The Dock411 Platform

Dock411 – A Platform for Shipper Facility Information for Transportation, Trucking, and Logistics

In the technology world, a “platform” is data and software or hardware used to support other projects, services, technologies, and capabilities.

Microsoft Windows and Apple’s MacOS are both platforms, in the sense that they provide a set of services and capabilities upon which other parties and developers can build new applications. By offering a documented set of features, both operating systems allow developers to create new software designed to solve their particular problems without having to worry about many of the low-level details such as how to interact with all the different varieties of computer hardware.

ELDs can also be thought of as a platform, albeit one that was forced on the industry. Nevertheless, there are benefits to a standard system for collecting, recording, and reporting on the location and hours of service of the millions of truck drivers. The ability to log and analyze information about the habits and experiences of those drivers and the trucks they’re driving will lead to cost-saving insights.

Information about shipper facilities is following a similar path. In the beginning, drivers saw a need to record their own experiences at different facilities so they could remember how to get to the place if they ever were sent there again. Here at Dock411, we’ve seen hundreds of notebooks, index cards, and spreadsheets that drivers have used to capture this important information.

At some point, carriers realized it might be beneficial to centralize those notes into a company-wide system. And indeed many trucking companies have added a “notes” field or two to their transportation management system (TMS). The problem is that, as with operating systems in the 1980’s, there are dozens of TMSes and one-off company systems and they do not inter-operate. The information is siloed and the value is therefore limited.

Over time, clear winners began to stand out. In the operating system arena, Microsoft Windows is the dominant player, and, by providing a single platform for developers to work on, has ignited untold opportunity and businesses.

Dock411 is the platform for shipper facility information in the industry. We were recently named to the Freight.Tech Top 25 most innovative and disruptive companies in freight.

We provide a unique and extensive set of data and tools about shipper facilities which enable new capabilities in the industry.

For data, we can capture over 70 attributes about any one facility. And we add new attributes on a regular basis.

We also capture data from multiple sources, including drivers, carriers, and the shippers themselves. We will be integrating data from other sources, such as ELD devices in the future.

We then review all the data and layer it to provide a more complete, accurate, and robust view of the facility than can ever be had by the notes field from one carrier or broker’s TMS.

The Dock411 platform includes other unique value-adds. For example, the D411 ID is a industry-wide unique identifier for each shipper facility. By utilizing this industry-specific identifier, much of the confusion about locations can be eliminated.

This year we will add the D411 Facility Score. The Score is designed to be a robust, reliable way for every player in the industry to gauge the performance of individual shippers, much in the same way that creditors use the FICO score to gauge the credit-worthiness of individuals. We are designing the Score so it may be used as an input into many of the new algorithms being introduced into the industry.

The Dock411 data and services are available through our API (Application Programming Interface). APIs are an industry-standard way for different computer systems to talk to one another. Through our API, other companies can build new tools upon the Platform, or integrate Dock411 data into other systems. For example, a broker can use the API to display the facility score in their RFP response system, a carrier can access location directions for display in their dispatch systems, or a TMS provider can display driver reviews in their user screens.

Our goal at Dock411 is to be the best source of robust, reliable, actionable data for the industry.

Help us make it work for everyone in the industry. Contact us now to start a conversation about how you can leverage the Dock411 Platform.