Keep Truckin Inc has developed a mobile solution designed to help road haulage companies, dispatchers and drivers manage truck fleet schedules and reporting.
The long-distance road haulage industry in the United States is a $500 billion business. It is also highly dispersed, with close to three million rig drivers spread over 434,500 firms. Fewer than 300 hauliers have a fleet of more than 1,000 trucks and in general only the major trucking companies can afford GPS fleet management software such as what is on offer from Omnitracs and PeopleNet. Around 80% of all drivers own a smartphone, but most of them continue to manage their documentation using pen, paper and the fax machine. Moreover, road haulage companies do not systematically upload fleet management information online and so brokers have to call on the phone to find a haulier. Now a San Francisco startup with eight employees has decided to seize this opportunity by offering a mobile solution to help manage truck fleets and drivers’ timetables. Founded by Shoaib Makani and Ryan Johns, Keep Truckin Inc has already received $2.3 million in financing from a variety of investors including Google Ventures.
Mobile log streamlines haulage and driver administration
The KeepTruckin app provides a combination of Internet and mobile services designed to enable rig drivers to keep track of their driving hours on their smartphones. It records the time and distance travelled and creates a log which is sent automatically to the dispatcher. Drivers also receive alerts when they exceed the permitted driving hours or the speed limit. With the driver’s permission, the app also sends geolocation data thanks to the GPS of their smartphone, in real time to the haulage firm or shipper. The interface mimics the logbook format traditionally used by drivers so the app seems entirely familiar and intuitive for use by drivers. The app is also likely to be useful to an independent owner-operator who is looking for a low-cost management tool and/or a way to cut down on his paperwork. The information is stored in a Cloud space managed by Amazon Web Services. Keep Truckin services are currently free, but the company is planning to start charging a nominal amount per driver per month in the near future.
Further opportunities in several fields
With the increase in smartphone use and ongoing technological progress, an ever-greater number of management applications and software packages for companies, targeting a wide range of businesses, are appearing on the market. In this vein, the KeepTruckin functionality helps to simplify the trucker’s job by relieving him of a number of administrative and financial tasks – e.g. no longer having to pay to fax handwritten logs at truck stops – and also aids the haulage company by enabling dispatchers to track the whereabouts and logs of their truck fleets in real time and send information and messages direct to the trucks. Moreover, given this precise tracking capability, the large amount of information collected – including vehicle fuel consumption and trucker behavior patterns – plus an online connection, the app could well create opportunities for Keep Truckin to offer further services. These might include for example finding the lowest-cost factoring offer, setting up an automated brokerage system, or looking for the best insurance deal, on a dynamic pricing basis.