The Trucker Tools Vision with CEO Kary Jablonski
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This episode features Kary Jablonski, CEO of Trucker Tools, talking about building a carrier relationship management platform for the freight industry. She discusses Trucker Tools’ origins, growth, partnerships, and products helping small fleets and owner-operators compete through technology. Listen to learn how Trucker Tools is driving digital freight bookings and combating fraud in freight.



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Show Transcript

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Blythe Brumleve: 0:00

Welcome into another episode of everything is logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are proudly presented by SPI logistics and I'm your host, Blythe Brumleve, and today I'm happy to welcome in somebody I've been trying to get on the show and I say trying, meaning like I've had you on a post it note of I got to get her on the show and I finally reached out and you immediately said yes. So that was, you know, one of those big worries off Kary Jablonski my plate. She is a CEO of Trucker Tools and we're gonna be talking about a different kind of CRM today, a carrier relationship management platform. So, Kary, welcome into the show.

Kary Jablonski: 0:37

Thank you so much, Blythe, of course, was eager to get a message from you, so very honored to be here.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:44

Absolutely now. We first met at the Freight Waves F3 event last year and we were sitting across the table from the freight van, a guy's of dawn and Lars, and we were talking a lot about like chess and traveling. Both you and Lars convinced me excited a New York trip coming up soon. You, both of you, convinced me do not stand times square. And that was such great advice because I needed to say we always stayed in another part of New York. So we stayed in Korea town, which ended up being really wonderful and like great food and just a great vibe environment, but I'm so glad we took your advice and stayed in another part of town.

Kary Jablonski: 1:23

That's great. Did you go to Times Square at all while you were there?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:25

a little or less, like you know, passing through. I think you kind of have to see it. You know, on the first or second night that you're there, but everywhere else was was, you know, the museums and the sightseeing. We didn't do a lot of touristy stuff, which I was thankful for. We did a lot of like smaller shops and exploring and things like that, great, great. So now with you and in your story, because you come from, you know, a big city in Boston. I believe you said that you grew up in the Midwest area or you're currently there in the Midwest area, based in Chicago. But I'm curious as to how. What first got you into freight? What got you interested in the industry?

Kary Jablonski: 2:05

Yeah, so honestly, I think it goes. My interest in transportation goes way back growing up. So I am from Boston and my mom was really involved in local government when I was growing up and she just always talked to us about planning infrastructure, how things work, how things move, which kind of got me just fascinated with the concept of place and how do you develop cities, how do you develop Connect connectivity? I love maps. Got one behind me right here. So I think from a young age I've always been interested in that. And fast forward several years following college is my couple years as a consultant, which was great, but knew pretty quickly I wanted to be in a business, driving impact, making decisions, with some real skin in the game. And around that time Uber was really blowing up and I thought what cooler experience and being part of scaling a business? That is probably the most transformative. Certainly technology I think in in how cities operate, move, connect, how people move and connect At least in my lifetime. So have the good fortune to join the Uber team back in 2016. I spent a couple of years there. I was never on the freight side myself. I worked on the ride sharing and Uber Eats parts of the business Ride sharing in Washington DC, which was one of the US kind of hubs, and then I spent some time abroad, primarily in Mexico City, working on Uber Eats for Latin America, and I left right after we went public and a lot of my colleagues friends have either gone to work for Uber freight in that time period it was a mysterious, interesting, exciting business or we're leaving Uber to start their own companies and a ton of people saw a lot of opportunity in the freight space for reasons you know we could talk about all day long that are definitely still Opportunities and it got me thinking what a what a cool, interesting space to be in. What more important than supporting how everything is moved? So was interested in freight and following Uber, I got my MBA and that's where I met the convergence of freight and some other things happen to bring me to trucker tools. I met the current owners of trucker tools, alpine investors, while I was doing my MBA. They have a really interesting operating model where they're hire operators Right out of school to come in and work with founders to transition management as they're looking for a full exit, and that's how I joined the business. They just acquired trucker tools. Give my background my interest in logistics, transportation, my experiences before Trucker tools. It was just perfect match, perfect convergence. So that's how I got here. That's I love that part that you mentioned about.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:42

You know Uber Ease because I was listening to your interview on truck and hustle. You were talking about how living in, yet you moved abroad to, like, I think, indonesia, and then also Mexico City, I think, for a while. What was different about, I guess, the markets abroad versus, like, the Uber Ease market in the US? Great question.

