TextLocate’s Ryan Rogers on Leveraging Tech for Better Freight Tracking
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Ryan Rogers, founder and CEO of TextLocate, joins the podcast to discuss simplifying freight tracking through SMS technology. Hear how Ryan launched TextLocate to empower drivers and streamline communication between drivers, brokers, and shippers. Ryan shares insights on procurement, startup strategies, and leveraging technology to combat fraud and inefficiency in freight. Listen to learn how this innovative solution enhances visibility and collaboration in the supply chain.




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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Blythe Brumleve: 0:05

Welcome into another episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are presented by SPI Logistics and I am your Blythe Brumleve, and today on the show we got somebody that I have been wanting to get on the show for a very long time he has been a post-it on my desk for a long time to reach out to, so we're finally making that happen and that is Ryan Rogers. He's the founder and CEO of Text Locate and we're going to be talking about tracking where the heck is my freight. So, Ryan, welcome into the show.

Ryan Rogers: 0:37

Yeah, thanks. I'm glad I made the post-it note because it's funny. I've been in the industry like 24 years and I still use post-it notes. I've got them like all over my screen and it's extremely effective. And then I've got notes in my phone and everything else, but the post-its is like and I like to check things off, so it's like that one doesn't wad it up, you know, throw it away.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:56

It's such a sense of accomplishment when you can mark something off the post-it and then throw the post-it away. Not that many people get that, but I can tell this interview is already off to a good start. Now I was listening to a couple of your interviews that you've done in the past Thomas Watson's with Watson, I should say, with Loaded and Rolling, which was really a great interview and you mentioned during that interview that you had because I didn't know, I thought that you had just started TechSlocate, but you've actually been in the industry for a lot longer than that. So give us a sense of your career background.

Ryan Rogers: 1:31

Yeah, so I've been in the industry 24 years and my hair, I say, is a little bit older than me, but the gray hair. But yeah, I grew up here in Chattanooga, tennessee. I'm right down from Freight Waves. No, craigwell worked together in business in the past but started in the industry at US Express, washed out of school doing analytics and KPIs and stuff, finance degree here locally at UTC in Chattanooga and started there in 1999 and didn't know I would be in the industry, ended up staying in great opportunity at US Express, kind of came up as a finance individual and was treasurer for the company and then transitioned into operations, got into Freight Brokerage and managed in that team and then after that spent some time at Amazon on the procurement side for the middle mile space, working with large trucking companies on secure and freight during obviously some big growth times, and then transitioned as chief of transformation officer at Covenant Lead Tech, m&a Innovation and then managed at Brokerage there. Then, 2020, during COVID years, things changed structurally there. So I kind of transitioned out and I had this idea. Took me a few months and think about how I wanted to present it and could it work, and I've got some young tech partners that developed the tool and I said, okay, here's what we'll do. If you guys will finish it up and let's get the MVP, I'll give it at six months and I'll just as hard as I can. We'll see if the market need is there. And luckily we signed up our first two customers in the first month and it came from just old school making phone calls, calling people in industry, people you didn't know, connecting with anybody you could to tell the story about what we were trying to accomplish. And we kind of started on the location side and then transitioned now into full collaboration. Just make it easier to have communication, interaction with drivers day to day.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:24

And for folks who may not be aware of what TextLocate does, give us a sense of how that product works.

Ryan Rogers: 3:30

Yeah, so TextLocate first. You can find a lot of information just at textlocatecom. We've got demo videos, everything there. But the goal was to not displace apps in the market. But certain drivers don't want to use an app. They don't like to register, they don't want to be constantly tracked. So TextLocate came to market. We brought it to market where we send actually a message via text. They can click on that link and provide a one-time location update. So it initially started as a digital check call and we still have obviously have that. And then we've rolled out two-way interaction. We've got a full dashboard that you can connect in and have conversations. So imagine kind of like Slack for drivers. You know you can interact, so you're communicating from your computer, they're receiving it on their phone. Again, all text, no registration process, image capture. We have a full API so you can actually connect it to your system and do all those things automatic. And we're working on integrations. With TMS we have direct integration with customers that have their own custom systems. We're in five of the top ten in the country in 3PL and then all the way down to. We have a lot of great customers that have like three people and they have a vision and they can. Instead of using your personal phone, you can have everything kind of tied into our system and you see all the history, conversations with drivers and everything is driven off the load number and we're also only in logistics. So we're not trying to, we're just trying to be very focused with what we're doing. So everything we get up and think about every day about how to innovate and be more creative to make it easier for drivers because, being in the industry so long with drivers, I know it's a challenging, it's tough, it's a tough job. And what we're trying to do is how do we bring more transparency and communication and collaboration with drivers to make it super easy, very effective, provide an easy way for them to be able to interact and get information up to date. That's the goal to try to make their life easier, whether that's updating schedule information so that they've got the best information, whatever makes it simple for them.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:34

Now when I worked at I worked at an asset based 3PL about a decade ago and we had an entire department dedicated to just tracking. Does that still exist in sort of a modern day brokerage, or does your solution sort of help that same department that still exists? I guess? Give us sort of a historical concept of what tracking or check calls used to be, and then how Tech's Locate fits into that.

