Macropoint/FourKites/Project44 and other tracking

Navigator

Member
2
I have a long response I'd love to write on this sometime, but right now based on my interactions with a large broker out of MN, all I can say is that if brokers spent as much time managing customs clearances as they did on tracing, the entire supply chain would be more efficient and there would be a significant improvement in the broker carrier relationship. The complete lack of concern that most 3pls have with border clearances while they are yelling for location updates is a symptom of the misunderstanding of where the real challenges lie.
This is so absolutely TRUE!!!
All after-hours calls here anymore revolve around getting loads cleared!
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
30
Tracking is driven by shippers. Most of my large accounts now require it, and they determine which system they want to use. Personally I don't care one way or the other.. I really have better things to do with my time than to see where my loads are from one minute to the next. But.. its what the shippers want. I pay my carriers $100.00 to $200.00 more to track.. generally that incentivizes them to do so as I get a service failure assigned to me when the load is not tracked. Overall there are as many pros as cons.. I've already used the tracking against some of my shippers who took too long to load.. hey.. look at your own tracking guys.. Also, when a truck is running behind I can see that and get ahead of the problem by calling the customer.. happened this week.. had a load for San Antonio, TX with a delivery appointment of 9:00 am. At 7:00 am the tracking showed truck was still 200 miles out.. I contacted the driver and then the receiver to reschedule.. Back in the day the truck would simply arrive late.. I'd get a service failure, and the carrier would be mad as the truck would be a work in and require half a day to unload. More information is better than too little.. sure.. there's the possibility of misuse, but for the time being I'm going to say the tracking has been a net positive.
 

shayne

Active Member
15
Tracking is driven by shippers. Most of my large accounts now require it, and they determine which system they want to use. Personally I don't care one way or the other.. I really have better things to do with my time than to see where my loads are from one minute to the next. But.. its what the shippers want. I pay my carriers $100.00 to $200.00 more to track.. generally that incentivizes them to do so as I get a service failure assigned to me when the load is not tracked. Overall there are as many pros as cons.. I've already used the tracking against some of my shippers who took too long to load.. hey.. look at your own tracking guys.. Also, when a truck is running behind I can see that and get ahead of the problem by calling the customer.. happened this week.. had a load for San Antonio, TX with a delivery appointment of 9:00 am. At 7:00 am the tracking showed truck was still 200 miles out.. I contacted the driver and then the receiver to reschedule.. Back in the day the truck would simply arrive late.. I'd get a service failure, and the carrier would be mad as the truck would be a work in and require half a day to unload. More information is better than too little.. sure.. there's the possibility of misuse, but for the time being I'm going to say the tracking has been a net positive.
with great power comes great responsibility
 

Jim L

Well-Known Member
30
@Freight Broker - maybe its better to pay $100-$200 more to a good carrier who uses their own tracking internally then follows up with their driver and you in the case of an exception instead of you being the de-facto dispatcher. Why am I paying dispatchers to do this work when the broker will do it for free for me.

There has been a lot of grumbling about carriers' service levels diminishing but now you see why. A race to the bottom with rates and middle men trying to make up the difference by doing the carriers job for free.

I call it blurred lines - who is responsible for what now a days.
 

BPOVFB

Active Member
10
We're missing the real issue carriers have with tracking devices. They don't want to subsidize their drivers cell bills! lol But in all seriousness - tracking apps have a place in the market, and carriers have a choice whether to play or not play. One noted side bonus of tracking apps; negates language barriers (esp. vs. Driver Cell)
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
30
@Freight Broker - maybe its better to pay $100-$200 more to a good carrier who uses their own tracking internally then follows up with their driver and you in the case of an exception instead of you being the de-facto dispatcher. Why am I paying dispatchers to do this work when the broker will do it for free for me.

There has been a lot of grumbling about carriers' service levels diminishing but now you see why. A race to the bottom with rates and middle men trying to make up the difference by doing the carriers job for free.

