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Will Digitization Bring Improvements for Owner Operator Truck Drivers?


Digitization efforts in the trucking industry will help truckers by making their jobs more efficient and accurate. While some truck drivers might worry about how digital disruption might lead to loss of jobs and other adverse effects, new perspectives on digitization are focused on how it might save truckers time, money and reduce their stress levels.


Digitization in the trucking industry refers to a digital supply chain, which is already happening in the transportation sector. To keep up, owner operators will need to adjust to the new digital environment. Specifically, digitization refers to these 10 technologies that will bring sweeping changes to the way owner operators work on a day-to-day basis.


1.      Cloud computing

2.      Inventory optimization

3.      Digital sensors

4.      Robotics

5.      Automation

6.      Predictive analytics

7.      Mobile and wearable technology

8.      Autonomous vehicles and drones

9.      3D printing

10.   The Internet of Things (IoT)



According to a poll conducted by supply chain leader MHI, “Accelerating Change: How Innovation is Driving Digital, Always-On Supply Chains”, 92 percent of respondents believe digital technologies will be a source of disruption within the trucking industry in the next 10 years.


Cloud computing and storage, along with digital sensors and automatic identification are already widely in use today. The digital revolution is working to address day-to-day issues that truckers face, such as:


  • Tracking inventory
  • Predicting adverse weather and suggesting alternate routes
  • Addressing issues with inventory not mapping with a driver’s transportation management system


In the past, points within the supply chain have been fragmented, at the expense of owner-operators in terms of time, money and efficiency. Have you ever received a dispatch from a client to pick up a high-dollar load and then promptly driven to the shipper’s destination, only to be told that the load isn’t ready yet? You could wait for hours while the cargo is prepared and loaded before you can pick it up, resulting in lost time and money.


These types of inefficiencies leave no question as to why owner operators are continually facing stress and frustration on their jobs. Digitization can make a positive difference for owner operators. New platforms that connect shippers and carriers using real-time data and artificial intelligence (AI) are matching freight to capacity, pairing appropriate loads with nearby carriers to facilitate efficient connections and enable cost savings. These types of dynamic automations will replace human-directed systems to optimize routes and better utilize drives, while at the same time offering increased transparency to shippers, drivers and customers. Digitization can handle shipments and provide carriers with up to 14 days advance notice, enabling better planning and handling. Advance notice of destinations, time of arrival, freight requirements, etc. will help owner operators plan ahead. Simplifying and keeping all data in one place and up-to-date in real time will help truckers make their turn times faster. Ultimately, digitization benefits owner operators and their clients.


For owner operators who are willing to embrace further digitization of their business dealings, there is an opportunity to capitalize on cost savings and efficiency gains. Accurate, accessible data leads to smart decision-making and happier clients. And, at the end of the day, a happy customer is what matters the most.


The American Association of Owner Operators gives owner operators and small fleets the tools they need to be successful.  For only $5 a month, you can join our trucking association and make the most of your career.  Learn more about our benefits and how they can make a positive difference in your life and work.

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About the author
Kyle Mitchell
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