Ryan Rogers: 6:02

Yeah, so it's evolved. So what you're saying still exists. There's still a lot of track and trace teams out there. Some of them are integrated with customer side or carrier side or whatever it may be. And in the past, like when I go way back, it was funny I was just on a call talking about this when I go way back into my when I first started, drivers enjoyed you calling them. I mean, I reached out to them. I'm not too old, I'm 47, so I'm not that old, but I've been in this long enough to see the transition. Drivers didn't have as many cell phones and you also had to pay by the minute and then they have 800 number like cards and you would call them or leave messages for them. But when cell phones really started growing faster, drivers liked for you to call them and you know text wasn't there. So they, you know, enjoy because they're not talking to anybody. Now that's changed dramatically where text is like a pointed conversation so you can just text, ask that question, just like you and I probably get way more text than we do phone calls a day and drivers like that because now they're on those smart devices so they don't need us to have conversation. They're having conversation with. You know their family and loved ones, whether that be. You know all the avenues, whether that's text, facetime. You know Snapchat, instagram. They're doing all those kind of things now. So those departments have evolved and changed. There's a lot of it is still. There's a still big portion of drivers that aren't constantly tracking with the apps. So they a lot of your brokers out there have still have big track and trace teams and so we're not there to displace it. We kind of I call it like a superpower we make it easier. It's kind of like email. You know email didn't? You know it changed the speed of things, but we still have people working emails and so we're doing all via text so they can use our product to get information faster and quicker. You can manage like workflow processes and stuff. So if I had 10 drivers to call, make calls to, I'm gonna go down the list one, two, three, four, five. Some will answer, some won't. Then I gotta go back through and go okay, which ones didn't answer and then I'm already at the bottom list. I don't know when my phone call will be the right time for the driver, cause we forget drivers aren't operating the eight to five routine they're operating. Who knows? They may be 85 today, they may be five to 12 tomorrow. Who knows when they're sleeping, resting? So it makes it complicated. So we've kind of eased that with this tool really compliment your track and trace department or your carrier team. Now we do have automation opportunities where it can do it for them and tee it up. So the idea is that superpower for that logistics professional and again trying to get whether that, like we say, we go beyond the blue dot. So it's not just location, it's the communication how are you doing? What's going on? Do you need anything from us? Things like that. And that's again trying to continue to improve service, cause I always say with check calls, the reality is the check call process we're just trying to get through the good ones real quick, as fast as we can, because those are all like thumbs up hey, everything's going really well To what you want to get to the ones that need problem resolution. So how do we get to the ones that are have problem resolution? How do we get there faster? And that's what our product helps them do, so that you have somebody that's making check calls in that role, that they can transition and become more proactive than reactive, so they can get there faster.

Blythe Brumleve: 9:12

I love that you brought it up that the drivers don't work the traditional eight to five Cause I didn't even think about it. Recently I was trying to coordinate with a truck driver to get them on the show when they were like sorry, you know, I can't, you know, schedule something out in advance because I don't know what my route is going to be and I didn't even think about it from their perspective. Like, sorry, I can't schedule an interview because I don't know if I'm going to actually have wifi, I don't know if I'm going to have cell service in order to have these conversations. So, with that caveat, I imagine that you know from the driver lens that they are already frustrated because of the lack of ability to communicate regularly, but also with the just the influx of tracking apps and tools and things that are almost invading their privacy. How do you? I would imagine that that text locate is just their preferred choice over any other mechanism, because they can communicate in their own time and they don't have to worry about the privacy aspect. Is that a safe assumption?

Ryan Rogers: 10:13

It is and they do like that. Some are very comfortable with the apps in those situations and again, we don't really replace the apps, we actually compliment with them. But yeah, there's a lot of drivers that you want to have that flexibility because no different than us as far as like, if I got the same phone calls today that I get text messages I could. I would spend all day just trying to answer those and respond, whereas with text I can. If you send me a text and we're on the show, well, in an hour or 30 minutes when we're off, I can respond back. And it's the same way with the drivers. Also, safety is a big concern. We put a disclaimer be safe, don't text and drive things like that because we want them to be responsible with the actual products and they have the ability. They know who's asking the question, they know what's happening. We think a phone call is more, feels more urgent and interrupts their time. It's like if I don't take that call, was it another call, car warranty call, or is it really the broker with a question or is there a change in the schedule that I'm gonna miss? And then it's the urgency hey, I've gotta grab my phone. And years ago when headsets first came out you know I'm on my AirPods, but when they first came out you would notice that a lot more drivers had their headsets in. But this past in April, we kind of just there was a handful of us. It was easier to drive to TIA from Chattanooga, so we just did a little road trip and most of the drivers now aren't wearing headsets anymore. So they're doing like voice to text and things like that, because the phone call seems to be a little more interruptive of their day than we would think of in the past. But there is a sense of hey, I'm not constantly being tracked that they like because they would. A lot of times if you talk to drive drivers they'll say I'm a professional driver. If I need to be from you, know we're in Chattanooga, say I need to be from Chattanooga to Dallas. I'm fine with giving you updates. I don't necessarily have to be tracked every 15 minutes, but I'll give you updates along the way. I'll let you know if I'm running late or something happens. It's going to throw me off from my delivery appointment. That's how a lot of drivers do feel and that's why a lot of them really enjoy our product.

