FR8 Revolution is a company that was founded a year ago with the vision of bringing data-driven, cloud-based tools to the trucking market.
It can be easy to forget about this industry when you shop at your favorite store, fast food outlet or e-commerce site, but in order to ensure your purchase happens seamlessly, a huge amount of logistics has to occur. It requires a lot of planning to ensure, for example, that a McDonald's outlet in New York City in the middle of winter has fresh lettuce and tomatoes and enough french fries for demand. Where that planning rubber literally and figuratively meets the road is in the trucking industry.
The U.S. trucking industry alone is a $700 billion market and employs a staggering 3.5 million drivers. And while we've all been told a number of times that the future of trucking is autonomous vehicles, the truth behind that somewhat cliched statement is that it's going to take a huge amount of software to actually make that prophecy come true.
Which is where FR8 comes in: The tools the company makes are focused on helping carriers manage their fleet schedules, identify available capacity on freight truck routes, and sell this capacity to shippers that need it. The platform allows shippers to manage and track their spot loads in real time, and the FR8 mobile app provides truck drivers with tools to manage their life on the road.
Essentially, and at the risk of falling for yet another cliche, FR8 allows truckers to become much like Uber drivers and maximize capacity utilization and efficiency. The company gained a multimillion-dollar investment from MAN Truck & Bus AG, a Volkswagen subsidiary.
The company is today launching FR8.guru, a platform and marketplace to enable the exchange of information and service between fleet owners and truck drivers. FR8.guru gives small and midsize fleet owners more control and oversight of their complete fleet via a web-based dashboard.
The software tracks a fleet of up to 500 trucks, providing carriers and their shipping customers real-time notification of estimated arrival dates and time. Regarding the Uber analogy, when fleets have excess capacity or backhauls to fill, FR8.guru automatically finds freight to fill it, helping carriers keep their utilization and profitability high, and reducing wasted fuel and excess carbon emissions from driving empty miles.
FR8.guru has a companion mobile app for drivers that provides routing and schedule information, helps drivers establish a reliability track record, and gives drivers details on when they can expect to pick up additional shipments or when they will be home next. By giving drivers input and visibility into their schedule and an easy and anonymous way to rate their experience with docks and shippers, FR8.guru aims to improve their lives on the road.
FR8 has quietly been testing the platform with a number of carriers, shippers and brokers.
"FR8 Revolution is building the operating system for the entire trucking industry," said Matthew Kropp, CEO of FR8 Revolution. "Our beta test has been well-received and widely successful, and we are excited to open up our platform to even more carriers."
Data is going to be the thing that drives efficiency and sustainability for the trucking industry. It's super early days for FR8, and the jury is out on whether a standalone vendor will have the clout to really execute upon this opportunity. But one thing is for sure: There is a huge amount of value to be created in this industry.
This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?