I call it blurred lines - who is responsible for what now a days.
Maybe.. but some of us don't have that choice...especially those of us who work with predominantly large shippers. They name the tune, and we dance to it. Smaller shippers tend to be more flexible and generally don't require tracking or often don't even measure their service levels. The reason large shippers have their own in house tracking is to ensure uniformity as well as ease of access for their own accounts. They don't want 20 different tracking systems that all work differently and that all look differently.. hence one system. Some of my carriers ask me the same question.. I'm not dispatching their trucks.. its simply ensuring supply chain visibility.. for reasons known best to themselves.. shippers and receivers want to see where their loads are at any given time. As a broker I have two choices: 1) I can accommodate these shippers and continue to work them .. 2) I can ignore their needs and lose the accounts.. I'm not quite ready to retire yet, so option 1 it is.
 

Jim L

Well-Known Member
30
As a broker I have two choices: 1) I can accommodate these shippers and continue to work them .. 2) I can ignore their needs and lose the accounts.. I'm not quite ready to retire yet, so option 1 it is.
Yes, I understand that is the way it goes. All I can do is ask carriers to reject 3rd party tracking with the hopes that brokers will have to go to these tune players to tell them nobody wants to waltz right now. If they want to continue to play a waltz tune then it will cost them with decreased options and whatever options are left will either cost them or not be the best carriers.
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
30
Yes, I understand that is the way it goes. All I can do is ask carriers to reject 3rd party tracking with the hopes that brokers will have to go to these tune players to tell them nobody wants to waltz right now. If they want to continue to play a waltz tune then it will cost them with decreased options and whatever options are left will either cost them or not be the best carriers.
I'd love to do that.. the tracking thang is a huge pain in the ass for me too. But not doing it would pretty much cut me out of the loop as another supplier will come in a do the job with the tracking. If I could go back 40 years I'd forget about trucking, brokerage and freight and take a couple of years off to think and to develop something with a sustainable difference that people want. The root cause of our problems in this biz is that there's no discernible difference between one vendor and the next in terms of service.. we're all doing basically the same thing. At least the tracking app offers a small point of difference..

By the way, some carriers do say no to the tracking, and I respect that. But the vast majority say they'll do it.. load up.. and then they don't activate the tracking. But without fail, they'll invoice me for the tracking anyway! That ain't right either.
 

Seth Allen

New Member
2
I'll give my 2 cents on this from a drivers perspective. Back in the Spring when everything was stupid slow my dispatcher took one of those loads that required one of these tracking apps. Problem was he gave the broker my phone number before even asking me about giving it out, mistake number one in my book, Broker calls demanding the one app gets downloaded before they give out the pickup info. So download the app, think it was Macropoint. For the most part was ok till the day of delivery when they start calling my phone at 3am and kept calling every hour on the hour. Ringer got turned on to mute and were ignored from that point forward.

After that point now if any broker asks for a cell number they get the number to the company tablet in the truck and if they want an app downloaded for tracking it gets downloaded on the company tablet and I don't have a tracking app burning data on my personal phone.

I don't know what the fascination is with brokers getting drivers phone numbers short of all hours harassment, If you really need to know where the load is call the carrier and they can tell you where the load is.
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
30
I'll give my 2 cents on this from a drivers perspective. Back in the Spring when everything was stupid slow my dispatcher took one of those loads that required one of these tracking apps. Problem was he gave the broker my phone number before even asking me about giving it out, mistake number one in my book, Broker calls demanding the one app gets downloaded before they give out the pickup info. So download the app, think it was Macropoint. For the most part was ok till the day of delivery when they start calling my phone at 3am and kept calling every hour on the hour. Ringer got turned on to mute and were ignored from that point forward.

After that point now if any broker asks for a cell number they get the number to the company tablet in the truck and if they want an app downloaded for tracking it gets downloaded on the company tablet and I don't have a tracking app burning data on my personal phone.

I don't know what the fascination is with brokers getting drivers phone numbers short of all hours harassment, If you really need to know where the load is call the carrier and they can tell you where the load is.
The tracking is still fairly new and people are getting used to it. In a couple of years from now booking a load without tracking will be virtually unheard of. Thank Amazon..they raised the bar. As one of my accounts stated: "If I can track a can of soda through Amazon then we should be able to track a truckload of steel which is worth a whole lot more than a can of soda". Don't be too hard on us brokers.. most of us would much rather not do the tracking.. it is customer driven.. the world is getting more competitive all the time, and on most days I'm not too crazy about that either. I miss the slower pace of 20 years ago..
 