Kary Jablonski: 5:07

A broad, uber Ease is, I think, a more efficient business. It's been a while since I've worked in the business and I Uber Ease really took off at the beginning of COVID and I think it's now 5050 of Uber's revenue with ride sharing, which is amazing. But the thing about Uber Ease in Mexico or Indonesia, which are the two international markets I worked in, is you're able to be really efficient with deliveries because so much of the what they call supply, driver supply, career supply is on two wheels, whether it's a bicycle or primarily motorbike, which commands different unit economics when it comes to compensating drivers, and you're just able to be a lot more nimble. You're massively congested in ways that if you've only ever spent time in the US, I don't think you can even comprehend like it puts Chicago traffic, la traffic, to shame. So having kind of more nimble delivery folks combined with that horrible congestion, that actually makes delivery a much more kind of appealing option, sometimes, depending on where you live, I think, make the, the market, the markets really appealing, and those sort of emerging markets were definitely pioneers ahead of the US in everything delivery. So not just food delivery, but there are plenty of competitors in Latin America and in Asia Asia that have pioneered the super app model, where it's not just food delivery you can get cash delivered, you can get books delivered, you can get groceries delivered, you can get someone to come walk your dog, give you a man, I care, give you a massage. So just a lot more appetite for that on demand economy than I think what we've seen so far at least again, is all pre pandemic in the US.

Blythe Brumleve: 6:47

That's super interesting because I noticed when I was in New York all of the different modes of transportation that they deal with the congestion. Everybody that was delivering something was on one of those electric bikes, like the e-bikes. There were bigger trucks that had to offload into like the smaller sort of you know the I guess almost like the UPS, like Amazon freight style trucks, and they would unload those even more into like a smaller, like cargo bike type of truck, so that it's amazing that some of that maybe is moving over to the states where it makes a ton of sense. Now, as you transitioned into the role with Alpine, what did I guess at what drew Alpine to? To notice trucker tools as a good option for them to buy out.

Kary Jablonski: 7:30

Yeah. So two things. One, the freight space. It is a you know, I don't need to tell you how massive this market is, so they wanted in. They saw a ton of potential there. They saw that hasn't fully digitized yet, so they're buying vertical SaaS businesses massive opportunity. And then, specifically to Trucker Tools. We have a really interesting model that I don't think is replicated by anyone in this space in that we've got this virtuous cycle of starting as a mobile app for carriers. We really amassed a really large part of the carrier market, especially small fleets, owner operators the hardest folks to track down on our mobile app because it's been in the market since 2010. Our founders were totally visionary when it came to realizing that drivers would be moving to account of this mobile lifestyle, build a mobile app for life on the road From there, able to start tracking loads with brokerages, and created this virtuous cycle where the more drivers you get on the app, the easier it's going to be to track their growth. The more brokers you have tracking loads, the more drivers are going to get on the app and then added in our digital freight matching platform as well to take advantage of all that data, information and that mobile-first experience. So we've got a pretty unique business model that not many folks in the industry can replicate, and I think our number one asset is that massive carrier network that's highly engaged on our mobile platform. So that's what Alpine was really excited about.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:55

And it was super interesting about the Trigger Tools origin stories that it was started like 2009, around the same time as the App Store was launched. Social media platforms are launching, I guess during I'm still struggling to get folks to realize the value of having a website, but, like 10, 20 years ago, you guys are already on the App Store. Why do you think the App Store was so important? Is it because of the mobile driver lifestyle?

Kary Jablonski: 9:23

Yeah, definitely Mobile driver lifestyle, If you think. I think one of the first features in Trigger Tools that took off and continued to grow carrier interests, which was really just kind of a word of mouth play, was truck stop reviews, so aggregating reviews on what is available at different truck stops, what do different truck stops offer which they not offer. And, if you think about it, the only way to kind of capture that information is basically to crowdsource it among the very, very fragmented carrier base. So I think our founders, prasad and Maraali, saw data like that there needs to be some sort of crowdsource effort to aggregate it combined with the mobile first lifestyle of especially owner operators who, many of them, live in their truck for days, weeks at a time, made a lot of sense.

Blythe Brumleve: 10:17

And so I would imagine that maybe in the early days it was maybe easier to convince truck drivers to download an app because it feels, especially on social media, it feels like truckers are very like tech averse. They're slow to trust a company in order to download an app or to install new technology on their truck, things like that. How is, I guess, trucker Tools balancing? That Was it easier before and now it's maybe a little bit more challenging, or has it kind of been the same?

