The bigger trucking companies like UPS and FedEx employ expensive and sophisticated tracking technology to pinpoint where a package is at any point in its journey. Retailers like Amazon have added two-day shipping and real-time tracking to heighten consumer expectations. The result? More pressure on smaller trucking companies and businesses to compete.
Small Business Trends spoke with Rob Kunzler, Vice President of Marketing at FourKites. The company provides a modern solution through actionable tracking data and other tools. Kunzler says FourKites fills the need for improved information sharing and helps smaller trucking companies and businesses keep pace.
FourKites Tracking Solution
Leverage the Full Weight
You might need to leverage the full weight of a global supply chain to ship car parts to another country. Or, you could be a smaller small business that wants to ensure refrigerated fruit stays at the right temperature on a journey across town. Either way, FourKites is modern software designed to share real time data between the shippers, carriers and third party logistics providers in your supply chain.
Like a lot of other good ideas, FourKites was developed to fill a gap. In this case, the innovation was designed as an upgrade in the transportation management software space.
“People are relying on older technologies,” Kunzler says. “We wanted to manage exceptions and against exceptions.”
Shipping Industry Exceptions
Exceptions is a shipping industry term. These occur when something happens to delay a package or shipment in transit so it might not arrive on time. The issue could be something as fixable as a storm washing a road out so a detour is needed. On the other hand, the problem could be as serious as a broken refrigeration unit that spoils a load of produce.
FourKites takes in data from several different sources to provide real time tracking of shipments. Kunzler says the area the technology covers is wide.
“We have 70 plus integrations that roughly covers 95 percent of North America,” he says.
So what are the advantages to small businesses looking to ship their goods by truck? How do the small trucking companies they serve benefit from subscribing to FourKites? The answers start with the ability to get real time data about a shipment from several onboard systems like GPS and more.
Real Time ETA
“When we get that data we run it through our algorithm that supplies real time ETA calculations based on that and other sources like weather and traffic,” Kunzler says.
FourKites has eyes on your shipment and knows what’s happening, is about to happen or has just happened to it as it travels America’s roads. Being able to plan a route avoiding areas where transport trucks are restricted like business districts is another benefit. These metrics are especially important so small businesses know when loads are running behind their ETAs. The company also has a mobile app and provides email scheduling so you can alert customers as any exceptions develop.
Earlier this month, FourKites added real time temperature and location tracking to its arsenal of features. The ability to track the temperature of sensitive items like produce and pharmaceuticals reduces spoilage. It also brings these loads into line with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
“Companies like food retailers need to be able to report on how their loads are doing from a temperature perspective,” Kunzler says.
Image: Four Kites