What is DAT Solutions?

Friday, Apr 22 2016 admin

If you are a truck driver, chances are you have no idea about how your dispatchers find your loads. Owner operators and fleet owners, on the other hand, are likely to know what DAT means. DAT or Dial-a-Truck Solutions, aka DAT Services aka TransCore DAT, are the main freight posting service in North America. Established in 1978 DAT Solutions posts jobs electronically on a virtual load board. This is a major step up from the use of bulletin boards and newspaper ad sections, which were the main method of finding truck driving jobs pre-1978.

DAT SolutionsDAT, the Company

DAT Solutions does more than offer an electronic freight board. The company also provides:

  • Transportation management software
  • Fleet tracking systems
  • Fuel cards
  • Carrier monitoring services
  • Fleet compliance services

However, the primary purpose of DAT Solutions is to offer an efficient network for sourcing trucking loads throughout North America.

What DAT Does

Even if you’ll never have to dispatch your loads, it’s a wise career move to understand what goes into the dispatching process. By learning what DAT does you gain behind-the-scenes information that will help you identify with the dispatching process. Furthermore this info can only enhance your career opportunities, particularly if you ever move into the trucking role of an owner operator, dispatcher or independent driver. The more you know, the greater your flexibility and opportunities when searching for trucking jobs.

Now, what exactly does DAT do? The DAT load boards provide trucking loads for reefer truckers, flat bed trucking jobs, dry van trucking loads, and specialty trailer loads. Even more so, carriers can search according to 70 different equipment types, such as tanker trailers, drop step trailers, car haulers, or cattle haulers, to find exact trucking loads for their drivers. It is a live, real-time load board that gives you instant up-to-the-minute load information. By exclusively posting 59 million trucking loads, DAT offers the greatest number of trucking jobs of any load board. According to DAT Solutions:

  • Loads sourced via DAT Solutions come with headhaul rates 53 percent of the time
  • Trucking companies that use DAT for finding trucking loads earn $1,370 more a month per truck on average
  • In 2015 more than 200 million loads were visible for carriers, at a rate of 690,000 each business day

In order to offer such an expansive service, DAT also comes in an app version called DAT Trucker. Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store, you can download this app for free to find truck stops, rest stops, hotels geared at truckers and CAT scales. The app also lets you find diesel prices near you. However, when it comes to load boards, there is a limit at what the app provides. If you are a carrier or owner operator you can use your geographical position to access the local DAT Extended Network. The site doesn’t specifically state that you can only find truck loads nearby to your location, but that appears to be the case.

  • A quick search of the app on the Apple App Store shows mediocre reviews at best, with only 12 ratings at 2.5 stars out of 5 possible. Several reviewers state that the mapping information is inaccurate on the app, which would make the features of the app relatively useless. Proceed with consideration if you choose to use the app.
  • If you are looking for trucker apps that will help you find locations of truck stops, rest areas, trucker parking and CAT scales, a better option is Trucker Path, for free, or Trucker Path Pro for a fee

As a carrier and owner operator you can find trucking loads if you have the following information:

  • Company name
  • MC or DOT#
  • Basic contact information

This restricts users who aren’t legit in the transportation network, thereby reducing the ability for scammers to access the boards. Considering that the DAT system has been in place since the late 1970s, and with great reach among the trucking network, you can bet that DAT has worked out the kinks for the most part. If you are considering where to source some of your trucking loads, if you are in the carrier or owner position, then the DAT Solutions platform appears to be a solid place to begin. Just be weary of using the app, which seems to be rather limited in its functionality.

Another point to mention is that there are several other providers of electronic log boards hitting the market these days. From the Uber-style companies of Convoy, Transfix and Cargomatic, to applications ranging from ComFreight to Truck It Smart, truckers and fleet carriers can access trucking jobs much more simply using online devices, such as tablets and smartphones. As a result, the competition has certainly heated up for DAT Solutions. It will be interesting to see how DAT fares with the new marketplace.

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