Blythe Brumleve: 12:23

Are you in freight sales with a book of business looking for a new home? Or perhaps you're a freight agent in need of a better partnership? These are the kinds of conversations we're exploring in our podcast interview series called the Freight Agent Trenches, sponsored by SPI Logistics. Now I can tell you all day that SPI is one of the most successful logistics firms in North America, who helps their agents with back office operations such as admin, finance, IT and sales. But I would much rather you hear it directly from SPI's freight agents themselves. I want a better way to do that than by listening to the experienced freight agents tell their stories behind the how and the why they joined SPI. Hit the freight agent link in our show notes to listen to these conversations or, if you're ready to make the jump, visit spi3plcom. And, as you were talking, I was just starting to try to think about the fact that it's really wild that for in today's age that I can open up the shop app on my phone and be able to track a shipment from across the world at the exact location and know every step of that transit process, but the fact that that doesn't really exist in freight. Is there a reason why that doesn't exist on something that is, I guess, so much more valuable than maybe a dress that I'm getting from overseas. Like, how does that, I guess? The tracking component, how is it needed in freight, versus other industries where it's easily provided?

Ryan Rogers: 13:56

I think some of that's estimates that you see, and then I think some of it's like checkpoints. It kind of went in and got scanned, whereas with our freight it's kind of going point to point halfway across the country, it's not stopping along the way to get quote scanned from the next place. And we also are in a very fragmented industry. So I think the average truck count right now is like six or something like that. Six or eight trucks is the average size. So you're still dealing with a lot of fragmented systems, different personalities. It's very, it's a very, you know, hands-on, it's human-driven, it's not machine-generated. So that's what makes it still a little bit of a challenge is that it's very fragmented, is a big piece of it, and you don't, like I said, you don't have checkpoints to scan the next the truck where they're at or the next decade, that's.

Blythe Brumleve: 14:46

they're just. It's like the Domino's Pizza app, like once I found out that that was fraudulent like I just don't order from Domino's anymore because I liked getting the pizza tracker. So now I know some of those clothing shipments are probably lying to me and letting me know.

Ryan Rogers: 15:04

They're probably checkpoints is kind of how they do it and maybe some of us don't.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:08

That makes a ton of sense. I guess I just assumed that there was some kind of scanning technology on a license plate or something and then it would tie to some kind of mass surveillance system and it just plugs into a system and we don't even know. But I mentioned the silos that exist in this industry. Do you think the silos are exacerbated because of technology or are they becoming less of a silo because of technology?

Ryan Rogers: 15:35

I think, if you look back again, been in the industry for quite a while so 20 plus years the amount of tech and tech spend coming into our industry has increased dramatically. So I think those things and the desire and seeing how big of a you know opportunity is in logistics, I think it's helping it. It's definitely making it easier. Like, for example, more drivers enjoy using the apps than they did yesterday. You know we think that market will continue to grow and our market share may shrink as far as a percentage, but there's still a lot of volume to be had there. So I do think that technology will make it easier. It's just a matter of connecting all the dots.

Blythe Brumleve: 16:14

And so when so say I'm a new company and I'm struggling with tracking and tracing, it's a major like frustration point for my employees internally. What does that look like to give you a call and say, hey, I think we're ready to move forward with your service? What does that onboarding process look like?

Ryan Rogers: 16:33

It's very simple. We have a dashboard. So if you're a smaller company that's, we have a lot of startups that have chosen us, you know to kind of get started, because it's not just the tracking trace, it's also the full collaboration with the driver. So instead of saying hey, and this has changed a lot, that a lot of young people don't want to text from their personal phones, they don't want to do things, you can do all that via our tools. So instead of having to buy you know, company pay, you know issued phones, they can do everything via their web browser on their phone or on the laptop, and so they can interact. And it's not just the location but it's tracking by the load and it's also so you can. So if you and I are, you know, covered freight together, let's say, or have their own business together, well, you're not going to know what's being said on my phone, you know, and I'm not going to know what's on your phone, but if you use text locate, you'll see all that together the location, the updates. As far as like any kind of communication, back and forth images, for like things, like you know, it could be pictures of trucks, pictures of freight PODs, any of those kind of things. You can see all that collectively together. So it's kind of like we're not trying to be a TMS at all. We're that communication layer where you can have visibility. So the signup process with us is super easy. You can go online. You can actually self sign up just like any product. You go online, you log in, you set up a free account and then you choose the plan you want. And of course, we do demos all the time where you can set up and have a conversation, 20 minute demo and we can get you going. And then we have a full onboarding team. So we've actually got two people dedicated full time for onboarding. Follow up training we have training manuals, all those pieces all set up and ready to go. Former freight brokers we understand the issues there. Customer services extremely important for us and from our perspective.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:18

And so I guess, how are you? Is the product always kind of done? Since it's SMS technology you did mention a couple of other features it's almost like the slack of text messaging and it kind of sounds almost like a CRM for your drivers as well. Is it kind of like an all in one solution, or is the product kind of built and now it's just kind of the job for you and the team to sell it?

