I worked with a design agency in Austin on a 1 month project for a trucking logistics startup. Our task was to do initial research, scoping and come up with some archetype screens - taking their idea into something tangible they could use to pitch to investors and trucking companies.

Currently, companies selling crushed concrete and other materials to large construction projects manage their trucking fleet in an inefficient, error prone way. Typically, if they have a load of concrete they need to deliver to a building site, a manager will call a third party broker the night before a job. They will offer a set rate per load of concrete moved, and request a certain number of drivers. That broker will call indepedent drivers and give them the details over the phone. The drivers might show up the next day to move the loads or they may not; perhaps they got a better offer for another job.

We tracked all these potential breakdowns in a system map for the current, as is way of doing business. We also mapped how on an on demand, mobile based system similar to uber could work.

Data Model & System Mapping

As is system map

Proposed on demand style system map

In speaking with drivers, and looking at the system we found that there was an astonishing lack of trust. Concrete companies felt like the drivers were always trying to steal from them or weren't following the rules; they didn't know if they could count on drivers to show up and do the job properly. Drivers felt the concrete companies treated them as disposable, and they had little insight into what other jobs might be available or what a good rate was in the market. We came up with a set of design criteria to guide our designs, in a way that would bring trust and transparency to trucking logistics that could help satisfy both concrete companies and truckers alike.

Design Criteria

  • Be faster than the “old way” of dump trucking
    • Finding drivers for a job should take less than 30 minutes
    • Checking a trucker in and getting them loaded should take 10-20 minutes, if there is no line.
    • A driver should quickly be able to access a large list of available jobs and have his pick
  • Balance the power between drivers and construction companies
    • Vet drivers.
    • Vet construction companies/ contractors
    • Don’t let construction companies ruin a driver with one bad review.
  • Gloves, glare, language & reading level
    • Accommodate the conditions of use and user.
  • One up current brokers
    • 1% less (or make value proposition strong enough to justify take broker equivalent cut)
    • Representation for citations (after 3 months of use)
  • Focus on long term, relational, emotional and mental support, not near-term logistics
    • Brokers assure drivers that they will get future jobs and keep them from making rash/poor decisions. 
    • Drivers need to feel heard
    • Drivers need to feel taken care of.
  • Have the “manual switch” ready
    • If a big job goes awry, someone needs to get on the phones and fix things, or find truckers.



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