Kary Jablonski: 10:46

So we're growing our monthly active users kind of at an accelerating rate actually, so I wouldn't say it's getting more difficult. I think one of our major advantages again is that we started so early, so we've been able to build that trust that has to be earned from the carrier and driver community. Can't just tell them download this app, it's not going to track you when you don't want to get tracked. It's not going to collect any data that you don't want collected. That really needs to be earned over time. So, starting 13 or so years ago, we've been able to prove ourselves out in the market. So that's been a major advantage. So there's a ton of brand trust, a ton of brand loyalty, especially in those early days, providing those free tools for life in the road. We've got 17 tools for life in the road, ranging from truck stop reviews, like I mentioned, way station locator, truck specific, specific routing, parking and way scales kind of everything you might need as an interoperator to live your daily life. We've got in the app so that just continues to drive, not just kind of that initial download, but continued engagement Over time though certainly over, you know, since the yielding mandate passed in 2018, we've been open to other forms of engaging with our carriers. We're seeing, certainly, plenty of brokers want to track via yielding right now because it's, you know, one time set up, set it and forget it, and it's often more consistent than mobile tracking. It's not the same with carriers. It can be more of a challenge to get them, to convince or get them bought into yielding tracking when it's often actually better for them. There's no safety concern because they don't have to deal with the phone. They, you know, again, set it and forget it. Tracking is not going away. It's definitely becoming a ubiquitous requirement, especially in a market like this. So we've we've really focused on building on our yielding network as well to build, you know, an alternative for carriers to track with and to engage with us with, which has gone really well, and I think that's also just kind of a trust play. You know, when the mandate came out in 2018, trust was probably here. Now it's like just up here and every little bit makes a difference and our goal is to really just meet carriers where they are, however they are. So I talked on the mobile app, talked about yieldies. We just released a another tracking I guess I'll call it modality in our text to track and what's up to track functionality, which is for those drivers who do not want to download a mobile app, may not have an yield or do not want to integrate their yield. Brokers can automate sending a one-time SMS or WhatsApp message to them to click on, share their location and go back to driving. So we've really Our goal is to meet the carrier where they are. Mobile app were dedicated to continue to prove out value, which continues to drive our adoption rate, but we are absolutely open to other ways to engage carriers.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:25

It's one thing during one of these interviews that I was listening to that I really resonated with is that a lot of the tools that are in Trucker tools are giving the ability to the carrier, especially the small owner operators and the small fleets. I think something like 80 percent of your carriers on your platform have five trucks or less. You listen to all those interviews great job.

Kary Jablonski: 13:46

I'm so impressed.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:47

But one thing I really liked what you said is that you're giving tools to the smaller carriers that the big ones already have. I think everything we've seen over the yellow situation over the last few weeks, even months giving access to these similar tools and these similar selling advantages for these smaller carriers seems like a really important play.

Kary Jablonski: 14:08

Absolutely Again. That is, the founding vision of Trucker tools was to democratize and improve opportunity improve life and the lifestyle of the owner operator out there. That is super core to our mission. To this day, we're constantly looking at our app, thinking what else can we be providing that is going to allow the owner operator to be more competitive, to better intelligence, to make better decisions. Just a couple of examples we integrated with FreightWave Sonar last year. We give away track rate data and Sonar data to small carriers for free. A huge shout out to our friends at FreightWaves for that partnership, which helps our owner operators make better decisions about which lanes to bid on, where they should go, what rates they should be pursuing. We've got a couple of other things in the works right down in the vein of partnerships that we're hoping to launch within the mobile app that are just going to give owner operators and small fleets more access to whether it's capital, whether it's credit, just to help them open up their opportunity set.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:08

I think one more important tool that you said, too, is that the digital bookings of the future for small carriers and contractors. You said that about a year ago. That was on BCB Live. I'm keeping my interviews. Oh my God.

Kary Jablonski: 15:19

Where do you find all this?

Blythe Brumleve: 15:22

It's like all on YouTube. Youtube is like. I love using it or using other interviews to give me that baseline and see what the predictions were. The thought process were a time here to go and see if we're anywhere closer to that, because you did say that about a year ago that digital bookings are the future for small carriers and contractors and you want to try to get rid of the one load wonders by helping carriers and brokers develop those relationships. So do you think that we're closer to that reality of the digital broker being the future or are there still some ways to go?

