It was a good problem to have. With a rapidly growing trucking company, Nick Beck, owner of Beck Trucking, knew he had to streamline communication with drivers and customers. “We were steadily adding trucks, so checking in with drivers by phone was no longer efficient,” he says. “At times we were spending hours just waiting for the phone to ring or trying to reach drivers for location and status updates.”
The result of that realization, and the decision that followed at Beck Trucking, speaks for itself. With new technology for tracking and communication, the company was able to bid on and win a job that generated $500,000 in annual revenue. And the improvement it made in operations and customer service continues to help drive growth for the carrier.
“The Verizon Connect Reveal fleet tracking system and its project44 integration that provides GPS locations for shippers changed our whole business model,” Beck says. “Now, we can see where our vehicles are at any time and our customers have immediate access to freight location and status. With that visibility there’s better accuracy for delivery information without having to constantly try to communicate with the driver.”
Established in 2006 and headquartered in Dobson, North Carolina, Beck Trucking hauls a variety of building products, including windows, doors and vinyl siding, for manufacturers to distribution centers, franchisees and customers. Its fleet of 33 tractors and 70 dry vans operates mainly in 24 states in the eastern half of the country.
“Our focus on equipment is based on customer needs,” Beck says, “and while price also has to be a factor, durability, fuel economy and safety are just as important to us when we make those decisions. We also tend to stick with vehicles and specs when we find what works best, so we’ve chosen Kenworth and Peterbilt to supply our tractors, including complete PACCAR powertrains, and we like both Utility and Great Dane trailers.
Providing an incentive
Along with specifications, to promote and enhance safety and fuel efficiency in its fleet Beck pays quarterly performance bonuses to drivers. The practice, Beck believes, provides an incentive to achieve those goals. “We post every driver’s results so they can see where they stand, and that also seems to foster competition to do better,” he says. “With Verizon Connect Reveal we also have the ability to watch for excessive idle time and address that with drivers.
“Another benefit we’ve realized with Reveal is improved safety,” Beck continues. “Before, we didn’t know which drivers were speeding, braking harshly or turning too fast, but now we use the system’s data to track unsafe activity. That information is the basis of our safety awards and bonuses, but most importantly with drivers incentivized to drive more safely our CSA scores have improved because there have been fewer violations.”
Beck Trucking’s approach to rewarding drivers, along with offering premium late model equipment, complements its pay and benefits programs. For drivers, the carrier provides weekly payroll, paid vacations and guaranteed home time, stop, mileage, detention time and unloading pay, a 401(k) with a company match, and major medical, dental, vision and life insurance.
Drivers at Beck Trucking also look favorably on the fleet’s maintenance program, Beck relates. “We handle everything in-house, including PACCAR warranty work,” he explains. “All of our trucks return weekly after 3,000- to 3,500-mile trips, at which point they are thoroughly inspected, preventive maintenance is completed, and any issues drivers report are addressed. Every tractor and trailer is also washed on site before it is ready to go back on the road.”
The return on all of those investments is in improved driver recruitment and retention, Beck notes. Today, the carrier’s typical annual turnover is under 10% and 29 of its drivers have remained with the company for a long time. Currently, it is only one driver short of filling seats in all 33 of its company tractors.
Choosing technology wisely
Beck also credits the choice of Verizon Connect technology for streamlining back office operations at Beck Trucking. In the past, for example, payroll and fuel tax reporting processes were requiring a large amount of administrative time, and manual data entry was prone to errors.
“With Reveal we can use location and mileage information to automate completing those tedious but necessary tasks,” Beck relates. “We have systems for verifying payroll against a driver’s daily report and mileage, and to manage IFTA reporting we just need to pull one report from Reveal. The difference is amazing.”
The change is also obvious to Beck Trucking’s customers. “Before, our lack of visibility into vehicle location also meant we couldn’t update shippers so they would know when a load will be delivered,” Beck explains. “Now, using live maps in Verizon Connect Reveal, our staff can see where our vehicles are at any time, and with their project44 integration it’s very easy for customers to log in and track any specific shipment. Overall, with this technology we’re more confident that we can provide better customer service.”