Ryan Rogers: 18:45

We're always constantly growing. So we definitely have the product built, but we're rolling out new features and new functionality. We do things like text-based bidding. There's all different things that we're rolling out new features for. That we're rolling out new products. It's all cloud driven, so every time we update it, everybody gets it. So we're rolling things out every few weeks. So there's still more to build and more opportunity there with things that we've done, like status updates and things like that. So there's still a whole lot more room to building, grow. There's just so many ideas that text-based messaging can really help and, again, tee it up for your day. It's not to replace the person, it's to follow up and have conversational activities with drivers that make it simple, and then all that is housed in one thing. So it is one kind of full collaboration product that you can say, hey, I can have, except we don't do phone calls. So you can do all of your messaging and all those pieces there. And then there would be drivers that sometimes you just have to call and that's somebody you have to follow up and do that. And then there'll be X number of drivers that you can try really hard and, from my past experience, won't answer the phone calls. That happens too, but the freight will show up and deliver on time. They just prefer not to have conversations with people. They just want to do their job, and do a good job and get it delivered.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:02

Yeah, it's interesting that I read a lot of the driver subreddits and they basically you know that's a common theme Like I don't want to talk to anybody, like I took this job so I didn't have to talk to anybody, and so it sounds like you know that's. You're listening to them and then offering up a solution specifically for them. So, from the how, I guess, from a development standpoint, how are you, I guess, prioritizing what to create and what, maybe not what to create? Give us a little bit of a sense of like where you prioritize and maybe how you get some, some customer and driver feedback on the product.

Ryan Rogers: 20:37

Yeah, and that's that's a great way to put it and in a good way to ask it, because that is important. When we originally launched takes locate, we started with an MVP. We didn't go out and build we're fully bootstrapped, build the business ourselves. And we didn't go out and say, okay, we want to build this Huge product that does this, this, this. What we want to do is bring an MVP product to market that worked and then we prioritize based on customer request. It's we do have. I would say, if I was guessing, probably 85% of what we do is customer request. 15 to 20 roughly is where we kind of have these innovative ideas and we're like, okay, what if we could do this and it maybe the customer hasn't asked yet for that, but there's other ways and other Things in the the market that we can kind of make it a little more simplified. We try to do that, but we do prioritize that where we put tickets in and and we prioritize based on Customers request that they'll give feedback like can you do this, can you do that? Or they have full flexibility with our API to connect, and then we give it. It's very open. It's not our way, it's your way. However you want to structure it. You can do that flexibility with the. You know connectivity with.

Blythe Brumleve: 21:46

API's. Are you texting them using text locate to get their feedback?

Ryan Rogers: 21:51

Oh yeah, we do actually, and that's awesome and on our demos we do live demos. We're not PowerPoint Kind of people. We actually go in, we actually send them and we simulate having a conversation with the driver. We even do some follow-ups with hey Howard, you know what are you thinking about. Next, on the product and stuff using Via text that's what we do.

Blythe Brumleve: 22:10

That's awesome. I love the direct feedback loop and just making the product better based off the feedback that that you're getting directly from the the source itself. And so I, I, you know, I remember at TIA I think it was TIA that you have some really like great marketing ideas for the company, and so you were handing out a lot of the different badge holders, and so I love that you do that. Do you typically have like? Are you typically like doing stuff like that at conferences, where it's almost like gorilla marketing?

Ryan Rogers: 22:43

Some way we do. We try not to go too far with the gorilla marketing, but yeah, we do. We. We try to be innovative. Obviously, when you're starting a company and it's smaller, you got to watch your, your budget as you're growing and things like that. And we also drive, like our sales team and our customer support. I mean we're all in. We love the industry, we love what we do. So and we get out there and talk to people. So we talk to everybody. You know I always say talk to everybody you can see and say hello, say hi, anything that's Open or because you may have a conversation with that person in the future. And you know, breaking the ice at a conference makes sense. So we do, we work hard and work long hours. You know I was always taught. You know a lot of times you got to work hard, long hours and smart and you can't just do two out of three. So we do that and in being bootstrap, you know it's kind of in our DNA.

Blythe Brumleve: 23:32

Heck yeah. And so when you are, when you have a conference coming up because I know that you go to a lot of them what does sort of your conference battle plan look like? I you know, on the previous show we had talked to a Shay Dixon who she owns Scale logistics and she talks about how she goes into each conference with a clipboard and she has like mapped out on the Expo floor of who she's gonna go talk to. Do you do anything like that? Or you just kind of show up and shake hands and kiss babies?

