We wrote this guide to help you determine what kind of system will best suit your organization. Trucking software helps land-based shipping companies and private fleets increase their operational efficiency through effective tracking, management and reporting of relevant data.
In order to help you navigate the trucking software market, we created this guide to help buyers like you in their quest to identify the best trucking solution among the dozens available.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Truck dispatch and routing software helps reduce trucking company operation costs by supporting you in tracking your assets and inventory, optimizing delivery routes and schedules and reducing risk factors associated with the freight and logistics business.
Real-time routing screenshot in WorkWave Route Manager
Common functions of trucking software include:
|Dispatch and scheduling||Assists with critical back office operations to monitor driver logs, schedule shipments and maintain other records.|
|Route planning and optimization||Can identify the most efficient routes for drivers making multiple stops, often updating in real time to account for accidents, construction and bad weather.|
|GPS tracking||Provides real-time updates of a driver’s physical location to the back office.|
|Asset management||Assists users with tracking the physical assets—such as trucks, beds, parts and tools—in their operation.|
|Fleet maintenance||Assists with tracking and scheduling maintenance for a company’s fleet. It can be setup to notify the back office when a truck is due for regular maintenance.|
|Compliance management||Assists with monitoring driver habits such as their driving time, driving speed and frequency of stops. It can also assist with tracking drug tests for drivers.|
|Load optimization||Assists with making the most use out of a truck’s cargo capacity by determining the most efficient ways to store physical goods without wasting space—think Tetris, but for trucking.|
|Accounting||Most trucking software suites include accounting modules to assist with processing invoices, receipts, expense tracking and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) reports. Often these modules will integrate with standard accounting applications such as QuickBooks.|
(Note: If you're part of a towing operation, see our tow truck management software guide.)
In our experience, there are basically three types of buyers for trucking management software and dispatch programs:
Third-party logistics (3PL). Firms that transport cargo for other businesses tend to need software suites that offer all or most of the above listed applications and features. 3PL firms that specialize in LTL shipping typically need more advanced functionality from route planning and load optimization software. Larger 3PL firms typically need a more robust transportation management and/or warehouse management suite if they operate warehouses in addition to their fleet.
Private fleets. Firms that don’t outsource their transportation need a different type of solution than a 3PL firm. You may wish to consider an enterprise suite that’s targeted less on trucking and dispatch and more on the company’s core business (but still includes trucking management capabilities), or if you do decide to focus on trucking management, make sure the inventory control and accounting tie into the company’s other systems. You may also consider a suite developed specifically for fleet management.
Owner-operators. Truck drivers that own their own trucks and independently contract typically only need light software to assist with route planning, IFTA reports, expense tracking and load optimization.
When evaluating trucking company software, these are the market trends understand. You should be familiar with these trends as you evaluate trucking software reviews:
Regulatory compliance. In recent years, the federal government has enacted stricter regulations on the trucking industry, from reducing the number of hours that truck drivers can be on the road to increasing the frequency of drug tests they must take every year. Complying with these regulations is critical for trucking companies, so it is imperative that prospective buyers ensure that the software they select will help them stay on top of them all.
Business intelligence. More and more trucking software programs are offering intelligent analytics that identify cost saving based on internal and external data. For example, larger fleets can use these features to reduce the number of trips their drivers take by consolidating shipments and reducing the number of “empty” miles driven.
Mobile devices. Mobile applications are becoming increasingly valuable to trucking companies. They allow drivers to stay in constant communication, call ahead with estimated delivery times, upload delivery verifications and provide dispatch notes.
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