In 2013 Bek Abdullayev began researching trucking culture by riding with truck drivers across the country.
In hopes of building a business in the transportation space, Abdullayev started to learn about the trucker lifestyle, the equipment involved and how the industry operates. He also began to notice the mass amounts of paperwork that every driver had to keep track of while living on the road part time.
“The constant photo documentation and phone calls that accompanied the paperwork seemed to be really frustrating for the drivers,” said Abdullayev. “Once in awhile we’d stop by a driver’s terminal or office and I’d notice even more cascading floods of paperwork.”
It soon became clear to Abdullayev that these offices were having major issues with timely payments and communication. He said that some delivery confirmations would take up to 60 days to receive on average, which would frequently delay payments.
Abdullayev returned from traveling and tried to find an available solution for these drivers but didn’t have much luck. Once he noticed that there wasn’t a clear solution for truck drivers and their back offices, he started working on Super Dispatch.
How Super Dispatch works
Kansas City-based Super Dispatch is trying to completely eliminate daily paperwork for trucking companies that transport cars and other types of specialized freights.
Through Super Dispatch’s mobile application, truck drivers can communicate with their back office and customers in real time while they are on the road, which greatly streamlines their daily processes. The startup also uses a web product that helps the trucking companies manage their drivers, loads and billing in one place.
“Super Dispatch submits delivery confirmations and invoices instantly to the shipper, cutting that 60 day delay down to a few seconds,” said Abdullayev. “It also reduces the number of phone calls between deliveries because the shipper now has insight into the entire process.”
With Super Dispatch, shippers can see when and where their items were delivered, receive photos of the completed shipment, have access to electronic signatures, and they are able to track everything with GPS tracking.
Focusing on the customer
When asked about the creation of Super Dispatch, Abdullayev said it was the hardest thing he’s ever done.
“Many people feel like the technology part of the platform is easy,” said Abdullayev. “They don’t see software as a living organism that’s constantly evolving, and needs to be maintained, developed, nurtured and improved constantly.”
Abdullayev said that relying on customer feedback and trying to identify specific pain points of customers has been crucial to the success of Super Dispatch.
“The moment we started focusing on customer feedback and really absorbed that information, rather than relying on the solutions we had in our heads, our product really started to click with people,” said Abdullayev. “Ideas are great, but if they’re not validated by your customer then they won’t go anywhere.”
Abdullayev added that Super Dispatch is appealing to customers because it requires virtually no training.
“We’ve moved away from having a ton of functions to focusing on what the customer really needs,” said Abdullayev. “We want to streamline their processes to their most basic forms to make them more efficient.”
Competition in the trucking industry
As an increasing number of tech startups enter the trucking industry competition is getting more fierce, according to Abullayev.
“There wasn’t a lot of competition in the mobile space when we first started,” said Abdullayev. “In the past year or so, I’ve seen a lot of companies popping up and concentrating on mobile. We are currently competing with at least four other companies in the vehicle shipping space and even more in the specialized freight space.”
Abdullayev said at least half of his competition is in the startup space. When asked about how Super Dispatch differs from their competition, Abdullayev said that Super Dispatch has a really strong focus on specific pain points and building products around those solutions.
“We never wanted to be everything to everyone,” said Abdullayev. “We may have only 20 percent of another app’s functionality, but in that 20 percent we save a lot more time and money for the customers.”
Saving customers time and money
Super Dispatch currently has over 4,000 daily users of the platform. The team of 15 reported that they saved their existing customers over $2 million in costs associated with delivering and tracking trucking shipments in 2016 alone. Abdullayev added that they’ve collectively saved their customers 12 years of work with their platform.
Last year, Super Dispatch also received grants from Digital Sandbox and Launch KC. This year the team became the first startup out of Kansas City to join the 2016 Sprint Accelerator powered by Techstars.
When asked about the team’s experience with Techstars, Abdullayev said that the program has helped shape the team from a crazy group of ambitious kids into superheroes who are driving change in their industry.
“Making it into Techstars and accepting the challenge has been the best decision we’ve made so far as a startup,” said Abdullayev.
What’s next for Super Dispatch
While the team enjoys solving pain points by using mobile to digitize the trucking industry, it’s clear to them that mobile is no longer the new frontier. Abdullayev said that there are new technologies on the horizon that are going to be a part of the industry in less than five years.
“We’re currently testing different technologies that would put voice activation inside trucks,” said Abdullayev. “The truck drivers would be able to interact with Super Dispatch by using voice activation while driving.”
Abdullayev added that autonomous vehicles are also an up and coming trend in the trucking industry.
“We always want to give our shippers and carriers more control over how they manage their fleet,” said Abdullayev. “We want to be able to take advantage of these opportunities. Not only do we want to bring the trucking industry into the 21st Century, but we also want to lay out the groundwork that defines how these companies will operate for the next 50 years.”
Mel Lucks is a regional freelance journalist and former intern for Silicon Prairie News and AIM.