On-Demand Trucking Up-ending Traditional Practices

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The Uber of trucking, on-demand and simple to use. This could be where the trucking industry is heading as start-ups begin to pop up offering competitive rates and an on-demand service. Convoy is a Seattle start-up founded by former Amazon employees, and local truckers are extremely excited about the possibilities this concept can offer, not only to their business but to their customers as well.

Wednesday marked an impressive step forward for the Uber-like trucking service named Convoy. They raised $16 million in new investments led by Greylock Partners. Investors include Jeff Wilke, Amazon executive and the co-founder and chief executive of Instagram, Kevin Systrom.

Convoy has been operating since last year and their goal is to give local truckers a more efficient way to connect with clients. Local trucking is largely made up of small operators, which have 10 or fewer trucks in their fleet and need to make and save money where ever possible. They use things like the Fleet Fuel Card to keep on top of the fleet’s expenses so Convoy will be good for them to make money. This heavily fragmented industry faced steep competition and was struggling to keep their trucks full. For many companies, simply picking which commercial truck insurance to use was a big decision as they had to make sure they could afford it but now Convoy will hopefully help them grow and thrive. Usually, matching truckers with clients is left to brokers, but Convoy is giving more control to the trucking companies themselves.

This service works using a Smartphone app that is used to accept a job from shippers. Clients are then able to track their truck via an interactive map as it makes it way to its intended destination. It offers clients a transparent shipping process which not only helps them, but the businesses on the receiving end of the shipments. Manufacturers, or whomever else is relying on Convoy for their shipments, can now easily track their freight and let the customer know where and when their products will arrive with more confidence than ever before. Convoy charges truckers a fee, but is dramatically less than traditional brokers. Normally, a broker would charge around 25 percent of the value of a job, but Convoy is looking to keep more money in the hands of the truckers and this could potentially trickle down to the clients. This will mean that truckers will have more money to make use of great services similar to Truck tire service in Norcross, GA to keep their trucks in top condition to remain efficient as possible.

As of now, the company is operating in Oregon and Washington with thousands of truckers on the network. Companies like Scotts Miracle-Gro, and a division of Nucor Steel, are just some of the companies that have already made use of this incredible service. Convoy’s revenue has been doubling every month since its start.

The trucking industry has stayed mostly unchanged since it began and Convoy is looking to add a little competition. Competition always leads to more innovative thinking to look for new ways to add value for the customer.

Driverless trucks are being researched heavily by Volvo and a number of other companies. This was supposed to be the big disruptor in the industry, but Convoy could have beat it to the punch. Once these autonomous trucks are approved for public roads, it will be interesting to see which companies begin to utilize this new technology first. Could a driver-less caravan of semi-trucks be patrolling the country waiting for the next inquiry on Convoy’s app? Or will traditional trucking companies be ready with a fleet of autonomous trucks to serve their clients?

Looking beyond the future possibilities, Convoy is truly a revolutionary tool for truckers as well as manufacturers. Offering more options will help foster innovation in a largely unchanged industry. Furthermore, rates could begin to fall as more competition makes its way onto the scene.

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/technology/convoy-sees-itself-as-the-uber-of-local-trucking.html?_r=0

http://www.geekwire.com/2016/greylock-leads-16m-round-demand-trucking-startup-convoy-reid-hoffman-joins-board/