Ryan Rogers: 24:00

you know, we're probably, I would say, a little bit of both. We obviously try to be put together Okay, who do we know that will be there in attending, and Try to reach out to people ahead of time and schedule some appointments. But we also like to be very hands-on, like conversational, because we don't get it. We don't understand how every broker works or 3pL works or how shippers want information. We do a lot of listening. We do. You know, we try to talk, stand in the halls everywhere we can having conversations, say okay, what are you looking for? What would interest you? Because, if you know, just because I think it's good, it doesn't mean everybody else thinks it's good. So I've got to go to the approach. Here's how we handle it. What would this be helpful for you? So we try to engage, ask a lot of questions and then, growing up in this industry for so many years, half the time, like I start off kind of talking a little bit about text, locate and by the time it's over, I'm talking about what's going on in their business and how things are going, and have made a lot of friends over over the years. So we really just take it very and we're very genuine. We, we have very direct conversations.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:02

And you had mentioned earlier in the show about. You know your experience in procurement. You have the shirt on right now that says, or that has, the little logo for silver Fox. Friend of the show, gray Sharkie, I thought just affectionately called you that nickname. That's actually your, your clothing line that you developed. So, with your history in procurement, I guess that's a side of logistics that I don't know much about. So, from explain it like I'm five, how does procurement work? And then, how did that help you launch, you know, your other business, which you, you're obviously it's it's a really cool looking shirt, is really cool looking logo. So tell us a little bit about that part of the supply chain process.

Ryan Rogers: 25:43

Well, the silver Fox came from a trucker handle. I got it at US Express from some younger guys and I was just like didn't want to make fun of me so I kind of owned it. But yeah, it's. The procurement side was a piece really. I think about it and some people I know sometimes you may have tough days and you have made changes in company You're like why is this occurring? But it's really what has helped me be successful. In my opinion, it takes locate obviously great people. But as far as like bringing things to mark, it's a combination of all those experiences from finance, from tech, from, you know, business Conversations that we've had for many, many years and those all build up and you forget how useful they are when you're building a business. But, you know, grit and determination are to me the the most important. You know to get that. But as far as procurement side, yeah, when I was doing handle procurement at Amazon, it definitely Help me, like with a e-commerce kind of line and thinking about that. But it's just how you work with people be genuine, be upfront, be transparent about what you're doing with procurement. You're obviously I was in Amazon and I was working, you know, for on the Amazon's behalf to get the best price. But the best price doesn't mean it's the best Logical price, you know, or just straight, hey, it's x amount per mile. It's about really what fits best. So I think that's what's important is have conversations around. Okay, what can you offer? What price point works, but can you make the service work for the end? You know the other person that's going to be buying it or consuming it, or you may be selling it to either way, and I think that approach Dramatically helped me at Amazon is that it wasn't just like I need this price, I need to find a service provider that that price was effective and was good for them, whether that be a backhaul or whatever it may be, or Volume, that they needed things like that. So I think, again, it's extremely important to have conversations together and so, okay, what matches and what lines up, because it does not always line up and that the sooner you figure that out, the better for both, both sides and both parties it almost sounds a lot like procurement, sounds a lot like a carrier selection, like Picking a good carry like, you get what you pay for with you know a price point.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:52

But you know, on the other side it could be a situation where, like you just want your freight To get to the place where you know you said you were gonna be. So it sounds a lot like that.

Ryan Rogers: 28:01

It does. Yeah, it's absolutely that way.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:03

All right, so I got a few more questions for you. These is it's sort of like the rapid-fire Section of the site before. Well, actually first before I get to that part of the the questions but what tech solutions do you wish existed in freight?

Ryan Rogers: 28:19

What tech solution? So one that I think would be very beneficial for our industry if there was a really a way to Put more freight on a truck, on a trailer, because I think right now if we could see Trucks that are driving down the interstate if I look out here at I-75, I bet if there was like this empty full meter, it would surprise us how much is available in there, how interesting. So, I think, better products that optimize, you know, from a sustainability perspective, but also just from a cost. You know all the different pieces that go in effect with that. A lot of that, I think, goes back to speed. You know, can we wait for the full trailer to get loaded before we need to move on to, you know, to the next day waiting on orders? But I wish there was better products around that obviously Love the communication visibility space, I think it's it's grown immensely from the good old days. You know how you had a lot of fragmentation. But the one I would love to see is is you know a full, empty full meter on on trucks and how we could improve that, because again, that's a lot of hours for the drivers and tools that would make it easier for for drivers. One thing that always, you know, really say hey, I'd love to help be part of is letting drivers know as soon as schedules change, because, oh, so many times Drivers get to a delivery point and they find out, you know, because it's it's sometimes the information gets delayed from the shipper to the 3pl or to the carrier and then the driver finds out later that that schedule change has occurred and now they're in, you know, the back lot of a shipper and they don't have really good amenities and they're sitting there for an extra three or four hours. That is changes their lifestyle from being able to stop at a fuel stop and Be able to take a shower, be able to get something to eat and gas up. That changes their whole perspective there and it eats up the number of hours of service, because that's a challenge in our industry is all those communication points. They're important to make sure we're efficient and you know getting trucks in and out of facilities, because I'm sure it's, you know, from what I've seen and experience it's. It's tough as a driver to be sitting, sitting and waiting Forever. I mean, none of us really like to wait and we don't like to wait in traffic, but imagine having to set hours and hours just to unload your trailer and not get paid for it, which is I think nobody would like and so Now, as we sort of I well, I guess, one more question.

