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Cincinnati-based Total Quality Logistics has introduced a new mobile app for truck drivers and carriers that can help them find freight.

The company, with an office in Lowell, introduced its latest version of a digital carrier dashboard. TQL leaders said the new dashboard and mobile app can cut the time it takes carriers to find and get paid for work. With the app, instead of calling a broker for loads, drivers can check information that is uploaded and processed through the dashboard.

"As this market shifts toward a tightening market, we wanted [our customers] to have every reason to go to us as opposed to our competitors," the company's carrier product manager, Chris McMahon, said.

Traditionally, brokers wait for truckers or carriers to call about the available freight, or brokers call carriers to gauge their interest in taking a job.

"It allows us on the brokerage side to contract them directly instead of getting lucky," McMahon said.

The product is another example of shipping and logistics companies using digital tools to reduce the organizational tasks required of freight brokers, who must not only find the right drivers and equipment for shipments, but also have to organize invoices and other documents.

Lowell-based J.B. Hunt Transport Services has its own version of the brokerage dashboard with its J.B. Hunt 360 app. So does Uber Freight, which is a new entrant to the market.

"Logistics is very complex," McMahon said. "It requires dynamic reaction to widely changing markets. What we are trying to do at this point is marry our tech to our experience. Everything we have is developed in-house. We are not reliant on external or third parties to change quickly."

TQL President Kerry Byrne said the company will continue to invest in digital tools and products. TQL is the second-largest brokerage firm, based on its share of the total North American market.

"Most legacy companies understand that to remain competitive, we have to be able to adapt to the changing dynamics of the market," Byrne said.

Communications manager Heather Martin said the digital technology helps TQL hire a more diverse workforce across the country. New technology, she said, attracts more entrepreneurial workers into the company ranks. In June, TQL opened an office in New Orleans, its 59th location.

Byrne said TQL currently employees about 115 information technology developers and engineers. He said the IT department needs to be "nimble." There are product managers and professional freight brokers, whom McMahon called "the heartbeat" of TQL's operations. The company said its ideal worker can adapt efficiently to fast changes.

"It requires people both with advanced technical skills," Byrne said, "as well as a deep understanding of the nuances of our industry."

Business on 10/05/2017

Print Headline: App launched to aid truckers

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