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Adding technology to your trucking business

Technology in Business

Insights can come from odd places, when you least expect it. One of our usual lunch spots is the pho noodle restaurant two streets away from our office. We’d characterize it as a ‘hole in the wall’ back in the US, but since this is in Ho Chi Minh city, where our overseas programming office is based, the rickety stools and 1-ply tissues (that’s what they call ‘napkins’) seem perfectly normal.

No matter the size of your business, the nature, or the environment, technology has a place in it.

I noticed several months ago that they started using a computerized POS system which felt out of place next to their ancient stock pots and street vendor style mini kitchen. The machine sat on a cheap folding table with its touchscreen glowing and a stack of receipt rolls next to it ready for the lunch rush. I was surprised to see this piece of technology in their store. It was such a huge contrast compared to the rustic dinge in the shop. No matter the size of your business, the nature, or the environment, technology has a place in it.

But, technology has a bad rap for being a difficult thing to implement. There are so many products and services out there promising to make your life easier and make you more money. There’s also hesitation because using software sounds like you have to be really ‘computer-savvy’ and ROI sounds uncertain.

Where to begin
It’s important to remember that technology, like mobile smartphones or dispatching software, is ultimately a tool for businesses to use. To make sure that you get the most out of the tools, consider your major goals. Maybe you want to improve your cashflow, have a 100% on-time rating or get the Best Trucking Company of the year award with your regional transportation association. Whatever it may be, start with your goals.

How to get there
Next, break the goals down into tasks and then, only after that, is when you start considering what kind of technology tools to bring to the table. If you do it the other way around where you buy the software without a goal or plan, it is easy to lose focus and be overwhelmed by the variety of functions offered, causing frustration.

Example
In the case of a goal to achieve a 100% on-time rating, a good first step would be to improve communication between dispatcher and drivers. A load management app on a smartphone can alert your driver of new loads and display the locations on a map. This really saves time and reduces errors because the driver no longer has to call the dispatcher and find a slip of paper to jot down the address, potentially making a mistake.

Technology has a place in almost all businesses to help them grow and thrive. Even the family-run trucking company still that bookkeeps in a handwritten journal or the pho noodle restaurant with the crooked wall hangings. It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

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Posted in Business
Written by: Carolyn Lee