Trucking Software

    As more and more truckers dive into the computer age, their reliance on technology to enable them to operate smarter has increased dramatically.  Regardless of whether you’re a fleet driver hoping to keep tabs on your miles, reimbursements, and logs, or an independent owner/operator that needs an all-in-one solution, there’s a software application for nearly everyone.

    Until now, software applications came in one form — programs — that installed on your computer’s hard drive and were updated with manual data inputs.  Recently, however, a new phenomenon has begun to show up in the computer world — cloud computing.  Instead of installing on your computer’s hard drive, the user of a cloud application will access their account via the Internet by logging into their account and entering relevant information online.

    Access to these cloud networks is restricted to those users with an Internet connection, but with a wireless connection as close as the nearest truck stop, rest area, or cellular telephone hookup, truckers can access their online accounts more easily than ever before.  In addition, cloud applications also enable truckers to reach information about their business anywhere they have access to the web — from any computer.

    Features

    Depending upon which software solution you decide upon, there are a variety of features available in the different trucking software offerings on the market.  Some of the more common features include:

    Income and expenses by trip –  Because managing your cashflow is dependent upon keeping tabs on your income and expenses, the overwhelming majority of the trucking software applications utilize a per trip recording interface — which makes the most sense because that’s how you generate income and incur expenses.

    Electronic Log Books (e-logs) — While you may still prefer keeping paper logs, many of the software programs have features that allow you to input you log data for electronic logbook record-keeping and compliance purposes.  Some will make note of e-log errors and will automatically generate “gotcha” letters, which gives you the opportunity to correct any errors before an enforcement officer does it for you during a roadside inspection or during a D.O.T. compliance review.

    Settlement Reconciliation — Reconciling settlement sheets can be a time-consuming process when done manually, but by entering information from settlement sheets, your computer can cross-reference information previously entered in other sections of the software to ensure that all expenses have properly been reimbursed by your carrier.

    Customer Records — One of the biggest challenges owner/operators face is keeping track of their customer information.  Most trucking software applications offer you the ability to maintain customer records, either through a basic software feature or through an upgraded version of the software.

    Driver Records — While many owner/operators are one-man (or woman) operations, some owner/operators need to maintain driver records for a hired co-driver or other drivers that they employ.

    Fuel Reports — You may be hundreds or thousands of miles from home, but you’re still responsible for maintaining accurate records of your trips so that you can file fuel reports.  This feature gives you the ability to compile the necessary information to compile your fuel reports, while minimizing your expenses.

    IFTA Reports — Any driver that has ever spent hours reconstructing trips in order to comply with IFTA mileage reporting requirements knows that this can be a real pain in the neck.  However, IFTA reports are easier to generate because some of these trucking software applications take information from your trip sheets and automatically export it to the IFTA reporting feature of the software — freeing you to drive.

    Truck and Trailer Maintenance Records — Not only are good maintenance records critical to your ability to properly maintain your equipment, it is also important for D.O.T. compliance purposes.  Another reason that this is important is because your equipment will eventually be traded-in for newer equipment — and accurate record can help to ensure that your trade-in allowance is as high as possible.

    Dispatch software – It’s no secret that the larger your fleet, the greater your need for software with greater performance capabilities.  Having the ability to handle all aspects off truck and load dispatching is critical to your success – and dispatch software provides many of the features that can enable you to manage all of the moving parts of your business so that your business can operate much more efficiently. [click to continue…]

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    Today, nearly every business is upgrading with new technology, and the trucking industry is no different.  Trucking software is becoming a must for any driver or company that delivers freight.  The software helps with numerous tasks, making your trucking job easier and more efficient.  However, while there are numerous trucking software companies and programs available on the market, you may not be able to use all of them, nor are all of them relevant to every type of trucking company.  Here is a look at what you need to know about trucking software.

    What the software should do

    There are some basic fundamentals that all trucking software should do to be useful to the user.  Keep in mind that the specialized requirements will differ from one trucking software program to the next, but this should give you a general idea of what to look for.

    All trucking software should have web enabled operation.  It should also have a user interface that is simple and easy to use.  Lastly, it should be able to be integrated with the internet at each truck stop.

    If you are looking for a complete trucking software program, then you will want something that is split into dispatching, accounting, and reporting tasks.  These are all needed to make sure that your operations run smoothly.

    • Dispatching module – The dispatching module should allow you to view and manage active loads.  It should allow you to add in basic details quickly and easily, as well as create duplicate loads to save time on the data entry portion.  Ideally it should allow you to create loads in advance and then manage all the loads from one point.  It should also allow the trucker to view his loads or all available loads.
    • Accounts module – This part of the trucking software program would be where you handle the client’s information, such as setting credit limits and printing invoices.  It should also include information such as payroll payments.  The data should be easy to export so that you can transfer it to your accounting programs.
    • Reporting module – You will be using your trucking software to manage information, so there should be a clear and easy way to access this as a report.  This should allow you to see statistics of individual truck drivers or customers, as well as overall totals.

    Things to keep in mind

    When you are shopping for a trucking software program, you want something that is easy to use and makes managing your business easier.  If you will have drivers input their own information, then you need a program that is readily understood by the average person – not something that only the IT department can figure out.  The more functional and useful a program is, the more value it is for your money.

    The idea of having trucking software is to keep track of your business.  The more you know about your business, from who is driving what route to what customers order the most shipments, the better you can tailor it so that you maximize your profits.


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