Three weeks into his new job as chief executive of Omnitracs, Ray Greer sat with trucking media and analysts for lunch at the company’s Outlook user conference in Nashville, Feb. 27.
Before leading Omnitracs, a mobile fleet management technology provider, Greer was the president of BNSF Logistics, a large third-party logistics (3PL) firm.
BNSF Logistics recently went through the process of certifying 40,000 carriers in its network for electronic logging device (ELD) compliance, he explained. The lion’s share of its carriers were using ELD products from Omnitracs.
At BNSF, Greer saw the opportunity to leverage data from ELD applications to gain visibility of shipment status and more quickly and efficiently locate capacity for its loads.
During the lunch meeting in Nashville, Greer expressed interest in Omnitracs offering new freight matching technologies for 3PLs, freight brokers and carriers. To do this, accumulating more data and acquiring companies may be needed.
“The Holy Grail of trucking is matching carriers with shippers,” he said. “It is going to be fun, and I’m excited about how we are going to tap that market.”
Thirty years ago, Qualcomm pioneered satellite tracking and mobile communications in the trucking industry with its Omnitracs product. In 2013, Omnitracs — a name repurposed for the Qualcomm fleet management technology subsidiary — was purchased from Qualcomm by private equity firm Vista.
Carriers that use mobile platforms from Omnitracs, such as XRS and MCP, can satisfy load tracking requirements from their shipper, 3PL and freight broker customers by sharing location information through the application Virtual Load View.
Omnitrac’s Virtual Load View secures carrier location information to share only the details carriers agree to share with their trusted customers. The company plans to expand the application to leverage route planning and optimization applications to bring new freight matching capabilities to market.
For example, if a driver in Texas is empty with six hours remaining on his hours-of-service duty status, “we need to present loads (to the driver) that he can do in six hours,” he said. The loads would be coming from a shipper, 3PL or freight broker using Omnitracs technology that works “in the middle” of the freight matching process with carriers.
“We will change the way carriers think about getting their next load,” he said.
The same routing optimization technologies can be applied to identify platooning opportunities for carriers. Omnitracs has a partnership with Peloton Technologies that will soon make its platooning technology available. The technology enables two trucks to run in close proximity by automating vehicle throttle and brake responses. The lead tractor in a platoon saves 4.5 percent fuel and the rear vehicle 10 percent.
During the Outlook user conference, Kevin Haugh, chief product and strategy officer of Omnitracs, showed the depth and breadth of the company’s fleet management technology that it has acquired and developed under the ownership of Vista.
Recent development has been focused on converging technologies for the “first, middle and final mile” of transportation and distribution. The company has developed applications for carriers with each of these operations, and at the conference announced a unified stack of technology solutions called the Omnitracs One platform.
The new, integrated stack of software-as-a-service applications brings together features and functionalities from Omnitracs’ portfolio of routing, dispatch, compliance, navigation, safety and other products to offer a single-source user experience.
The single-source user experience covers everything from fleet operations management, mobile driver interfaces, data analytics, data discovery and reporting, he explained.
For data analytics and discovery component, Omnitracs has created new user experiences that give a comprehensive view of fleet operations with key indicators for vehicle and driver status. Drill-down features give users the ability to find and take action on real-time information, he said, and to predict problems ahead of time.
Omnitracs One is designed to be device agnostic to give fleets a broader array of options based on their needs with an “open and secure” architecture for instant access to a network of technology partners and system integrations.
As part of the Omnitracs One platform, the company will be rolling out an Android version of its in-cab IVG platform later in the year.
“We want to make it easy for drivers to do what they do,” he said. “We are able to bring everything together seamlessly for the driver so they can manage their workday better.”