Trucking data overload: How you can master it

Updated 12/15/2022: Axele is now LoadOps by Optym.

Are you a victim of trucking data overload, drowning in a tsunami of data but simultaneously wasting time and money with painstaking paper processes?

If so, you’re not alone. As Axele has pointed out, more than 60% of carriers in the market don’t have systems to manage their data; instead, they rely on Google docs and spreadsheets.

But the ELD mandate has forced carriers to adopt new technology to collect data. When used correctly, that data helps trucking companies begin to see trends they may not have noticed otherwise. 

It’s all for the better: In our connected world, virtually every piece of technology-generated data–from ELDs, telematics devices, cameras, and other safety products–can be collected and analyzed, then used to improve operations, identify trends, discover bottlenecks, and make informed decisions.

Harnessing data on the path to efficiency

So how can you cut through the data noise, speed task completion, and get actionable insights to ensure more efficient operations? Take a few tips from Amanda Schuier, senior vice president at Quality Transport Company, who found the Axele TMS helped her solve the problem.

You can get started by using technology that helps smaller carriers compete with larger carriers. Make a “product wish list” of what you want from a product, take advantage of free trials, experience platforms first-hand, and ask vendors questions to ensure they’re responsive and knowledgeable before investing. You’ll also want to look for compatibility in your technology partners and make sure you work well together. It’s also imperative to ensure that integration between your vendors is possible.

Speaking of vendors: Be sure to select vendors who align with your needs and provide products or services at a price that meets your needs. Enterprise systems can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But that’s not useful if you only use 20% of their capabilities.

Next, look into how you can simplify your fleet’s data collection and analysis methodology. If you want to integrate all your data onto “a single pane of glass,” make sure your ELD and TMS data streams are seamlessly integrated—creating a “one-stop-shop” for data. With the correct integration, you’ll even display key performance indicator (KPI) metrics.

Let a small sub-set of internal beta testers test out the apps. Amanda started withover-the-road drivers, who could upload all their documents and test them in the TMS. Then she tested the app on regional drivers and rolled them out to the rest of her fleet. By doing this, you’ll make training and adoption quick and easy for drivers and staff who are new to working in the cloud but will quickly pick it up.

Next, prioritize what to do with your data. Once you are better organized and consolidated, Amanda recommends starting with small, measurable action items. For example, revenue per mile/week and safety violations per month.

Meanwhile, it’s essential to walk the talk. For example, Amanda installed a two-way camera in her own vehicle since she was installing two-way cameras in Quality’s trucks. You’ll gain first-hand experience and show how dedicated you are to using the technology. You can also consider using data for safety initiatives. For example, dual-facing cameras will not only help you identify driver trends but let you use the data to provide driver training and coaching when needed.

Handle trucking data overload by consolidating data

You’ll eventually want to consolidate data and make it more accessible; for example, incorporating accounting, billing, Hours-of-Service, driver settlements, and TMS data all together on one screen. And once you’ve gathered all the data you need to get started, you may want to think ahead about how you can create a more holistic view of your fleet operations.

For example, data analysis can help you right-size your fleet. You can also identify dwell time at shippers and receivers, be more proactive with repairs, determine operational cost per driver and asset, use prescriptive analytics to pinpoint a tractor or trailer utilization, or even track driver detention time. Lastly, you’ll be able to evaluate customers and even develop shipper scorecards for more meaningful conversations with dedicated freight customers.

Start your journey today. You’re bound to gain many valuable insights along the way.

Quality Transport Company Senior Vice President Amanda Schuier has been in the trucking industry for a long time. While she is not a truck driver, she understands the needs and wants of drivers, especially women, in the industry. She uses Axele TMS to help deal with trucking data overload and find the most profitable loads for her drivers. Axele has helped her reduce the number of apps she and her truck drivers use while providing the productivity and efficiency gains they need. Amanda utilizes the data collected throughout her transportation processes to improve her business. Want to know more? Watch the webinar featuring Amanda now.

Or try Axele for yourself today.

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