Truck drivers sometimes encounter unexpected challenges that hinder their efficiency or put them behind schedule.
For example, a security code at an entry gate for a delivery may have been changed without notice. Plattsmouth, Nebraska startup DeliveRecon has created an app and driver knowledge base that allows drivers to communicate issues like this to each other, dispatchers and management.
“Drivers are always encountering new scenarios like a broken dock, a new contact person or updated codes,” said CEO Jason Eisenman. “They have such a unique perspective on all the hurdles of life thrown in their path of navigating pickups and deliveries.”
To this point, sharing reconnaissance on what’s happening in a driver’s world typically involves a phone call to a dispatcher so they can type in the information.
“Drivers aren’t always likely to make that phone call,” Eisenman said. “DeliveRecon is a live, flowing database of drivers keeping what’s happening in their real world lives up to date.”
One important reason to collect this recon is driver turnover.
“Drivers with 3 or 4 years of experience learn the uniqueness of different situations, like who to take brownies to so you can unload early,” Eisenman said. “When they leave, they take that with them. DeliveRecon lets us get new drivers up to speed quickly.”
The knowledge base is stored in the cloud, providing one-stop access to customer information, an employee portal and everything else that drivers, dispatchers and managers need.
“We struggled with giving our drivers one place to go,” Eisenman said. “Now they log in to one place and anything they want to do is right there.”
Drivers can upload audio, images and video to add to the knowledge base, report an incident or start the billing process in motion.
“As soon as the driver is done and the bill is signed, a photo is taken and uploaded for the billing department,” Eisenman said. “A driver may be on the road for a week, so this allows immediate billing.”
There are financial incentives for drivers to keep information up to date. Managers can assign points – that can translate into dollars – for submitting useful intelligence.
“A company can set parameters for incentives however they want,” Eisenman said. “For example, 200 points may equal a dollar. A manager reviews notes submitted by a driver and can assign points based on how useful the information is. Once a manager accepts, the notes are visible to everyone in the system.”
Drivers also have the ability to submit feedback anonymously.
“Driver feedback comes to the executive team,” Eisenman said. “We address any issues before the driver decides to quit.”
Like many startups, DeliveRecon began as a solution to an internal problem for Liquid Trucking Companies, where Eisenman serves as HR Director. LTC has 230 employees, including 150 drivers, working from its locations in Plattsmouth and Sioux City, Iowa.
“The driver to driver knowledge base was the main thing we were looking for,” Eisenman said. “We wanted to buy this from somebody, but couldn’t find anyone.”
The DeliveRecon app is fully deployed at Liquid Trucking Companies, and now Eisenman and his team are looking for other customers. And they’re finding some interesting challenges.
“This whole new role that the driver has is giving some trucking execs a deer in the headlights look,” he said. “It takes us a little bit to fully explain the concept. That’s probably our biggest hurdle.”
Eisenman said it’s a matter of perspective.
“Drivers see it different than execs do,” he said. “Execs see a load to be delivered, how many miles and how much. Drivers see that their kids have a soccer game and there are ten headaches to figure out. This app can turn down the frustrations in the driver’s job.”
Eisenman thinks giving drivers more powerful management and communications tools can have an impact on the industry.
“We’re looking to change the way drivers get their job done and make a mark on the industry with a new voice from the truck,” he said. “Our drivers have loved using it.”