Blythe Brumleve: 30:47

And now that I'm thinking about it, what are your favorite tech solutions that are in freight, not your own?

Ryan Rogers: 30:54

Tech solutions, not in freight that are not on. I really like the carrier compliance side of the business I think is really unique with what's coming to market now with products like you know, when you think of like RMIS and my carrier packet in highway. I think those are important products in our industry For just making sure that I mean right now is such, you know, issue from fraud and like what carrier assures doing and people like that, I think is it's extremely important because fraud cost us way too much money. It cost a lot of hassle and there's a lot of people going to work every day that are truck drivers. There are logistics professionals that are challenged with fraud today and it's, it's disappointing what's happening in our industry and even now there people are being so tricky in ways that even the carrier and the driver that hauled the freight and legitimately did that it was probably it could be trick, you know, tricked between who was actually paying for the freight and who wasn't, and then those, those groups, get money from the shipper but then they don't pay the carriers and that's just, you know. So disappointing and tough for the carriers Out there and from the driver perspective. So sometimes drivers may not get compensated in those situations. Hopefully they do In the carriers take care of it. But that's the fraud. Areas around fraud right now are the highest, highest levels I've ever heard and seen in our industry. So areas that help improve that, I think are really, really strong.

Blythe Brumleve: 32:25

I think that's kind of a scheduling and payments.

Ryan Rogers: 32:27

I think it's kind of like the date, like if you just look at what makes the everything a little bit easier for both the ship or the carrier and the driver.

Blythe Brumleve: 32:35

Those are the ones those things are really like and and from the lens of just Anytime new technology, I think, is introduced to an industry, you have the sort of fraudulent opportunity seekers that are going to try to game the system, and the truth is is we need more, better technology in order to combat those bad actors. And so I think I, with all the conversations that I have on this podcast, fraud is consistently been brought up more and more over the last few months. So yeah, you're right, it is interesting to see those companies you know trying to tackle that big problem and just prevent it from even happening in the first place, so that you know these smaller businesses, when it's 90% of all you know trucking companies are nine trucks or less, so that one fraudulent case can have a real impact on if that business is going to stay open or not. So thank you for that point.

Ryan Rogers: 33:28

And even like tools like green screens, I think when the bit like things that are gathering more data loop is a great technology out there to make it easier for reconciliation. I'm a finance guy by heart, so the payment sides I get I get excited about too is because there is just a lot of there's a lot of heavy lifting out there in the industry with back office, so anything that we can make that easier and more streamlined because there's a lot of headaches there. So I like those, those areas too, and products that that help with those. The design from a, you know, software perspective.

Blythe Brumleve: 34:03

Heck, yeah, I mean you definitely like shine the light on a lot of tools. I hadn't heard of loop before, so I'm going to make a note to check them out afterwards. But you're right, there's it. You know, with all of the technology going on in the space, like there are some good actors that are trying to combat you know some of the bad actors out there. All right, I got a few. Last kind of remaining questions, I'll go ahead.

Ryan Rogers: 34:22

One last one, I got to throw it out there. I have seen I feel like I'm seeing really good progress from TMS systems. You know really some, some are really growing and developing that I think is really nice to see that, trying to make things like operationally easier, like connecting the dots more automated that as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 34:41

In what sense? Like a connecting, like what the next step process should be.

Ryan Rogers: 34:44

Yeah, less clicks, like automated, like the next function or hey, I knew this was going to occur. So since this happened, I'm going to go ahead and do that Because, typically, I started at US Express and it was AS 400 green screen, so it was like old school and some people were fantastic. They were like super fast. I mean, they could close their eyes and do transactions. They weren't even using the mouse with the green screens. But now with the technology and the pieces that we have and like being more open to connect with products like ours API and things like that so you have these very specific niche players that you can connect and automate things like that. It's really making a day in the life of a logistics professional and ultimately, the shipper you know gets better from that with, you know, better connectivity and things as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:29

What about that? Is it, you know, sort of to play the other argument side? You know, there's a lot of folks who are really apprehensive to the automation, to the AI introduction into the logistics space. Do you see, I would imagine that you would see, you know, a, I guess, a future where both of those things can live together, where you use the human intelligence powered by AI and automation. But do you think any of those fears are, I guess, maybe legitimate, or is this more case of like, too much technology?

