Insight: Technology, Connectivity and Trucking, Part I

Sometimes when your passing that 80,000 lbs behemoth Peterbilt on the highway you remember the days, as a kid, you thought “Wow, I want to do that when I grow up.” Well, here is some insight on how hard this business is and what technology means in this business.

I was in Plant City, FL on Thursday and Friday and the broker that I was going to use just couldn’t get the load he had planned for me put together. It would have been a half load of strawberries and the other half was in the air and not known (that was the problem). I would have been going to New Jersey with the load.

So, after spending a half-day on Friday of just setting around and waiting, for this broker to get this together I started getting seriously nervous. If you know anything about Florida, it is a state that has very little production other than produce, especially this time of year until June. What that translates to is when you take a load to Florida you better have a real and effective plan on getting a load out of Florida. When I was contacted by a broker asking me to go to Plant City, FL from Maxton, NC the first thing I said was, “Let me call to see what is happening in Florida.” And I did and the Florida produce broker said “Yeah, come on down, I need four or five more trucks right now.” So I did come on down to the “bikini state.”

The load down was strait forward, no glitches and I unloaded at 14:30 EST Thursday in Plant City, FL. My produce broker told me to go rest and he would get things going no later than 10:00 EST on Friday. I tell you, being in Florida on Friday is dangerous, as you could get stuck there the whole weekend if you can’t find a load. Sure you can “dead-head” (drive with no load in the trailer) on home, but with Fuel at $3.40 per gallon that just isn’t an option anymore. So, when the time rolled around to 12:00 EST Noon and no load had come together for my produce broker, I was getting nervous and by 14:30 I was dead serious scared. I called the office and the secretary had her hands full, so she couldn’t get online and find a load or post my truck. I took my mobile phone, the Samsung A900 (about 1 year old) and tried to log onto the Internet Truckstop which is a load board system that gets trucks and brokers working together on almost a real-time basis. You can find loads and post that your truck is available. There are other systems too, like “Getloaded.com” and others. We use IT and GL. The phone was only a year old, but let me tell you, using it for web surfing is like using a feather and ink to write a letter in MS Word! I literally had to select “find loads” and then scroll down for four minutes!!!! Then select which type of search I wanted and scroll down after it reloaded the page for four MORE minutes. It was horrendous. I finally was able just to post my truck as “available.” Even that was so archaic that I was about to pull my hair out.

It was finally about 15:30 EST when I could get myself “posted.” I was about to go postal. Usually, if you don’t have a load in the state of Florida by 12:00 or 13:00 you are not getting a load – period. I posted the truck and started walking to Grampa Johnston’s BBQ right there at the market. It kinda felt like I was eating my last meal! I was down in the dumps! I was going to sit in Plant City, FL until MONDAY!

I didn’t walk 25 yards from my truck and the phone rang!….See the next post for more info and how this all was solved.

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2 responses to “Insight: Technology, Connectivity and Trucking, Part I

  1. Wilson,
    I didn’t realize you were back on the road. I’ve been driving for Pate Dawson for three months since I retired from the USAF. I looked for you at church last Sunday and your wife said you were pulling a load for your dad. I’m looking at going on my own and wanted to talk to you. I need some insight on dealing with brokers and how the loads work. I’ve found a website that deals with getting authority, permits, etc. I’ve also looked at getting a small business loan for vets. email me at mbjslj@yahoo.com

    Mike

  2. Oh my! We need to talk. I called your house and your wife picked up, I left a message for you. We need to do lunch.

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