Kary Jablonski: 15:58

So I think we are closer to digital bookings being a core asset, a core capability of any brokerage. I think digital brokers and traditional brokerages are just kind of converging into one and the same, and it's really all about being a tech enabled broker. If you go to the Uber flight floor or you go to the Convoy floor, it's gonna look a lot like the Echo floor or the Coyote floor. So I don't really even, honestly, I think probably the biggest difference that there is, like on technology budgets and the kind of probably not even, though I mean, these companies have massive tech budgets, which is awesome, it's a great technology. So anyway, all to say, I do think that prediction is trending in the right direction. Great job, carrie. And that we've seen at least from the data that we track and track the rules a massive increase in the number of digital interactions, digital bookings that carriers are making and completing on our platform over the year. I think that's driven by a couple of things. One, carriers are chasing freight everywhere it's. The market is still down, so carriers need to be nimble and the fastest way to try to book a load is to make a digital offer or, even better, book loads completely digitally with a book at now or an automated negotiation, which is another feature that we have. I also think just kind of there are these secular tailwinds of mobile adoption of Jen or the baby boomers are kind of aging out of being drivers. We've got millennials and even Jen Z now aging in. They're folks who grew up on a cell phone. They're always going to be looking to make mobile decision or use mobile first, if not web first. So I think that's absolutely happening. But I don't see digital brokerages disintermediating traditional brokerages. I just see the adoption of technology continuing to be kind of the number one success determinant of a traditional brokerage. If they're able to build a great tech stack, keep it really up to date and create a really powerful network through that technology. They're going to be great.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:10

It almost feels like table stakes now for a lot of brokerages that you have to have some of these capabilities, otherwise you're going to spend all day on the damn phone.

Kary Jablonski: 18:17

Oh yeah, you just you can't. There's no way to exist, especially again in a market like this. I know a lot of customers and folks in the industry brokerages I've talked to while the market's been down, stressed they just can't be investing technology now, which I get like you've got to run a business and you've got to run it lean while rates are what they are right now. But I do think to your point exactly. There is so much that you can automate and if you start thinking about how can technology spend not replace headcount spend, but actually increase the productivity of headcount and reduce the pace at which you need to add headcount into the future, it can make a lot of sense to invest right now 100%, Because I think that for a lot of these businesses, they're looking to find ways to gain that little bit of an edge and if you can offer a suite of tools, which obviously trucker tools, is giving that to the carriers.

Blythe Brumleve: 19:10

But on the broker side of things, what does that, I guess, experience look like for them? Are they using the mobile app? Are they using a desktop version? What does that experience look like for them?

Kary Jablonski: 19:19

So our belief is MS integration first. We want to be operating wherever the core workflow of the broker is. So we've got integrations with dozens and dozens of TMSs, ranging from the Cadillacs super large, in-house certainly custom built TMSs, really, really big brokerages, all the way down to the long tail of TMSs some of this highly high volume smaller TMS models. So our core products you can think about. We've got our low tracking product for brokerages and our digital freight matching, digital booking product for brokerages. All of them are integrated fully in these TMSs so that when a broker on the floor carries sales rep what have you is working on a load, they can simply automatically initiate tracking with the driver phone number, which they should already have in the TMS. They receive offers directly into the TMS so that they can review them in real time. They can set information about counter offers or automatic accepts, rejects based on offer information that comes in to speed up the time from bid to book. So at all the broker experience is 95% of it is happening within a TMS. We do have web portals for digital freight matching and our low tracking platforms, should that ever be of interest or abuse for brokerages. But our belief just again based on what our customers tell us is. They do not want hundreds of tabs open on several screens, like every broker has. They just want the team focused on a single workflow.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:50

So that's where we plug in yeah, you don't want like 27 monitors. I know like some brokers like that their offices have at least two monitors, sometimes it's four. It gets crazy.

Kary Jablonski: 21:01

It's nuts, and then you always got the TVs on all over the place. There's tracking everything that's going on in the world.

Blythe Brumleve: 21:05

It's a fun atmosphere and it's one of those like how do you guys focus? Like, as a marketer who stayed on the outside of the broker floor, I'm like I don't know how any of you people get anything done on the broker floor.

Kary Jablonski: 21:18

Yeah, and everyone's on the phone and talking to each other. It's nuts.

