Logistics

What are the biggest pain points in trucking / logistics?

Chak Ming Li

February 27th, 2015

For example, what are the pain points for truckers and freight brokers?

Tim Scott

February 27th, 2015

I've built a couple of systems for trucking, one long haul and the other local area day runs. My client and I actually schemed on a startup for a while but never went forward.

We focused a lot on customer value, such as delivery notifications and other ways to make things go smooth for the customer.

But the biggest issue was utilization: getting the most stuff delivered per mile and per minute. This has a huge affect on the bottom line. Gasoline is a huge variable expense and driver time too. It's all about dispatching (load building and routing).  For both systems we built quite sophisticated tools to aid dispatchers in building and routing loads. Eventually we wanted to make this an expert system to auto build loads across the fleet.

The nature of the problem is slightly different in long vs short haul. Routing short hauls is much harder because you must use actual road miles, which is slow. Geometric distances are simply too far off. The main focus in long haul is minimizing deadheads (driving long legs empty).

Note that neither of these cases were "milk runs" -- regular routes every day, like UPS, for example. That's an entirely different problem space.

I'd be happy to chat if you like.

Brent Goldstein

February 27th, 2015

Agree with Tim's points. In the end it's always about saving dollars or adding value. And saving money is a much clearer value prop to sell. Since fuel is a primary cost, it's often about minimizing the drive time, idle time, etc. As with many industries the analytics are getting more advanced, with a focus on driver behavior route optimization. For example, to Tim's point, getting more out of each mile, with a feedback process that incentives drivers to make quick, efficient deliveries.

If you look a the information chain, the fuel and delivery data is often pulled into the companies ERP systems so they can track and optimize their operations. Getting this data effectively integrated can be challenging, as with any systems integration project. Some vendors focus on solving specific problems and provide their own SaaS to process data and provide APIs to access.

So as with any business, the challenge is finding a place to play that's not too crowded where a new solution can get traction.

-Brent

Benjamin Olding Co-founder, Board Member at Jana

February 28th, 2015

Reach out to the alumni of Open Mile, a former Boston startup focused on bring web tech to trucking industry.  They had a good run of it and learned a lot.  In the end, they sold to a larger  incumbent, then watched as the incumbent mismanaged all they had built.  Not sure any of them are still there, but they would be a great source of insight.

If you can't find them easily on your own, link to me & then search on LinkedIn.  I think I'm 1 or 2 degrees away from most of them.  They were pretty outgoing & passionate - I'd bet they'd be happy to respond if you just reach out & ask.

Joshua Westover Investor / Entrepreneur

February 27th, 2015

My brother works in the industry and he said he would be happy to give you his insights if you want to connect with him. If so, message me privately, and I will give you his contact info. All the best. 

Freeman Fan Entrepreneur

February 27th, 2015

A friend of mine is a dispatcher at a trucking/logistics company. He's happy to connect with you. Let me know if you would like his wechat/email address.

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

December 2nd, 2015

I know this is an old thread, but I'm working with a company that uses Freightquote for truckload deliveries. They have a ton of problems due to no visibility, email back and forth across company<>freightquote<>carrier<>driver<>warehouse.

It's a !@#$%^& mess. Has nobody fixed this yet?