Running a small business is a tough job. A lot of times you, the owner, have to wear multiple hats in order for the operation to run smoothly. That means dispatching, invoicing and payroll all done by one or a few people to keep costs low. If the goal is to grow your business, having systems in place is of the utmost importance. Systems are like well-oiled machines requiring low maintenance and allowing you to focus on growing your business.
How can you use TMS (Truck Management Software) to build your business systems? There are multiple ways this can be done. We will look at the most common tasks and see how they can be automated, or augmented, with TMS.
Dispatching is a core component of any trucking business so it’s very important that it is handled properly and with little room for errors. When a load is confirmed, a trip is created in LoadPanel with all the relevant information, including the confirmation document, customer information and broker information. The trip is dispatched to the driver via SMS or the LoadPanel Driver app (the driver will get a push notification). All activity, communication and documents are recorded on the trip and archived for records. The customer or broker is able to view the status of a trip in real-time with a special tracking link reducing the unnecessary check calls.
With ELD integration, the TMS will report the location and status of the driver, including the driver’s HOS. With geofencing, the TMS is able to determine when the driver arrives at a pickup or delivery location and notifies the dispatcher when that occurs.
Invoicing the broker quickly and accurately is very important – you’re in business to get paid after all. LoadPanel generates an invoice for a trip, including any reimbursable expenses incurred during the trip by the driver. If you use a factoring company, you can easily create a batch invoice (one invoice for many trips), print or email the invoice to the factoring company (or broker) directly from LoadPanel and keep track of paid and unpaid invoices.
When drivers incur expenses during a trip run, the invoices can be uploaded directly to the trip in the LoadPanel Driver app. Expenses and additional driver income are recorded on the trip which will later be used when doing payroll. This process reduces the amount of paperwork required and saves a lot of accounting time.
Good drivers are hard to find and even harder to keep so paying them quickly and on time helps with driver retention and satisfaction. Automating payroll reduces the amount of time required to pay drivers. LoadPanel auto-generates driver settlements for each driver using the trip information and expenses captured earlier in the process. Driver settlements are configurable for both company drivers and owner-operators.
Installment agreements (regular payments for truck leases or insurance) with drivers are included during each pay period and are automatically deducted from the agreement ledgers.
Staying on top of things by keeping it all in your head is not a good strategy. We recommend setting reminders in LoadPanel for any recurring maintenance, payments and renewals so you could focus on what’s most important.
Even if you are running a single truck, automating parts of your business using systems is a huge win. The advantages are even higher as the number of trucks increases. The systems that are put in place in the beginning work for you while you work on your business. If you have a small fleet, now is the time to create a free account on LoadPanel and start building your systems.