Data Entry Automation Software for Trucking Companies – The Heavy-Duty Parts Report

Learn about Data Entry Automation Software for Trucking Companies to improve productivity and lower costs.

Episode 162: Trucking fleets rely on accurate data to run their business as smoothly as possible and lower the total cost of operation. Unfortunately, entering load tenders into Transportation Management Systems (TMS) is tedious and inefficient. We can do better!

My guest today is Tracy Toole the Director of Sales at Deep Cognition, the creators of LoadCapture.  

Tracy Toole headshot, and Load Capture logo. In this episode, learn about Data Entry Automation Software for Trucking Companies to improve productivity and lower costs.

Tracy has been providing software solutions and services to the trucking industry since 2013 to enable Transportation and Logistics companies to reduce costs, eliminate errors, streamline operations, have greater fleet visibility, and ensure safety and compliance.  He has a Computer Science degree, software development experience, and helps companies eliminate expensive, time-consuming processes in favor of operational efficiencies.   

Guest Website: LoadCapture.com

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Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine:

You are listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering cost-per-mile.

Trucking fleets rely on accurate data to run their business as smooth as possible and to lower the total cost of operation. That is something that we are very concerned with here at The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. Unfortunately, entering load tenders into TMS or transportation management systems is tedious and inefficient. So what can we do to make that better? We’re gonna challenge the status quo in the trucking industry today. And we’re gonna learn about a solution that will make that whole situation a lot more efficient. And so my guest today is Tracy Toole. He’s the Director of Sales at Deep Cognition, the creators of Load Capture, and Tracy’s been providing software solutions and services to the trucking industry since 2013 to enable transportation and logistics companies to reduce their cost, eliminate errors, streamline their operations, and have greater visibility and ensure that their safety and compliance. So Tracy is the man to talk to. Tracy, welcome to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m glad you’re here to help me challenge the status quo in the trucking industry.

Tracy Toole:

Thank you, Jamie. I appreciate you having me. It’s pleasure to be here.

Jamie Irvine:

All right. So let’s get into our conversation. I was curious, what is the status quo for fleets? When they’re processing load tenders? We alluded to it in the intro, but tell us a little more.

Tracy Toole:

Okay. In the majority of cases, carriers receive their load tenders or rate confirmations from three PLs. And sometimes these come all over electronically, but most of the time, they actually are still coming over via email with PDF attachments and somebody at the carrier then has to detach those files, manually key that data entry in to their TMS system so that they can then judge and determine whether they can accept the load, whether they want to accept it, then they have to sign it, send it back to the three PL somebody on that side has to take the document and process it into their system. So that whole process, let’s say probably at least 70% of the time in our experience is still done very manually.

Jamie Irvine:

So the minute that you’re doing something manually, you’ve got more than one person involved. You exponentially increase the opportunity or the likelihood of mistakes. So what mistakes are commonly made and how do we avoid them?

Tracy Toole:

Okay. That’s a great question. And before I answer that, if I could just say one thing as an aside here, this is not just a trucking company problem. We have many three PL and global logistics companies, freight forwarders, that you’d be surprised how much is being done manually with those guys, AP invoices, commercial invoices, customs entry. So the whole transportation industry has this issue, you know, but I know we’re talking specifically about the trucking companies today. So as far as the mistakes that are being made, there’s a lot of, most of ’em are the way you would think, you know, with human error that you’d have, maybe the people are having to process too many documents. They’re having to do it too fast. They’re trying to meet deadlines. They’re trying to get their response to the three PL fast enough so that they don’t move on to someone else. Right, sometimes they may just be overworked. They are under staffed and they’re just trying to get too much accomplished. And then there’s getting sick, getting tired, getting distracted, all those things that you would expect.

Jamie Irvine:

Global pandemics just jacking everything up.

Tracy Toole:

Little things like COVID, which brings me to, that’s a great segue because the other part of this, I think is that often due to increased peaked volumes, right? Maybe during the day, there’s certain times of the day when there’s a lot more of these or certain days of the week or the month or in COVID where all of a sudden employees, we we’re told by a lot of our clients that all of a sudden people just don’t show up that day. And it’s not literally a lot of generally a lot of warning, right? And so what has happen a lot of times then is companies rely on temporary workers to come in, or they pull other people off of their normal jobs to come out and help. And now you’ve got people doing this that are not that familiar with the process or with your TMS system or with your documents. And now that introduces a whole host of mistakes.

Jamie Irvine:

When I hear are this kind of situation and, you know, it’s very traditional in the way it’s being done. There’s a lot of opportunity for mistakes and problems, my brain always goes to what’s the economic impact?

Tracy Toole:

Right? What is, that’s a great question too, because the economic impact is huge. Anytime, like you said, you’re using a manual process to do something that can be done better, automated. Let me paint a picture, something that’s very simple kind of ridiculous example, but I think it’s something we can all relate to. This is how I talk to myself. Think about this, I’m your boss, Jamie and I come to you and I have a two page document. It’s got data, it’s got, uh, graphics on it. You know, I say, I need a hundred copies of this document by the end of the day, every day. So you go, okay, I’ll go hire 10 people. Looks like it’ll take about an hour to do one of those. We’ll have hire 10 people and we’ll sit here and we’ll turn these things out and we’ll get those hundred done.

