Overdrive‘s sister fleet publication CCJ each month features an innovator among fleets with a focus on a particular aspect of the business. Last month, that innovator was the Load One expediting fleet, headquartered in Michigan and well-known among expediting owner-operators and small fleet owners.
A primary subject of the CCJ story by Aaron Huff, which you can read in full via this link, is its new in-house load-planning app for its owner-operators and drivers. Owner-operator Rick Downey, hand-picked as an early tester of the app, featured prominently.
On Jan. 9, Downey had loaded in Portsmouth, N.H., and was headed south to Norfolk, Va., for a next-day delivery. Downey had been to Norfolk two times previously while hauling for Load One. His own records show he waited between one to two days after unloading to receive his next dispatch. This time, he knew, would be different.
To combat the problem of extended layovers, very common in expediting, the company’s new app has put tools in the hands of owner-operators that allow them to be more proactive in positioning themselves for optimum dispatch, rather than sitting and waiting for traditional dispatch instructions to move. In some ways those tools are akin to demand gauges available to independents within load boards — or the search tools available on in-house boards for leased owner-ops or from brokers for independents — but precision within the Load One app is greater than a lot of what’s available elsewhere.
Developed with App Nouveau Canada, who also developed Load One’s in-house vehicle tracking app giving customers a window into load delivery times/location, the new Load One Ultimate Advantage Driver App was intended to give employees and contractors a tool that no other carrier offers, says Load One CEO John Elliott. Some features — like instant two-way messaging, document scanning and access to payroll settlements — are common in other apps, but unique features include real-time weather and traffic and a single sign-on to the company’s driver training and rewards web portal.
The stand-out feature, however, gives Load One haulers historical and real-time information on load opportunities and demand — and capacity. With a few clicks and swipes, Load One drivers can determine where to optimally position themselves for the next load. Before Downey had arrived in Norfolk, he used the app to decide where he would go after making the delivery. He used the mapping tool to see every shipment that Load One moved, brokered or turned down in the Norfolk area in the last two days, seven days and 30 days.
Green pins on the map show locations of loads moved by Load One. Red pins represent missed opportunities — shipments that Load One brokered or turned down because a truck was not available. Dark blue pins show current locations of other Load One trucks.
Drivers can limit their view to loads and trucks that match their equipment type. Downey has a tandem axle 24-foot straight truck with a 22,000-pound load capacity.
“That uniqueness alone narrows the field to promote productivity,” he says. “I see exactly what I need to see.”
Without this market intelligence, Downey would have gone to a truck stop 20 miles from Norfolk to wait. With the app, he saw this plan would have decreased his odds of getting a load.
Instead, he ran 100 miles northeast to the Maryland border. At this strategic location, he would be available for loads in three areas where freight had been “popping,” he says.
Looking out into the future, the owner-operator predicts the app could help him increase his number of loads and revenue by 10 percent or more this year.