RAINDOG

Member
5
When I order Pepsi from Amazon I have no control over who ships it or how it gets to me. The item is what is being tracked and not the container, or vessel, or trailer it is currently on. I am not going to call the boat captain who has my product and ask him why he went a certain way on the Pacific to get my can of Pepsi to me when he could of put it on a plane and get here much faster, and I could have called the plane captain to tell him how thirsty I am and really need that can of Pepsi before my body shuts down. I am being dramatic, but my point is the services are not the same thing for what you pay for. If paying a dedicated carrier to haul freight, it is not unreasonable to let them do their jobs and put the onus back on quality of carrier and paying for that service. If they let you down, don't use them next time and go with someone you can trust. A customer should never call a driver, period.
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
30
The whole idea behind tracking app is to let the technology do the work.. Ideally the driver would never be disturbed with tracking related questions. Boat captains, train engineers, and pilots don't get tracking calls largely because tracking ships, planes, and trains has been happening for decades now.. When I ship a container by rail it isn't even a question.. I log into my CN account.. enter my password.. then the container number.. and just like that I know exactly where my container is. I didn't need to speak to the train engineer.

It's not up to us anyway.. the deal remains the same..1) do it our way.. or 2) don't do business with us. At least that's how it is with the big accounts. Lots of smaller ones are more flexible.. but they too will eventually need to embrace technology.
 

RAINDOG

Member
5
If tracking is the issue, then I can reluctantly agree that we will see more and more of this - can't stop technology but it may be what the customer wants but it is not necessarily what they need.

We do have customers who have access to our trucks tracking in which we give the customer our truck number of the truck assigned to the load, and they are able to track that shipment that is linked to our GPS; but we do not give out the driver information. This works until we have to run a rescue, or drop the load in the yard for local to deliver and we are relied upon to communicate the discrepancy anyways, but now with an agitated customer who thinks their freight is failing because they do not have the whole story. If it is that important, put a tracker on the freight as already suggested and save everyone a headache - if they can re-use dunnage, they can re-use trackers.

For me, part of the bigger issue is giving access of a driver's phone number, expecting them to download an app on their phones then the driver get phone calls from a person they have no rapport with who may not understand HOS, or have the full story on the shipment. This could lead to driver's being talked into breaking laws or add to their anxiety, cause issues with them and their dispatch, cause resentment and so much more. I would lose my sh*t if someone called me other than my boss, questioning me on why I went a certain way or asking why I took a 35 minute break instead of a 30 minute break and so I could never put someone else in that situation. They do not need to be questioned while already on the road dealing with real road situations which should be their focus, while moving the freight as safe as possible and part of that is to not get them upset while on the road.
 

Michael Ludwig

Well-Known Member
20
asking why I took a 35 minute break instead of a 30 minute break
Basically had the same thing happen to one of my guys on an HV load, 'cept my guy was 50 minutes not 35 ...
Tracker called him and asked the question. My driver said "I had a burrito." Tracker replied "'nuff said ... let me know when you're back on the road."
Drivers have been eating burritos ever since ... LOL
 

vanspek

Member
5
I have no problem with people wanting to track. What annoys me is when they make the driver accept Macropoint, they still call me / the driver. If the technology isn't doing it's job why force the idea?
Quite a few brokers are insisting on allowing them access directly to the ELD but there isn't currently a way to turn off the tracking once the load is completed. That is where the problem starts with me. It's none of your business where my truck goes afterwards, trusting someone to stop tracking in today's society isn't realistic in my opinion.
 

tasuinam

Active Member
10
Basically had the same thing happen to one of my guys on an HV load, 'cept my guy was 50 minutes not 35 ...
Tracker called him and asked the question. My driver said "I had a burrito." Tracker replied "'nuff said ... let me know when you're back on the road."
Drivers have been eating burritos ever since ... LOL
This is too good - so just did a load about three months ago where my driver was told to install macropoint - well they messed up and sent the text to my partners phone who used to drive and he installed it....then went hunting - had an interesting conversation as to why the load was moving in circles all day
 

Michael Ludwig

Well-Known Member
20
This is too good - so just did a load about three months ago where my driver was told to install macropoint - well they messed up and sent the text to my partners phone who used to drive and he installed it....then went hunting - had an interesting conversation as to why the load was moving in circles all day
Now that's funny ... ROFLMFAO
 
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