Ryan Rogers: 35:59

I would say some fears could be, depending on how far it advances. But if you use some of that, some of the AI technology, I think it can be extremely handy where it can analyze information faster and you know response levels or again, how do you tee information up. But I still think it's similar. It's obviously much more advanced than this, but similar to you know, when typewriters were replaced with computers. I think it's you're going to continue to evolve and use newer technology to make things easier. I'm not. I guess I don't fear that we're going to get all displaced out of work, but I do think there's a lot of technology that does make it a lot easier. Like I know, personally I use chat, gpt at times because for me I'm a finance guy, so I really like the numbers and that comes easy and I can build spreadsheets fast. But sitting down and like writing out three pages or whatever, if I can just kind of put some information in there and it helps quote, give me a draft or kind of get started, that helps. So again, tools that help you do things quicker and more effective, I think is really good.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:05

I completely agree. I was participating. There's a new like sort of logistics tech group over on a Discord channel and Discord is kind of like, you know, reddit or you know some of these other like online forums. I'm not sure if you're part of the Discord yet, but they were talking the just last night about AI adoption and there were some folks in there that were really, you know, just worried that it was just going to take all of their jobs. And then, you know, you had another person that was talking about how all of these influencers are making money on TikTok and the different things that they're doing to make money, and I was like, guys, wake up. Like none of these jobs that, or hardly any of these jobs that exist, what you're talking about right now exist to 10 years ago. So we're constantly evolving, and I think that these AI tools are just such a game changer for small teams, for small business owners, that you can work as the power of. Like you know, you can quadruple your impact as far as work is concerned to get from a blank page to something that you can work with, which takes a lot of brainpower for folks who are running a business.

Ryan Rogers: 38:11

Oh yeah, no, we, I mean we use a lot of obviously modern tools, you know, since we were founded two years ago. So everything we have is on the cloud. So the tools that I use, I mean they do make it a lot easier than in the past, that's for sure.

Blythe Brumleve: 38:24

All right, I promised I think three times, now is is. I promised to get to these rapid fire questions, so I got a couple for you before we let you go. First one's on the attention economy. How do you market your business versus your personal brand, and is there a difference?

Ryan Rogers: 38:41

It depends on the size company. For us I was just talking about that yesterday I probably blend it a little too much, but I think it's great. Use my you know background and industry to support the why. You know why this is important. So I think it just depends on the size company. But over time like even that has, as I've continued to grow and add additional headcount, I think that has changed dramatically because it's not just me on conversations with you know, selling or customer support. So I don't want it to be only about, like me, so I want it to be about the brand and, as they can. You know, a lot of times with my sales guys I'm like this is an entrepreneurial business for you. You can go out, you can sell this product, you can build great relationships with this product around your brand and around, and they have really started making over the past year or so, like at the conference, making really good friends and they'll call and follow up. And then customer service is extremely important about the actual company. So I think it depends on where you are and what stage. That that's important because you want to be tied together, but to some extent, as a founder, you know a little separation there too, because you don't want to get in the way of the rest of your team. That's doing a really good job, because Tech's Look 8 wouldn't be where it is today if it was just me only you know it's a team, team sport that has gotten us here, so that's a good question.

Blythe Brumleve: 40:01

Well said, because I think that that's I struggle with it too. Like, how do I market my business versus myself? And right now I'm just like they're just going to have to be blended for now and then we'll figure it out, you know, as we add more employees into the mix. But for now it's just going to be tied to me and that's okay. So I don't want to try to do you know too much. Do you have a favorite social media platform and why?

Ryan Rogers: 40:25

You know I like them all. It's funny that you mentioned that because years ago, when my kids were younger, I was like I had this wild idea to go to a Facebook shareholders meeting. And my wife I was like hey, why don't you go with me? I bought Facebook, like when it IPO'd and all this kind of stuff, and had dropped. And she was like when will we go do that? But again the finance guy I was like I bet it would be cool and let's go do it. We'll stay a long weekend in San Francisco. Ended up it was at the end of the my kid's school, so we ended up taking it with us. We went to a Facebook shareholders meeting. Literally Zuckerberg like 20 feet in front of me talking. I've got my kids lined up.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:01

They were super nice.

Ryan Rogers: 41:03

It was like going to a Southern company, like they were very friendly, very like, ended up inviting us to go on campus. We ended up touring Facebook's campus, had pizza on site. So I'm a little biased because of the way they treated me with Facebook and some of that age you know from from my age more of the Facebook side. But also I really like Instagram. I like the fact that I can just kind of flip through pictures to keep up with friends and, you know, family and stuff like that. That's. That's what's to me is kind of fun is just to see kind of what who's doing what what's going on. So the picture makes it really nice.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:37

And so you are. I imagine you have Zuckerberg's back in this whole, like him versus Elon fight.

Ryan Rogers: 41:43

Oh I know who's going to do what, but it looks like he's been working out a lot, but it seems like that's starting to die down a little bit.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:50

But yeah, Zuckerberg definitely has been working out a ton and practicing like MMA fighting and Brazilian.

Ryan Rogers: 41:57


Blythe Brumleve: 41:57

Jitsu and all of that. I really admire him for stepping outside of you know he seems like a human now I think you know there's been so much, I guess, many jokes made about him when he goes in front of Congress, which I guess who wouldn't try to be a robot in front of you know, congress and things like that? But he's definitely revitalized. I think you know his own personal personality, where you have folks now that are choosing to be on threads and be on Instagram just because they hate you on Musk so much. So I think that whole dynamic is funny.

