Freight Tracking Tools: Some Important Tips
There are lots of different options for freight tracking tools. It’s more than just GPS tracking. Freight tracking as a tool, or as an app, is about communicating to the driver. It’s not only about getting GPS locations. The GPS locations are great. They help check calls and eliminates the need for check calls, but we have to move a little bit beyond that, as well.
The more modern apps provide more than GPS tracking. We can then add on top of that and we can get PODs back in real-time. We can communicate information to our driver. We capture information such as the dock number that they need to bump up against, or the gate code to get access into a secure location. These are all things we can send back to our driver with an app or a tool that’s more than GPS-capable. And then all these things combine. We can then also get PODs back from the driver in real-time right when the shipment’s delivered. Or we could know when the driver’s getting close to his delivery location.
Freight Tracking Offers an Array of Features
All these tools combine into a tool that helps the driver. It helps the broker and the customer both know what’s going on. It gives them deep shipment visibility. They can see the tracking information for their freight in a much easier and more efficient way. What is common is how it’s difficult to convince drivers that they need to install an app. So, a lot of times, we lean into a non-app based shipment tracking tool. An example of this is MacroPoint. They’re the forerunners in that area. The downside to that is that a non-app based system requires GPS tracking by the cell phone providers.
Over the last few months, the situation has become more problematic with cell phone companies. Big cell phone companies no longer provide tracking information to end customers. They won’t do it without an app. With an app, that information goes straight back to the customer or the broker. This way, it doesn’t violate any rules or regulations in place by either the government or by the carriers.
Integration with Freight Tracking
With freight tracking tools, integration is a critical piece of the process. So, when we’re looking at this, we want to think about different options for integration. And those options should extend to both GPS locations. We want to know where the driver is at what specific time, but we want to see more than that as well. What we also want to see is the ability to get a POD, or proof of delivery, or shipment statuses in real-time as well. It’s about knowing that the driver is at the destination. It means knowing that the driver completes the tasks at that location. And that opens up other questions:
- How do we know that the driver has completed their tasks?
- What if we need them to take a photograph of the freight as they are unloading it?
- What if we need them to take a photograph of the POD or capture a signature?
There are more advanced apps, such as Tai Mobile. With these apps, you are able to give the driver a list of tasks that need for a location, if needed. This makes it easy for the driver to complete that list of tasks. They could do this without any extra steps or without having to make any extra phone calls. They can click through immediately when it’s done. Then through the TMS app, that information gets back to the customer or broker. This allows immediate visibility into freight tracking. It is a powerful tool to maintain communication between driver and customer.