Industry Trends

The Future of Material Hauling and Technology

February 6, 2019

HaulHub Field app helps field crews track trucks and manage their hauling.
Field crews use HaulHub to manage their hauling jobs in real-time, while also analyzing data over time.

Almost every industry has been transformed by technology—manufacturing, healthcare, retail, agriculture. But it is only recently that heavy construction and material hauling have begun adopting technology solutions for improving operations.

Material producers, contractors, fleet owners, brokers, and drivers are starting to take notice, though. On the producer and contractor side of the equation, technology offers access to previously uncaptured operations and performance data, all while automated time-intensive, tedious tasks. For fleet owners, brokers, and drivers, technology means more jobs, faster pay, and less paperwork.

Here’s are just a few ways technology is transforming material hauling and what that means for the industry’s future.

Streamlining Operations

Dispatching and accounting are huge lifts, no matter your company size. Dispatchers have traditionally used phone-based communications to schedule trucks, typically for a day or two out. When weather turns sour or drivers cancel, it’s back to the phone. Likewise, drivers track their driving logs on paper timesheets, leaving accounting to digitize the hours after shifts are completed.

With technology, all of those processes are automated: scheduling, invoicing, and even certified payroll reporting. Plus, cost coding, insurance verification, and carrier subcontract management is completely digitized.

At HaulHub, that’s how our process works, and we foresee the industry moving in this direction. Everyone in the loop saves time and money, and teammates can focus their energy on optimizing processes rather than drudging through manual tasks. One HaulHub Enterprise customer, for example, saves 1,800 hours annually in accounting and dispatching administration through its work with HaulHub.

There’s no paper chasing. It’s all right there in an app, on both web and mobile.

Monitoring Cost and Performance Data

The biggest downside to running on paper and phone-based systems is the loss of valuable data. When every step of the material hauling process is digitized, suddenly operation-changing insights are available.

At HaulHub, for example, we just released HaulHub Analytics, which empowers material haulers with essential performance and operations data that was previously unavailable. Our metrics include driving, jobsite, and plant cost breakdowns, jobsite costs per ton, costs relative to bid prices, fleet efficiency, fleet safety, and average plant and jobsite wait times, among other key data points.

“HaulHub allows for increased visibility between our plants and jobsites,” says an executive team member from the northeast region of one of the top-five materials producers worldwide, a beta customer for HaulHub Analytics. “We can track material movement, wait times, and costs per ton in real-time. Having this visibility for our contracting division allows us to see what areas are performing well and where we can make business process improvements.”

Regardless of which tool companies use to access and analyze their operations data, it’s important that they’re driving decision-making and optimizing productivity of their entire operations with the information.

Mitigating Safety Risks

Severe dump truck accidents involving towage rose 9%, hitting 8,206 in 2016, the latest year statistics are available, according to reports in Engineering News-Record. Dump truck accidents involving injuries also rose, by  2.7%, to 5,483, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). The numbers are dismal and impact communities across the nation.

In Massachusetts, we’ve seen tragedies of our own, with bicyclists and pedestrians as victims to unsafe operations. From time to time, the industry even sees raised dump bodies as a cause for bridge and overpass collision incidents, resulting in fatalities, life-threatening injuries, and equipment loss that could have been prevented with greater attention to safety precautions.

Technology offers a solution for improving safety. At HaulHub, we’ve already begun to see the impact of safety-minded driving and management experiences.

On the driver side, the HaulHub app integrates safety prompts and reminders before shifts, so that drivers are certifying they are equipped with safety alarms and Personal Protective Equipment before every shift. The app also features quick safety videos before every shift, bringing safety front-of-mind with messages such as “triple check your mirrors,” “obey speed limits” and “lock your gate.”

On the management side, HaulHub enables contractors and material producers to see fleet and driver scores to mitigate safety and performance risks. The scores incorporate incidents, Department of Transportation out-of-service time, and reliability on trucker and fleet levels. One HaulHub Enterprise customer, for example, used HaulHub’s fleet-level safety data to identify and terminate the bottom 5% of fleets with poor safety and performance rankings.

Through technology, we can build a safer future for everyone involved in construction, from drivers and field crews to pedestrians and bystanders.

Tracking Jobs in Real-Time

Whether you’re a dispatcher, fleet owner, superintendent, or maybe even another member of a field crew, there are times when you need to know where your trucks are. If you’re on the jobsite, you’ve likely tried to time your trucks so that they’re arriving in a steady stream, not as a convoy. Wait times are detrimental to productivity.

With technology, field crews can have visibility—both real-time and playback tracking is possible. GPS tracking is already highly utilized in the industry; when it’s paired with billing and reporting capabilities, it’s even more powerful. And even better, when managers have the ability to playback shifts after the fact, they are able to analyze what went right and what went wrong, like a football coach, reviewing game footage to spot weaknesses and strengths.

Material hauling has tremendous potential for even more growth than its experiencing now with the data and capabilities made possible by technology. From streamlining operations and decreasing costs to tracking real-time job flow, the benefits of implementing technology solutions in material hauling are clear. That’s why, at HaulHub, we’re building technology for material hauling that optimizes the way material producers, haulers, and field crews collaborate.

Interested in learning more about technology for material hauling? Visit haulhub.com.