Tracking packages is nothing new. Companies like FedEx and UPS have been doing it for decades. In 1994, UPS first offered customers access to a new bar-coded tracking technology. It was a huge success and enabled the company to grow exponentially.
Commercial freight carriers, on the other hand, have been slow to adopt instant tracking with the burden (and complication) of too many moving parts involved in the supply chain. With so many hands in every freight transaction, it is a miracle the process works as well as it does today.
The recent development and implementation of new freight-specific technologies have propelled the industry into a race for complete traceability, transparency and efficiency. Providing this information to customers has become the primary goal of most top logistics providers. Fast and smart are the new big.
We can now share real-time information with shippers, carriers, brokers and receivers—an enormous benefit to all stakeholders. But tracking shipments has been difficult for 3PLs that work with hundreds, even thousands, of independent owner-operators.
And that’s where this success story begins . . .
2019 was the beginning of a new and different year in the world of logistics. The industry had just come off the bull market of 2018 and no one was certain what the future would hold. It was during this time that Choptank Transport’s president and CEO, Geoff Turner, anticipating another year of growth, laid out his plan to get there. It was a strategy that leveraged people and technology, and it included Trucker Tools—a carrier tracking app that would be a game changer for Choptank.
In January, Turner made the directive clear to employees: All carriers who want to work with Choptank Transport would agree to use the tracking app. This would allow the 3PL to know exactly where every shipment was in real-time and put Choptank ahead of the competition.
In the beginning, some carriers were reticent about complying, but once its purpose and benefits were explained, adoption was an easy transition. Carriers who have the app no longer need to be burdened with check calls. It also eliminates disputes over detention pay because it provides proof that the carrier has been waiting in a pinged location to load or unload for a specific time. It also allows carriers to upload documents easily for quick pay.
Choptank was able to verify that the number of loads tracked went from 20 percent at the beginning of the year to 85 percent by late July. By September, the percentage of tracked loads reached an astounding 94 percent.
At a recent supply chain conference, some attendees couldn’t believe the tracking rate Choptank was reporting. “It is no exaggeration or misquote,” said Turner. “We are indisputably tracking 94 percent of our shipments, and that percentage is going up every week. The goal is to reach 100 percent by the end of the year, and we are well on our way to realizing that goal. I am genuinely proud of the Choptank team. Everyone has worked hard, every day, to make this happen.”
Choptank will mark its twentieth anniversary in January. Part of the celebration will include the launch of a new proprietary software, currently in development, called ORBIT TI. The innovative product will feature a secure customer portal that provides useful data and analytics pertaining to shipping history, market data, trends and predictions specific to a customer’s lanes, along with access to downloadable documents such as BOLs and invoices.
“This is just the beginning,” continued Turner, hinting that there is more to come in the way of groundbreaking technology in Choptank’s future.
*Note: Choptank currently tracks 100% of its shipments. For the small percentage of drivers who have not yet uploaded the tracking apps our carrier sales department keeps in constant communication from pick up to delivery on every shipment.