 percent utilizing the GPS-enabled Trucker Tools smart-phone mobile app the automated tracking update features. “It’s a great benefit and a time-saver for our valued drivers,” Turner noted.
Prior to using Smart Capacity load tracking, to fill in the visibility gaps, his brokers would call drivers every hour or so to see where they were. In the evenings, they had no visibility at all. “Now, the driver doesn’t have to be bothered with check calls, the app does the updates automatically. And they gain a whole portfolio of tools [on the mobile driver app] that provide highly useful information, are easy to use and help them run their business more efficiently,” Turner noted.
And for the shipper, the value-add of a platform like Smart Capacity and a carrier network connected via a trusted, smart-phone mobile app, is peace of mind not only about where their freight is, but much more confidence in the projected time of arrival – and prompt, accurate notification of any deviations.
Turner believes that the logistics providers who are easiest to work with and help the carrier run continuously and get regular loads and reloads, are the ones who will be successful and grow. “Digital enabling technologies will help accomplish that,” he says
The digital evolution and convincing carriers to jump on board is not without obstacles. There is still a portion of the carrier community that remains resistant to smart-phone app or ELD (electronic logging device)-based tracking, seeing them as “big brother” looking over their shoulders. “That concern will diminish over time,” Turner says. “Those who embrace tracking are going to have the first dibs at the best freight. The guys who don’t want to be tracked won’t get the best loads.”
Turner explained that with every transaction Choptank has two clients – the shipper providing the load, and the carrier moving the load – both of whom deserve a flawless service experience.
Yet the small-carrier and owner-operator community is especially fragmented. Where logistics managers can improve the engagement process, know their carriers’ tendencies and preferences, bring these capacity providers more quality loads faster, have reloads ready and available, and help them reduce wait time, “that’s the key to keeping them rolling, and becoming a strategic, sustainable partner in their business,” Turner said. “At the end of the day, technology aside, this is still a relationship business. People want to work with those they trust, who do what they say and prove they have your back.”
Prasad Gollapalli, founder and CEO of Trucker Tools, agrees, seeing his role as a technology visionary who helps bridge the gap between the promise of digital transformation and real-world business needs. “I recognize the role technology can play in helping logistics providers get to the next level of performance – and fend off those who would try to disintermediate them,” he says. “In truth, we are an enabler. People drive trucks, deliver freight and book loads. The integrity of what we do as technology providers and how we do it for logistics firms and carriers is our currency of success.”
“Our goal is to be the best partner who helps our customers be more efficient, overcome obstacles, and strengthen and deepen that relationship . . . support that common mission,” he says. “And that’s to arrange and deliver the shipper’s freight efficiently, on-time, and at a competitive price that meets the shipper’s goals and enables the broker and trucker to make a fair profit.”