Load Manager now has a YouTube channel with new videos highlighting the latest features of our TMS Software.
These videos are not yet complete. So far we have a quick start video that shows how to build a new load from scratch using one screen.
What is the New Load Entry Screen capable of?
Our new Load entry screen allows you to add customer “bill to” information and the pickup and delivery locations along with any load accessorials and commodities. We also have live demos that we recorded.
One demo was with Gerard of “Quikker Thank You Think LLC”. Gerard was looking for freight broker software. He had tried several different software programs but decided to go with Load Manager. His main reason for doing so was to be able to create loads on a single screen. His wife also felt the same way. They did not like how other TMSs made them to go different screens to build different parts of the load. If you’d like to see the full demo you can click this link.
The 2nd demo showcases the “Dispatch Services” version of our software. With this new version, a dispatcher can work for multiple carriers and dispatch their loads to their respective drivers. So they operate as an extension of the carrier’s office. Dispatcher fees are usually charged as a percentage of the line haul rate or the load total. In some cases the dispatcher will charge a flat fee. Both of these options are available in the Carrier screen as shown below.
Our dispatch services customer will use our settlement report to bill the carriers that they dispatch for. Based on the date range you choose, you can run the settlement report daily, weekly, or monthly. The report will show the load number, the shipper, the amount and the lane of the load. The lane is the pickup address and the final delivery address. You can watch this dispatch services software demo by clicking this link.
Load Manager has Different TMS Versions
Our new YouTube channel will also feature a “How To” series for our new TMS software modules that deliver an end-to-end solution for logistics professionals. Load Manager started out with just one version, freight broker software. Then we created a Carrier TMS version. This version included fleet maintenance, driver management and GPS tracking for each truck.
The next version of our software combines features for freight brokers and carriers for companies that manage both under one management team. We have found that this is very popular for established companies in the logistics space. That is because a freight broker will often branch into trucking after establishing themselves so they can have more control over booking their loads. Instead of booking a load to a third party carrier, they would now have the option of booking their own truck. This not only gives them more flexibility to accommodate shippers but it also improves their ability to attract new shippers. Shippers often gravitate to asset based freight brokers due to less risks and usually offer more reliable shipping services.
The Latest Version of Load Manager TMS Software
The most recent version of our software is for Dispatch Services companies. Previously this was not a major sector of the logistics industry. Due to the Obama administration’s approval of MAP-21, the surety freight broker bond has gone up from $10,000 to $75,000. This change significantly increase the barriers to entry for future freight brokers. However people with experience in this industry that wanted to start their own business but did not have the resources for the bond decided to offer dispatch services to busy truck owners and charge a fee for their services.
As a result we kept getting requests for our freight broker version that would operate include some key enhancements to accommodate the day to day operations of a dispatch services company. We quickly got to work to delivery this new version to market.
Since then we have seen this new sector go, spurring companies that now offer classes on how to start a new business by becoming a dispatcher for carriers.
We will be posting more details in upcoming blog posts about each of these version. Now with 4 different versions of our TMS Software it was time to bridge the gap in some areas. Specifically we wanted to offer an option for performing Carrier Due Diligence.
Load Manager: Carrier Due Diligence
In the very early days of Load Manager we used Carrier411 to provide insurance and safety information to freight brokers so they can ensure their freight was safe when hauling by the carrier they gave their freight to. Over time we switched from Carrier411 and obtain the data directly from the FMCSA safer system. However the FMCSA started blocking their data and eventually turned off their servers so we could no longer capture that data. Instead of going back to Carrier 411 we decided to use SaferWatch instead.
SaferWatch offered a great product that would provide visibility to a carrier’s risk level and our customer’s loved it. However over time SaferWatch significantly raised their prizes and we got a lot of push back from smaller companies that wanted an affordable solution. This is when we decided to create Carrier Lookout and offer it at an introductory price of $89.
What was great about Carrier Lookout is that it integrated much better with Load Manager since we published both products and it also had a layout on one page that was very easy to gauge the carriers risk level at a glance. We also included a Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light system so users would have an easier way of knowing the risk level. We display a Red Light if BIPD/Primary insurance is expired, a Yellow Light if their insurance is active but they have an alert on their BASIC Scores. A green light is shown if the carrier has both active insurance and no alerts on any of their BASIC scores. Below is a screen shot showing at a glance the risk level of each carrier.
The following screenshot shows the details of the user to determine the risk level of each carrier.
Once we had Carrier Lookout complete we turned to GPS tracking via the drivers cell phone. We had previously integrated with other mobile apps like MacroPoint however the integration was not at the level that we wanted to offer.
For example we wanted the app to enable the drivers camera on their phone to send a POD (proof of delivery) back to the dispatch office as an attachment to the load. We also wanted to “load stack” freight to a driver so they could also see future loads. We also found that customers were price sensitive to tracking each load and smaller companies did not want to spend a lot of money to track each load or be locked into a long term agreement.
TMS App for Load Manager
With this in mind, we create a web-based mobile app. While this app meets our goals of sending a POD using the phone’s camera it did not track the GPS in the background, we needed a native mobile app for that. So we kept the web based mobile app and added buttons so the driver can send their GPS location and also make the stops on each load when they arrived and departed. This was great to cut down on check calls. The web app was also good because it meant the driver didn’t have to install any app on their phone since it ran in a web browser. It also showed all other details like pickup and delivery numbers, special carrier notes, weight, appointment date/time as well as the accessorials and commodities.
See screen shot below:
But we still had the problem of real-time GPS location tracking of the truck with the freight. The only solution was to create a native iPhone and Android app in the App Store and Google Play store. Two previous attempts had some success, but in the end it did not meet our standards of excellence. Hence, we quickly abandoned the project and focused on other important features.
Last year, we returned to mobile app development using newer platforms. As a result, we were able to develop an app.
- Real-time tracking of each and every load.
- Freight location tracking in the background.
- Geo-fence functionality with automatic update of statuses without any 3rd party interactions.
With that done, the next item on the TMS software list was Carrier Onboarding. Our plans for this were comprehensive and it would involve a long development time line as well as a lot of resources. Fortunately, we were able to leverage a customer’s paid request for a customized onboarding solution with our own plans to create an onboarding feature that would totally streamline the onboarding process of each and every carrier. This new module is customizable each freight brokerage. Allowing the user to turn on or off many different onboarding categories include, signed carrier agreement, required documents like W9 or Certificate of Insurance, carrier equipment, freight lanes, ELD certifications, Driver, Dispatchers and Billing contacts, Fed TaxID for 1099s, Factoring company, ACH payment info and more. Here is a screenshot of how the customization screen looks.
To round out our complete offering of comprehensive TMS Software for the logistics industry we had to tackle Accounting.
Accounting’s entry into the Load Manager TMS
Up to this point we only integrated with Intuit’s QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics & Access You Biz accounting software programs. Creating new software modules for Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, & General Ledger is not a small undertaking.
However since we had previously development Access Your Biz accounting software we had a good head start. Our Load Manager TMS allows us to create accounting software and integrate it with it.
- Ease of posting customer payments, print computer checks for all types of vendors including carriers and non-carriers.
- Generating Income Statements and balance sheets in one go.
- Create profit centers based on each truck’s repair and overall maintenance costs.
However, every great achievement is even better with a cherry on top. Our cherry was a flexible Dashboard that provides key performance indicators (KPIs) for the company. You can access this dashboard on demand. Additionally, you may also broadcast it on a large screen TV to increase visibility in your common work areas. Below is a sample screenshot of the same. This shows Sales by Dispatcher for the current year to date.
Feel free to post any comments and I will reply accordingly.