New Uber Freight offering focuses on increasing fleet productivity

Earlier today, Uber Freight announced the introduction of a new offering that providers motor carriers with multiple trucks a way to more efficiently manage operations and increase productivity.

Entitled “Fleet Mode,” Uber said in a blog posting that this tool, which is part of the Uber Freight app, allows “carriers and their dispatchers to find, book, and reassign the best loads for their team.” And it added that when a user is logged in to the app, they get access to a full driver list, with the schedule for each driver and availability, as well as all available Uber Freight loads. This interconnectivity, explained Uber, allows a carrier and its dispatcher to intuitively and quickly manage all facets of load booking for their fleet via the Uber Freight app.

For the last year, we’ve been focused on building tools and services that enable carriers and their drivers to more efficiently find and book the freight they want and need,” Uber said in the blog. “But for many carriers, a big part of keeping their freight moving means putting that same technology in the hands of their dispatchers. Today, we are excited to launch fleet mode, a new tool within the Uber Freight app that empowers carriers with multiple trucks to manage their operations with ease.”

The company added that over the last year that it has been dedicated to developing tools and services focused on helping owner-operators and small carriers run their businesses through things like personalization features enabling carriers and drivers to more quickly find the freight they need, along with lowering operating costs through the Uber Freight app. And it added that the impetus for Fleet Mode stemmed from user feedback from its carrier community requesting that Uber Freight build a tool to help its customers grow and manage fleets more efficiently.

In a recent interview, Bill Driegert, director of Uber Freight, said that Uber Freight is in a good position in the market at the moment.

“With the capacity situation that is brought on by ELD and the driver shortage to a large degree, we think it [created] an opening in which we think Uber Freight is well positioned,” he said. “2017, for us, was about building our foundation and initial relationships with shippers and carriers. And for 2018 we are well positioned to be active in the market. It is a great opportunity for us go out and demonstrate the value of what we have built. We are seeing freight quickly get booked on our platform and more engagement from drivers that are using it every week, and from shippers we are seeing increased interest in how we reach the market and plug in deeper to their operations with real-time access. It is a unique time in the market, and it is creating a lot of opportunities for how they run operations and go to market.” 

While Uber Freight has only recently made its official entrance into the market, a 2016 report from supply chain consultancy Armstrong and Associates, which was based on feedback from 27 companies providing Uber for Trucking services, or “Digital Freight Matching” (DFM), which Armstrong said reflects these types of services far more accurately was pretty telling.

“One of the key components of Uber’s model is the commodity-like nature of the ride-hailing service,” Armstrong said.  “The principle behind Digital Freight Matching may be simple, but the trucking industry is not. Domestic transportation is not a simple commodity. Complexities arise in the form of specialized equipment types, shipments transported via multiple modes, and necessary exception handling for service issues such as equipment breakdowns. Shipments are high-value and time sensitive. Placing an Uber-like app atop a complex industry doesn’t truly address the problem. Shippers and Carriers alike will be disappointed if this is the extent of the ‘solution.’”

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