Well, obviously that’s gonna be very expensive. It’s gonna be very time consuming. It’s gonna have a lot of errors. No two copies will be the same, right. Or alternatively, you could use a copy machine, right? Put ’em on there and produce a hundred of these copies in a couple of minutes. And then from a scalability standpoint, if I come to you the next month and say, okay, now we need 300. You go hire 20 more people right now, you got 30 people turning these out, or the copier could just do it in a few minutes. And so we can all relate to that. Nobody would think about doing that today, uh, when, when there’s copiers available. But you know, we’re kind of doing the same thing. If we’ve got groups of people sitting there manually keying in all the data, when there are solutions that can do that a little bit better.

So I think that economic impact is huge. I’m a sports fan myself. And so one of the things, whether it’s football or soccer or hockey or baseball, whatever it is, good coaches know that they’re gonna get the best performance out of their people and out of their teams, if they’ve got their right players in the right positions, right? You don’t want some big 350 pound ox immovable guy guarding wide receivers in the back. You want him on the line, right? And so in business, it’s the same. There are things that human beings do better. There are things that technology and automation can do better. And I think the better we can match those up and align those and collaborate together, the more efficiencies and gains that we’re gonna have. Now in the, in this particular case with the load tenders and rate confirmations, you’ve got a lot of challenges. Let’s highlight three of them.

Number one, it’s expensive. Okay. It’s about eight to 10 times more costly than an automation solution would be to do it all manually. Number two, it’s very time consuming, right? It takes a lot longer. It might take a human being 10 to 15 minutes to do what an automation solution could do in one minute. And of course we have the human error that we’ve already talked about introduced there. So I think if we can minimize those areas, if we can align those functions better, then we’re gonna achieve the maximum gains. Now there’s one other area. If I could talk about that, I think you’ll be familiar with all of our listeners will be, and that is the area digital transformation. We’ve heard that expression it’s happening all around, it’s all industries, trucking industries, no exception I’ve been providing since 2013, some of these solutions myself.

So think about in our industry a little bit, what we’ve benefited from fleet management solutions, route optimization, driver communication with dispatchers via messaging systems and all driver safety hours of service logging, electronic inspection reports, fleet maintenance tracking, driver workflows, even in the HR side, you know, think about all the documents that are electronic now versus paper forms. There’s been huge digital transformation going on in the trucking industry already, but this area, this area is one of those with data entry that has just not been addressed well enough. And, you know, I saw a cartoon years ago, Jamie is a little caricature of a cave man. And he’s got this rope over him and he’s hauling this big slab behind him with all his heavy stuff. And he’s just really working on it. And there’s this other off to the side and he has a wheel.

And he’s trying to get the guys attention. Hey, look, look, I’m too busy. I don’t have time for that. Leave me alone. And he’s moving forward. And there was a Navy Admiral in the 1940s. Grace Hopper, I believe was her name. And I saw this quote years ago and I’ve used it in many proposals over the years of people. She said the most dangerous phrase in the English language is ‘it’s always been done that way’. And all I’m saying to people is, you know, let’s don’t be the guy that’s saying I’m gonna do it the old way. Don’t bother me with the wheel. You know, I’m too busy for that. There’s a wheel out there. And I think if we can and it’s happening in other parts of the trucking industry. So if we can make that happen in the automation, I think we’re going to see a lot better impact.

Jamie Irvine:

We’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be right back. Don’t have a heavy-duty part number and need to look up a part? Go to parts.diesellaptops.com or download the app on Apple or Android to create your free account. Looking for high quality fuel injection for heavy-duty applications? Having one supplier for fuel injection allows you to better serve customers by providing them with a complete line, which increases your sales and profitability. Learn more at ambacinternational.com/aftermarket. We’re back from our break. And before the break, we were talking about how there is a better way for data entry automation in the transportation sector, especially affecting trucking companies, but also by extension anybody in the logistics space. Tracy, what is Load Capture and how does it work?

Tracy Toole:

Great question. So in a nutshell, Load Capture is an artificial intelligence enabled technology. That’s going to extract data from various types of documents, like rate confirmations and load tenders and put that data, you know, analyze it, extract it, validate it and write it directly into your TMS system. It can receive document or information from various sources. It could be PDFs or documents or emails, websites, pictures, but it gathers the data. And in a nutshell, there’s four components to it. If I could really simplify it for you. So you receive rate confirmations and load tenders, we have to get those to our server. Very simple. You can email ’em to us. It could be on a shared drive. You can FTP it over, but we get those documents into our server. The second step is we then extract the data. We have a series of proprietary artificial intelligence engines that we built that will go in as quite phenomenal, actually, how it works and they will extract all of that data and build these value pairs inside of our system.