Blythe Brumleve: 21:21

It's fun, yeah, it's fun to like walk into, like as I'm going to get my coffee, like, oh yeah, it's exciting, and then I go back to my quiet little like writing hole in order to actually like get some stuff done. Now for you know, I guess the broker mindset what does, I guess the move to digital freight Is it a good one? Is it a more efficient one? Is it? You know, when we say a digital brokerage, are we more referring to like AI and automation, or is it like kind of a combination of, like people skills, automation and AI?

Kary Jablonski: 21:54

I think it's the latter there. It's a combination of all the above. Again, I think every brokerage is going to be tech enabled, if they aren't already right now and the winners are going to be who? A combination of two things who's building and buying, licensing, the best, most efficient technology stocks to empower their people to do more and be more efficient. Bookie more loads per day is kind of a core metric there, combined with the team. Who is most adept at building and sustaining relationships with shippers and carriers Like this is, you know, you can't just flip a switch and overnight everything has gone digital. There's always I'm firmly believe there's always going to be a human element to freight, and that digital tools like ours AI, you know, enabled tools are served to make the people who are making the freight move more efficient and more productive, cut out more of the noise so they can spend more of their time on kind of value generating activities, whether that's landing a new shipper client or, you know, helping a carrier through a particularly challenging exception management situation, rather than, you know, building loads manually to TMS, making phone calls to track drivers, emailing back and forth to negotiate on a load.

Blythe Brumleve: 23:05

And it almost sounds like that's where, like the carrier relationship management part comes into play for a lot of these brokerages. Is that a safe assumption that that's where they can kind of pull their carrier base and keep like the good ones on one list and then on another list is kind of the secondary? Is that kind of how it works?

Kary Jablonski: 23:22

Exactly so. Our carrier network, like I mentioned, we've got 315,000 MCs on our network. Plenty of brokerages we work with have carrier networks into the low six figures kind of. Your average brokerage, I would argue, has several dozen thousand carriers in their network. That is a lot of carriers, and if you think about how brokerages have run for the last you know, several decades, it's been a lot of tribal knowledge, pen and paper, excel spreadsheets that may or may not be shared with everyone. You know there's version control issues, everything's manually stored. So our vision for a carrier relationship management system was to digitize all of that information and turn it into a data advantage so that brokers, as opposed to searching for information on which carrier is the best carrier to use for lane or I've kind of one off strange load I can't remember who it was that so-and-so called last time they have all that information digitally at their fingertips in a way that is getting proactively pushed to them and allowing them to engage with those carriers, ideally through digital first channels. But also, you know, we've got email addresses and phone numbers in there so that they can just get the right load to the right carrier faster.

Blythe Brumleve: 24:30

Now, on the other like CRM side of things, like the internal, like Trucker Tools CRM, how are you, I guess, approaching you know different carriers and different brokerages to join the Trucker Tools platform? Because it seems like you guys are really like all over the place like podcast interviews, speeches, like I feel like I see you at every trade show, like what does that, what does like the CRM or the marketing high level plan, look like for Trucker Tools?

Kary Jablonski: 24:57

Yeah, well, I appreciate that. We've definitely focused the last year on really getting out into the market. So good to hear someone has taken note. I really appreciate it.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:06

I feel like I've seen you everywhere.

