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50 Most Admired Companies of the Year 2020

An Interview with Tapan Chaudhari, TruckX Inc Founder: ‘We’re a Technology Company with a Trucking Heart’

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“We are focusing on new devices, efficiencies, and more integrated solutions that will provide trucking companies with a full range of offerings from one interface.”

TruckX Incis a company that brings transparency, visibility, and efficiency to the trucking industry. TruckX provides ELD devices and dispatching software as a single tool.

The company was incorporated in 2016 and is headquartered in Mountain View, CA.

Tapan Chaudhari, TruckX Inc Founder, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Explain your offerings in brief.

TruckX was launched with a mission to use the power of the latest technology to address the pressing challenges of the trucking industry. Trucking is such a fundamental pillar of the nation’s economy and a key piece of the American way.

TruckX started with an Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) that is designed to help trucking companies comply with FMCSA regulations easily. Our latest range of IoT-driven solutions is focused on Fleet Management and Asset Tracking to help trucking companies deliver efficiently, improve customer relationships, and become more profitable. With our solutions, the objective is to make it easier for millions of truckers and thousands of small, medium, and large-sized trucking companies to be efficient and safe.

Q. While using a digital logbook companies can read these records and chastise already fatigued drivers who don’t meet their minimum. How can we overcome this?

In most cases, the challenge is not that drivers drive too little. The ELDs have become the law to regulate the Hours of Service (HOS) of the drivers to prevent them from driving too much or for too long in a given period. Tired or sleepiness is a huge safety concern that the FMCSA is trying to address using ELD. That said, we are extremely conscious of the kind of things the drivers worry about in this context.

We know that drivers don’t want to spend too much time having to learn how to use a device or how to monitor that it’s working properly and accurately. That’s why we have made our ELDs and the mobile apps extremely intuitive and easy-to-use. One more key concern the drivers (and the trucking companies) have is about privacy. Sadly, there are quite a few ELD companies out there who sell the driver data. The net outcome is, almost always, a hyper-competitive situation that can play against the trucker. We have publicly committed that we will never sell driver information in this manner.

That apart, we believe that the aggregate data our devices capture should help small and mid-sized companies draw better insights and plan and budget better. That’s a good outcome all round!

Q. How does data help you in the evaluation of industry developments?

The challenges of the industry are well-known. A capacity explosion followed the sad days of 2018 which inevitably led to stiffer competition and lower rates. The oil-price roller coaster is another challenge to factor in. That said, to a large extent, the industry knows how to deal with these challenges.

We are in constant touch with trucking firms, owner-operators, and truckers and those conversations give us all the data we need to define our strategies better.

For instance, we realized that the ELD mandate brought in a different kind of challenge. Trucking companies had to make difficult technology choices. Vendor evaluation, solution comparison, and impact assessment in this space were all new for them. Addressing the concerns of the drivers that I have mentioned earlier also became important. Staying compliant became a key concern because of the major implications of slipping up.

In tougher economic times, we now know that trucking companies are worried about delivery efficiencies, customer relationships, optimizing sunk investments in assets, and avoiding preventable losses. This is where we have focused our IoT-powered asset management and fleet management products. With our fleet management offerings, trucking companies try to extract all they can out of their invested capacity. Our asset management solutions and sensors help them protect the goods they deliver and track their assets at all times. Our solutions are helping them manage their operations more efficiently and profitably.

Q. There are other solution providers in this segment. How do you distinguish your services?

Competition is always healthy for consumers. Rather than focus on other players, we have a laser focus on our customer satisfaction. We know what makes them tick. For example, most trucking companies are family-owned. That’s how we started too. We share the same values, motivations, and beliefs.

We are a bootstrapped business, and I am convinced that this gives us an advantage as it makes us much more focused on the customers as compared to some Silicon Valley ELD providers who are obsessed with growth because that’s what their VCs push them towards. Of course, the fact is that our customer focus is allowing us to grow 100 percent YoY where such VC-funded players are scaling back.

TruckX is the only major player in the market that has Bluetooth and hard-wired ELD. This helps us serve any size trucking company, from the owner-operator to some large fleets using ruggedized ELD tablets. Along with ELD, we also have asset trackers and various sensors like Temperature and Door alerts. Solar based asset tracker that can track dry vans and containers…and more coming. This makes TruckX the most affordable fleet management and ELD system in the market.

I like to believe that we are a technology company with a trucking heart. We want to use technology to find all possible opportunities to solve the pressing problems of the trucking companies we work with. The focus is always on what matters to trucking companies, the technology is just a powerful tool. This is why trucking companies from individual owner-operators to large fleets with hundreds of rigs trust us.

Q. Tell us in brief about your data-driven approach for developing solutions.

At TruckX, we obsess over customer satisfaction. We constantly push ourselves to improve the product. Data plays a very critical role in making these decisions.

It starts with customer service. The best data we can get about customers is from customer service. Our engineering team and customer success team work very closely to constantly get feedback and deliver better value to customers in ground-breaking time.

One such example is when we got a call from a customer who mentioned that he drives at night. And that the screen is very bright. He asked if we could reduce the screen brightness automatically. From the data we had, we observed that around 10 percent of our customers do drive at night. So, there is a huge potential here to bring customer delight. After thinking about the suggestion, we felt there is a better way than just dimming the screen. TruckX ELD became the first to introduce auto-night mode. We use data to detect location, date/time, and sunset time to automatically change the color of the entire application to carbon black. Result; we got calls from many more customers thanking us for it. This made me feel proud of my team and shows our obsession with customer delight.

Q. Do you have any new offerings ready to be launched?

We want to be the go-to provider for trucking companies to successfully run their trucking authority. We believe that we have managed to build the best possible ELD solution with the most powerful features and use-of-use. We keep improving that solution. Now, we have launched a range of IoT-powered asset trackers that help trucking companies get transparent real-time visibility into the trucking assets that they own. We also have launched a range of sensors for comprehensive fleet management. These products help small, mid-sized, and large trucking companies monitor the health of the goods they are shipping, protect them, and deliver better and more confidently.

TruckX will also launch cloud-based ‘AI Dashcam’ in the coming months.

Q. What are your trajectories for the next five years?

TruckX is proud to have over 30k drivers who believe in us. We see ourselves growing to hundreds of thousands of trucks in the next five years. There is a very encouraging uptake for the IoT products. This has given us the confidence to focus on developing these products further. There are exciting plans in the pipeline. We are diving deeper into product development. We are focusing on new devices, efficiencies, and more integrated solutions that will provide trucking companies with a full range of offerings from one interface. TruckX wants to be a go-to tool for every trucking company.

“Our mission is to use the power of the latest technology to address the pressing challenges of the trucking industry. Trucking is such a fundamental pillar of the nation’s economy and a key piece of the American way.”