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, pickup and delivery locations, and 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 go to 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. This new version allows a dispatcher to 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. These options are available on the Carrier screen, as shown below.
Our dispatch services customers will use our settlement report to bill the carriers they dispatch. You can run the settlement report daily, weekly, or monthly based on the date range. The report will show the load number, the shipper, the amount, and the loading lane. 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.
Load Manager started 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. Our new YouTube channel will also feature a “How To” series for our new TMS software modules, delivering an end-to-end solution for logistics professionals.
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 freight brokers will often branch into trucking after establishing themselves to have more control over booking their loads. Instead of booking a load to a third-party carrier, they can now book their 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 fewer 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 significant sector of the logistics industry. Due to the Obama administration’s approval of MAP-21, the surety freight broker bond has increased from $10,000 to $75,000. This change significantly increases the barriers to entry for future freight brokers. However, people with experience in this industry who 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.
As a result, we kept getting requests for our freight broker version that would operate, including some key enhancements to accommodate the day-to-day operations of a dispatch services company. We quickly got to work to deliver 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.
Now with four 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. We will post more details about each version in upcoming blog posts.
Load Manager: Carrier Due Diligence
In the early days of Load Manager, we used Carrier411 to provide insurance and safety information to freight brokers so they could ensure their freight was safe when hauling by the carrier they gave their freight to. Over time we switched from Carrier411 and obtained 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 returning to Carrier 411, we decided to use SaferWatch.
SaferWatch offered a great product that would provide visibility to a carrier’s risk level, and our customers loved it. However, SaferWatch significantly raised its prices over time, and we got a lot of pushback from smaller companies that wanted an affordable solution. This was 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 carrier’s risk level at a glance. We also included a Red Light, Yellow Light, and Green Light system so users would know the risk level easier. Below is a screenshot showing each carrier’s risk level at a glance. We display a Red Light if BIPD/Primary insurance is expired and 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 active insurance and no alerts on their BASIC scores.
The following screenshot shows the user’s details to determine each carrier’s risk level.
Once we completed Carrier Lookout, we turned to GPS tracking via the driver’s cell phone. We had previously integrated with other mobile apps like MacroPoint; however, the integration was not at the level we wanted to offer.
For example, we wanted the app to enable the driver’s 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 much 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 make the stops on each load when they arrived and departed. This was great for cutting down on check calls. The web app was also good because 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, accessorials, and commodities.
See the screenshot 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 essential 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 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, involving a long development timeline and many resources. Fortunately, we could leverage a customer’s paid request for a customized onboarding solution with our own plans to create an onboarding feature that would streamline the onboarding process of each carrier. This new module is customizable for each freight brokerage. It allows the user to turn on or off many different onboarding categories, including signed carrier agreements, 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
We have 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, we had a good head start since we had previously developed Access Your Biz accounting software. 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 outstanding 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. You may also broadcast it on a large-screen TV to increase visibility in everyday 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.