Kary Jablonski: 25:09

Well, we have an awesome team. I would be remiss not to say that. First, our VP of Marketing, alex Alvater. Our VP of Sales, adlon Adams. Our COO, rohit Bezawada just phenomenal rock stars. We've got amazing product managers, jasmine and Jared, so just kind of top to bottom, our team is awesome, which makes my job consequently very easy. I'd say the we have been super focused on the broker 3PL market. We do work with shippers. You know we're a great solution for them in many cases, but I think when you think about some of the other visibility players in the space, there is a bit of lack of focus and overextension and something we've been deliberate about. Maybe it's because we're private equity backed which forced us to be deliberate and thoughtful about who we go after and why. We have just been focused on solving broker 3PL problems and, like I mentioned a couple 10 minutes ago, with the virtuous cycle as we onboard more brokerages onto our platform or sorry, we kick-started things with mobile app for carriers aggravated a ton of carrier supply makes it very easy. Brokers are always looking to build connections with carriers. That is kind of their number one asset as well Makes it very easy for us to onboard brokers onto our low tracking or digital freight matching platform. Getting more loads on our platform, becoming a more ubiquitous player in the space drives even more carriers to want to join, because they're more likely to be asked to track through tracker tools and we want to make tracking with us the easiest, most seamless carrier experience possible. They're looking for freight right now, so they want to get on tracker tools loads marketplace so they can see what's available, make some offers, maybe engage with the brokerages that they haven't worked with before. So they're going to download the app or go onto our web portal. So the go-to-market motion is definitely kind of one of this flywheel, but we do. We get out in the market a ton. We want to be talking to customers. I talk to dozens of customers every week, dozens of prospects myself, to get feedback on. This is what we're thinking about building from a product perspective. Can I get some feedback from you? Hey, what are your biggest problems right now when it comes to visibility and how can that inform what we're building? So it's not. Our technology is very, very impressive, but I think the way we go about going to market is not, I'd say, rocket science and that we are just in the business of solving broker problems and giving carriers opportunities to make their lives easier. So you'll see us at trade shows all over the place. We're going to Banyan in September, macleod in September, tia in October, so we're always out in the market. We've got our sales team going to meet with prospects constantly in person. And again, huge shout out to our marketing team for just upping our presence online. I think freight seems to live on LinkedIn is one thing I've noticed in much time in the industry. So we're definitely growing our presence there.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:05

Yeah, it's one of those things where the freight community is really strong on LinkedIn and it's starting to grow on Twitter, which is kind of or X whatever the platform's name is, I'm still going to call it Twitter, I think.

Kary Jablonski: 28:17

I wonder if we're just always going to call it Twitter. I think we're always going to call it Twitter.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:21

Yeah, I'm like it just doesn't flow off the Tia oh, tia X yeah. Well, I did see a freight wave. Ceo Craig Fuller said last night he's kind of coining the term freight X as like the freight community on Twitter and he said if you have any friends in freight, invite them on Twitter. So that's my spiel to for on freight or on Craig's side of things.

Kary Jablonski: 28:43

I love Craig's Twitter, so maybe I'm very much a lurker on Twitter, where I'm always on there, but I haven't participated in freight X yet. But maybe this is my sign to get involved.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:58

Yes, absolutely. Now I was going to go into a few different rapid fire questions where I like to ask folks who come on the show what is your favorite social media platform? It kind of sounds maybe like LinkedIn, or is there a surprise?

Kary Jablonski: 29:10

I think it's LinkedIn which is really sad. But yeah, I'm not big on Instagram or Facebook and I lurk on Twitter, but I think, especially since joining the freight industry specifically, my LinkedIn usage is probably just taken off, so I'd have to go LinkedIn dramatically.

Blythe Brumleve: 29:32

What about what is your favorite SaaS tool that's not your own favorite SaaS tool that you can't live without?

Kary Jablonski: 29:40

I think it's got to be Slack Close second for Notion. I don't know if folks know Notion out there, but we use that for knowledge management at Trucker Tools and it's amazing. So one of those two.

Blythe Brumleve: 29:55

Yeah, I'll use a similar tool called ClickUp, but I don't know where I would be without some kind of project management tool. It has to be something that I use every day, like a Bible. Ok, so I know that you announced a Loachure partnership. Any cool other partnerships that you have going on with Trucker Tools are coming down the pipeline.

Kary Jablonski: 30:16

Yeah, so, like I mentioned, we're partnered with FreightWave Sonar and we're always looking to deepen that relationship. They're a phenomenal partner of ours and the Sonar tool could not be more informative for brokers and carriers or like. So we're continuing to deepen that relationship on our mobile app for carriers and also for brokerages. We're always adding new TMS platforms to the Trucker Tools ecosystem. So, like I mentioned, banyan, we're having their conference in September. They're really making moves in the FTL space right now. They're an exciting one that we've got going, I think, another big one that's a little different than a traditional partnership, but I mentioned very briefly, we are now on WhatsApp and, given the near shoring trend so much freight moving from Mexico into the US we saw a real need to build communication channels between brokers and carriers. That happened where Mexican carriers tend to communicate, which is WhatsApp. So we're now live with WhatsApp. You can get WhatsApp Anytime. You've got a plus 5, 2 phone number on Trucker Tools, we're always going to default to communicating with that driver to have them download the app, send status updates, our kind of one-time text to track. It's all going to happen through WhatsApp, which is awesome.