Ryan Rogers: 42:29

I respect both of them. I think they've done amazing things.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:32

Yeah, for sure, it's definitely. It's interesting to watch just with popcorn on the sideline. Okay, last couple questions. You've worked in a lot of different roles within supply chain. We mentioned procurement, we mentioned the, you know, the asset based side, not technology, of course, finance. Do you have a favorite sort of supply chain or like logistics factoid that you like to use, maybe with trivia or with your family members, anything like that?

Ryan Rogers: 42:59

You know, not really totally, but one that I think. One comes to my mind that I did not. Obviously I had no idea when I was starting very early on in my career at like US Express. But learning about like, we didn't have this when I started in 1999, it's not been that many years ago but I was learning from the founder of US Express, max Fuller, and he was telling me about technology and we visited Qualcomm. So you would hear Qualcomm and things like that and people knew that from a cell phone perspective, but they were actually one of the big innovators early on in the communication side. And so even back in the, what changed after deregulation and what helped somebody like US Express to really change the industry? About scheduling, so used to, it would be like the driver will be there tomorrow. Then all of a sudden they were actually scheduled with the Qualcomm's. They were doing two-way chat, like you and I would via text or whatever back in the 80s all via satellite with Qualcomm and that was very innovative. that changed really how the industry would work, so you could actually meet a four-hour scheduled window because you'd know the progress that that truck's making in moving in the industry. So that's one that, I think, is I don't know. It's just fascinating to think how far back that was, until early 2000s, before, like AOL, messenger and all that stuff came about, that they had that and working with drivers Now maybe short code and short form, but they could give quick updates that way.

Blythe Brumleve: 44:25

That's super interesting. I think that's my favorite one so far that somebody has mentioned on the show. All right, last question, because I know you got to go and or I got to go too, because we both we're talking a little bit before, which always makes for a good podcast conversation. I think. So last one favorite SaaS product besides chat GPT and besides text, locate.

Ryan Rogers: 44:47

Favorite SaaS product. Man, that's a tough one.

Blythe Brumleve: 44:52

Like one. You can't live without.

Ryan Rogers: 44:55

I can't live well. I already said I was a finance guy so I really like quick books. You know it's like I could do all my financial stuff and it's all like rules built and do everything quick. But I would say, if I don't think, I guess it's considered SaaS now. Obviously I use the Google products and love it, but I don't know, maybe Excel you know it's kind of fast these days- Such a finance answer.

Blythe Brumleve: 45:19

I know it's terrible.

Ryan Rogers: 45:21

Believe it or not, a lot of logistics. People love Excel. I'm saying out there, if you're you know, see this and you can give a thumbs up. I mean we live and die by it. Like analyzing, you know, loads and rates and all this kind of stuff.

Blythe Brumleve: 45:34

So I love it. That's such a perfect answer for both finance and logistics. So so, ryan, great interview, great conversation, working folks you know, follow more of your work, schedule a demo with text, locate all that good stuff.

Ryan Rogers: 45:46

Yeah, just hit text locatecom. We've got on there like a demo. You can take a look at 10 minute on a YouTube demo. We've got a little place you can click and book a meeting. You can obviously reach out to me, Ryan R-Y-A-N. At textlocatecom. We're easy to find. Hit us on social media, we're out there. Thanks for watching. But on Instagram, because that's where Ryan is at yeah, you can hit me personally on Instagram too. You'll find me there.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:10

All right, ryan. Thank you so much.

Ryan Rogers: 46:11

Plus LinkedIn. I can't, I mean I always forgot Business side. It's great. I mean, it's so funny, like how many conversations I have on LinkedIn between Messenger and stuff, that it's pretty fantastic too.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:22

It's pretty remarkable to see the shift. We talked a little bit about Mark Zuckerberg shifting his PR experience. Linkedin has done the same over the last few years as well.

Ryan Rogers: 46:32

They've done a great job. Heck yeah, yeah in North Korea. They've done a great job. It's helped us scale our business.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:37

Yeah, like me too, it's one of those things that right when sort of COVID lockdown hit, I think that that's where a lot of the networking that happened at conferences it just moved to LinkedIn, and it's been an incredible journey to have those digital handshakes turn into real life conversations, real life relationships and so, yeah, well said, so thank you, ryan, awesome.

Ryan Rogers: 46:58

Yeah, thanks for the time. Really enjoyed it. We really appreciate the opportunity.

Blythe Brumleve: 47:02

Absolutely. I hope you enjoyed this episode of Everything is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everythingislogisticscom. And in addition to the podcast, I also wanted to let y'all know about another company I operate and that's Digital Dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a co-worker's child, a neighbor down the street or a stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the dang website. Well, that doesn't happen at Digital Dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1,500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus freight marketing and sales content similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on DigitalDispatchio. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon in Go Jags.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.