A load management system for tracking and communication between drivers, carriers, and transportation professionals.
The trucking industry in the U.S. is massive, involving an estimated annual revenue of over $200 billion and employing about 9 million truck drivers, carriers, and logistics professionals. All of them know about a looming date: December 16, 2017. On this day a federal rule will come into effect requiring all truck operators to have electronic logging devices in place of paper logging to track driver on/off times.
For larger trucking companies this date typically has less impact. But about 97% of trucking companies operate 20 trucks or less, and many of those companies are challenged with a transition to a more digital platform after years of paper-based management. The new eLogging systems will provide some of the needed functionality, but still have limitations - the devices themselves cannot be taken out of the truck and therefore, the information within them can’t be easily taken from truck to warehouse.
With a focus on these smaller companies, logistics management company Echo set out to create a complementary digital system that provides their carriers with tools to more easily communicate load details, tracking and status, and to collect and share the supporting documentation required by the federal government. Echo’s system has a desktop web component for carriers, and a mobile app for drivers. Each component has been designed to take into account the work context and needs for their respective users, and allow all three parties – drivers, carriers, and logistics professionals – to see and communicate about load status and related information in a streamlined and visual user interface. The goals are to increase visibility for customers and load managers, as well as efficiency and speed of payment for carriers and their drivers.
- Why this project is worthy of a UX Award:
Those of us in the IT field can easily get too separated from the reality of tech in some fields; many people depend on paper for critical work processes, even in industries as time-focused and "remote worker" based as logistics. In our research we were surprised at the number of complex numbers, like 10-12 digit pickup numbers, that were being re-typed as a text from the carrier to the driver, or transcribed the by driver by hand from an elogging device to a paper clipboard so that the information could be brought into a warehouse. Communication gaps and transcription errors lead to frustration for everyone; drivers, carriers, warehouse managers, and customers.
For drivers, we focused on a mobile app that is streamlined and smart, prompting for key milestones and allowing for communication of issues and status. Contrary to some of our initial assumptions, we found most drivers did have smartphones and were getting comfortable with being tracked, but were just starting to consider using apps for work needs such as taking photos of documents to share. We aimed to create something that provided a lot of information in as simple a way as possible, to help them more easily transition from paper to digital and reduce the need for transcribing,
For carriers, we focused on providing a visual status of their Echo loads, and a way to communicate status to reduce the number of calls they receive asking for status updates. In providing them with tools for faster document collection and invoicing, Echo plans to help them meet goals for quicker payment as well.
There is a huge change in the works for those around us who drive and deliver every day, and an urgent need for solutions that help them transition to a more digitally-driven future. We believe Echo Drive is one solution that does so with an eye on how their critical work gets done.
- Submitted By: Eight Bit Studios
- Client Name: Echo Global Logistics, Inc