Blythe Brumleve: 31:34

That's super cool. I'm just completely fascinated by the near shoring phenomenon that's been going on. Even just the concept of some of the infrastructure that has to be established in South America and road construction. I think that that is probably the most fascinating part of the globe right now, so I'm glad that you brought that part up where you're incorporating the technology into systems that already exist within those regions of the world. Ok, so you've been a full-time CEO for Trucker Tools since early 2020? Or no, early 2022, I think Exactly. So you've been on the job for close to two years now. What do you think has been the biggest challenge that you've learned from since that time?

Kary Jablonski: 32:19

That's a great question. Saying the freight market, I don't think counts because everyone's willing with that, but it is. The timing of when I joined the business was funny in that I joined as RC COO in late 21. It's like everyone's just investing in technology and everything is great. And then as soon as I stepped into the CEO role, things took a turn. We've absolutely grown very, very healthily through it, I think, in thanks to our product diversification, but that has definitely been challenging. I think a unique challenge of our industry is because it is so cyclical and markets boom and bust frequently and hard. You need to be nimble and have solutions to problems that different customers feel in different markets. Talking to brokers in a down market is very different than talking to brokers in an up market. I think that's probably been the biggest challenge I've faced is how do we pivot the way we're talking about the business to make sure that we're talking to the current needs of our broker customers. What that's looked like for us right now is really focusing on the low tracking side, on additional nodalities in addition to mobile tracking. So our yielding network we've really grown quickly. Our text of track we're excited about. Then, on the digital freight matching side, moving from a carrier sourcing perspective to more of a digital bookings automation perspective.

Blythe Brumleve: 33:49

Yeah, it almost sounds like you guys are with how much you talk to your customers. I'm sure you're already well ahead of the game when it comes to product development and the product roadmap, and it's coming down the pipeline. Now couple final questions Anything that we can be on the lookout for from a release perspective or product roadmap that you would want to share, or new announcements, anything like that.

Kary Jablonski: 34:13

Yeah. So on the product front, we're really excited over the next six or so weeks for launching our carrier validation concept, which fraud has also been. I can't believe we haven't talked about fraud.

Blythe Brumleve: 34:24

I know, I just I know.

Kary Jablonski: 34:25

I just had an interview without talking about fraud, which feels kind of nice, but it's obviously been a huge, huge topic in the space and there's so many interesting businesses out there doing their parts to combat it. What we're doing is introducing our carrier validation concept, which is going to, every couple of months, force every single carrier who has signed up with trucker tools over 315,000 of them to revalidate their identity by answering a series of questions that are kind of akin the trucking version of what your mother's made a name. So what loads or what lanes have you run over the last two months? Which broker did you work with last week? So that we're really how? What types of equipment do you run? So that we can build a lot of confidence into our brokers that the carriers who are interacting digitally with on trucker tools are who they claim to be.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:18

Super smart. I love that approach because I mean, who better to gauge your audience than a tool with, what would you say, 350,000 carriers? Yeah, it's super impressive and I think that, with you and leading the ship and watching your growth, it's just been really fascinating to watch, and especially from the lens of, like, a female CEO that is just a badass CEO in her own right, but also a female leader in this space I think is really really cool to watch. So, carrie, anything else that you feel is important to mention that I didn't ask.

Kary Jablonski: 35:56

No, I mean, I think you did the most thorough research out of anyone I've ever spoken to. So sorry to all of the other podcasters out there, but you need to take notes because you went deep in the archive and you're inspiring me to Google myself.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:10

Hopefully, like all good things, pop up.

Kary Jablonski: 36:12

I'm sure it's going to be all the cool interviews.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:15

So, hopefully we can add our interview to that list. And, carrie, this has been a pleasure talking to you and for folks who want to follow more of you and your work, I imagine maybe LinkedIn is probably the best place to do that.

Kary Jablonski: 36:27

Find me on LinkedIn. Yep, carrie Jablonski, that's the spot to be, so I may, I might, you know, fire up a new Twitter profile today, carrie Freight, or something, just to get in the conversation.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:38

Yeah, Carrie Freight.

Kary Jablonski: 36:39

X. Yeah, exactly exactly.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:42

All right. Well, if you do make that Twitter account, shoot it over to me, I'll make sure. Or an X account, I'll be sure to add the link in the show notes, along with your LinkedIn and a link to Trucker Tools, of course. But thank you so much for joining the show. This was awesome.

Kary Jablonski: 36:54

Thank you so much. This is wonderful.

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.