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FirstFleet creates nextgen in-cab driver experience

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Updated Feb 28, 2023

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The electronic log mandate presented motor carriers seven years ago with an opportunity to explore new mobile fleet management technology that can be deployed via consumer-style devices.

Rather than deploy an off-the-rack driver workflow application from its ELD vendor (Platform Science), Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based FirstFleet developed its own using the vendor’s software development kit (SDK), building and deploying a customized application.

FirstFleet ELDTaking advantage of a fast-changing technology landscape, FirstFleet took a holistic approach to create a next-gen driver experience that increases job satisfaction, productivity and operating efficiency."The intent was to reduce driver frustration, increase their overall quality of life, increase the quality of the information we get from our driver workforce and increase the quality of communication between our driver and dispatch team members.," said FirstFleet Chief Information Officer Austin Henderson. 

As a dedicated contract carrier, FirstFleet (CCJ Top 250, No. 48) manages a wide variety of unique customer requirements. Its custom workflow application – "a direct replacement for conventional telemetry provider-delivered workflow solutions," Henderson said – manages data capture by validating the accuracy of driver entries. 

"What makes ours different is it's directly connected to the TMS; there's no disconnect," he said. "So in the past, a driver would fill out a form in a workflow application and submit it, and it might have contained errors. Then a dispatcher has to parse these entries, then resubmit that and reprocess it, which slows down the flow of EDI (electronic data interchange), slows down P44, slows down MacroPoint ... All these sorts of integration experiences are now crippled because the driver types in a trailer number that's invalid." 

When picking up a trailer, for example, the Android-based workflow application sends the driver a screenshot of the customer’s sample bill of lading (BOL) with an arrow pointing to the BOL number. The application knows what format the BOL number the customer or bill to authority uses. For example, if the BOL number is nine digits, the application won’t let the driver enter 10 digits.