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  • Writer's pictureCorey Coogan

The Power of App-less and No-Login Load Tracking

Updated: Aug 15, 2023


March 25th, 2021




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Getting reliable tracking updates doesn’t have to be a challenge.



Where is my truck? Is it on time? Is it going to be late? These are common questions asked by many Brokers, 3PLs, and Shippers. Unfortunately, there is not always an easy way to capture this information. The “Amazon Effect” has created a world where many think they should be able to see their truck on a map at any given time – but many carriers do not have the technology in place to meet such expectations. The end result has been an influx of new apps meant to bridge this technological divide – Shippers and Brokers alike have begun to try to take advantage of these apps, but many have done so without thinking about how the carrier may respond to a new tracking requirement that wasn’t in place when they began working together. Ultimately, the idea behind many of these tracking apps has been much better than the actual application and execution of those tools in the real world.


WHY HAS THE EXECUTION BEEN LESS THAN STELLAR?

As one can imagine, the requirement to run an app can be challenging for some carriers and drivers, as previously, many carriers were simply responding to check calls or just doing their best to show up at the destination on time. The inception of app-based tracking tools has had an unforeseen effect on how carriers select who they work with – and similarly, has also affected the carrier selection process for Shippers and Brokers. In a recent article published by the Commercial Carrier Journal, it was stated that carriers feel that they “never agreed” to the relatively sudden requirement for tracking apps and ELD solutions, and furthermore, many of them feel that these changes have been “forced onto them”. In addition, many drivers are opposed to running apps on their personal devices throughout the course of a haul, citing a loss of privacy.


WHAT ABOUT TRACKING WITH ELDs?

Tracking with ELDs can be a fantastic and reliable way to enhance visibility, but unfortunately ELD solutions can also be quite costly – and in some cases lead time requirements can strain the relationship between carrier and customer, ultimately reducing access to key tracking updates. It’s important to note that ELD solutions are not effective when tapping into the spot market, as ELD implementation typically only occurs with contract carriers. The use of ELD solutions also comes with implementation and monthly or yearly transaction fees, which often puts those solutions out of reach for many smaller companies. Although effective when used properly, ELDs are not usually the most practical solution for many Brokers, 3PLs, and Shippers.


IT’S STILL IMPORTANT TO TRACK MY SHIPMENTS THOUGH, RIGHT?

Although many app-based tracking tools present their challenges, it’s still hard to question the value of getting up-to-date tracking information for all your loads. Staying on top of shipment statuses can be a huge driver in providing a high level of customer service for many brokers and 3PLs – this introduces the notion of proactive customer service versus reactive customer service. Instead of waiting for a customer to call and ask why their freight is late, Brokers and 3PLs with up to date tracking information can instead reach out to the customer before that ever happens. This allows them to create the expectation that a shipment may arrive later than expected, and a customer will rarely complain about receiving this information proactively before having to find it out for themselves. In addition to the customer service component, complete tracking information can drive the creation of valuable reports that outline how a carrier is performing. Over time, it is vital for Brokers, 3PLs, and Shippers alike to hold their carriers accountable for their performance – without doing so, carrier service has the potential to decline unnoticed.


SO WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE TO THESE APPS?

The challenge is bridging the gap between evolving with technology, and working effectively with the carriers you choose to partner with. Carrier interaction and compliance is a two way street – Brokers, Shippers, and 3PLs need to communicate their expectations before diving in head first with a carrier. Additionally, carriers need to outline how they do things and what they might be willing to change to work with a prospective customer.


Now the most important component of all is finding the right technology to make these interactions simple, easy, and efficient for everyone involved – that’s where Logistically TMS’ patent pending tracking tool comes into play. The Logistically tracking tool relies on mobile and desktop web browsers and does not require carriers and drivers to download any apps on their personal devices; but still allows for map-level visibility into a carrier’s whereabouts. How? The secret is in the limited-use links, which will allow for a driver to simply click a link to provide their location at any given time – when the link is clicked, Logistically will pull the coordinates from that phone’s browser to show their current location on a map. In the TMS, users will set the frequency for how often they want the system to request updates on a carrier’s whereabouts, effectively eliminating the need for check calls. This way of tracking retains many of the main benefits of a trackng app without the barrier of someone having to install an app.


The end result is a clean and transparent relationship between a customer and carrier that allows drivers to maintain their privacy while also providing customers with the level of visibility they have come to expect. Without the constant need to make check calls day in and day out, internal resources can be freed up and re-allocated to other key areas of the business.



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