Then the third step is we will validate that. So there’s a lot of machine checks. And then finally there’s a human validation that goes on at the end that we can do with a client can do. And then finally, once it’s been validated and we know it’s accurate, it’s written directly into the TMS system and for people who care about the details it can be written in the TMS system via an integration directly to the TMS like cargo wise, SAP. We have integrations already for some of these companies, but what’s unique about us is, or I think it’s unique. We’re one of the only providers that has this, maybe the only one, but we have a built in robotic process automation, we call an RPA that can mimic what the human being would do. And so we can virtually work with any TMS or ERP system by putting that data directly in.

So we get the data in, we extract it, we validate it and we write it directly into the system. And bottom line is you’re gonna get a huge economic impact. It’s gonna be way less expensive, way faster, much more accurate than we could do if we try to do a purely manual system. And, you know, Jamie, sometimes people think it’s either one or the other, we’re not eliminating the human beings from this. I mean, there are things that human beings do better than machines, but what we can do is reduce that staff way down and have a lot of that repetitive mind numbing work done by technology that does it better anyway, but then a human being comes along with that final check and just does it a once over, make sure it’s right. And if something is wrong, which is rare, but sometimes it happens, they can flag that and the machine can learn. Our AI is very trainable.

 I’ll give you one example, working with a big global logistics company and they’re having us do invoice stuff for them. Okay. And they show me a 93 page invoice, a commercial invoice, all ports of entry, all this kind of stuff. Right. And one of the lines was so long that went over into the next column. Well, human beings are better at fixing that than a machine would be. Our AI was smart enough to know that this happened. It put the right one in, but it flagged the second column and said, Hey, you need to look at this. So when the human validation component comes up, they look at that. They’re able to go and say, okay, this is what it is. And highlight that this is where you need to focus. Now, the AI will then go and teach itself and get that right. So when the humans and the artificial intelligence solutions work together, that’s where we have the biggest gain.

Jamie Irvine:

Right and that gain can be as much as a 90% reduction in cost. So how does Load Capture help with analyzing all of this data? Because that’s a component that machines are really good at. They can take these large amounts of data and they can find trends and things that humans couldn’t. So explain that part of it. And how does that impact the trucking company?

Tracy Toole:

So Load Captures automatically analyzing the data from all these documents, right? It’s extracting whatever’s relevant in that data. The AI, like I said, is trainable. It’s always improving itself. And we point out, Hey, you made a mistake here, which again is rare. It can go in and relearn and retrain itself. So that doesn’t make that again. That’s how we get such high levels of accuracy. It can do exception handling, things like that. It smart enough to detect, like you said, patterns, things that are going wrong. Customers can even ask us to do some exception handling for them, things that they know. We know that this, this company generally has one of these 10 locations that they send all their stuff to. If it’s a different one than that flag it, it probably isn’t wrong, but we wanna look at it, you know, things like that.

So it can do all of those kind of things. Then Load Capture, when you have that solution, you basically are being able to do this way faster when with fewer people, right? And so you can then use those people to process lots more load tenders. It’s scalable, right? So if all of a sudden you’re doing three times as many, you don’t have to hire three times as staff. You’ve got the people to do that. And since a lot of the work is being done automatically, you can, with those, repurpose a lot of those human beings to do things that bring more value to the company. So for example companies handle this in lots of different ways. And I hear sometimes, like I said, people are pulling people off their jobs. They may not even have specific data entry people.

They just say, look, everybody has to jump in and help. Well, guess what? Now you don’t have to pull those people off their jobs. They can do what you want them to do and what they’re really good at, but also a company. They may have their own data entry people. And they say, you know, what, if we can take that from 10 to one, we can take these other nine people and do something else with them. Maybe we’ve put ’em in more customer focusing or facing type roles, you know? And you’ve gotta get creative. There’s lots of things that human beings are capable of doing. And then if you’re in the situation where you’re having to hire a bunch of temporary people from outside, you can just simply not do that. And reinvest that savings back into your business somehow.

Jamie Irvine:

Absolutely. I think that the opportunity there, and there is shortages in other parts of the trucking industry. So we have major are shortages. On the part side, we have major shortages on the driver side, on the repair technician side. And also there are some people with a lot of experience who are getting to the age where they want to retire, and there’s just not as many people to replace them. So if you could retrain some of these very qualified people who have experience in the industry, they know your company already, but then you could reallocate some resources to training them, to do other jobs within the company. This is gonna have a major impact on the ability for you to run your company effectively.

Tracy Toole:

Absolutely. What you just said hit on the point I was trying to make earlier, you were aligning the skillsets with the work to be done, right? Put the best people and the best technologies or whatever on the job. And we’ll get it done the most effectively.

Jamie Irvine:

You’ve been listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And we’ve been speaking with Tracy Toole, the Director of Sales at Deep Cognition, the creators of Load Capture. To learn more about Load Capture, visit loadcapture.com, and there you will find out how they achieve those 90% reductions in costs related to data entry automation. Tracy, thank you so much for being on The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m glad that you were here to help me challenge the status quo in the trucking industry.

Tracy Toole:

Been a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

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