A GPS for Your Money?

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The other day the city council, in a small community in northern interior region of British Columbia, passed a motion that all serial crime offenders will be tracked by a GPS system.

It’s a toothless tiger, however. Right up there with all the city councils who voted that their city would be a Nuclear Free Zone. There are no cities that have nuclear weapons located in their municipality – at least none that I know of anyways. But, just in case someone thinks it’s a good idea to put a nuclear launch pad in the middle of a city, rather than some desert location in Nevada, or some cornfield in central Nebraska, these politicians can feel really good about themselves. They can pat themselves on the back for thumbing their noses at those 5-Star generals in the Pentagon, who dream about putting their next nuclear launch site in a local neighborhood, in a park right beside the playground.

“Well, I had just put Billy in the sandbox, and then over in the park the field opened up and this big missile went screaming out. All Billy could say was ‘awesome’!”

It’s all symbolic – a bunch of political puffery, with no chance of being enacted. This is primarily because the Province (State), and Federal government, have jurisdiction over things like inserting microchips into the arms of criminals. And also, the fact that Civil Rights lawyers live for these very moments!

“I know Google and Apple can track me with my phone…but I will be darned if these hardened criminals are going to get tracked by a civil society just because they can’t afford their own smart phones!”

But all this GPS talk did get me thinking about all the wonderful ways we could use GPS technology in our society.

I do know that some parents have implemented a GPS system for tracking their children – a safety tool in a sometimes dangerous world. Heck, I’d like to put one on my kids just to figure out where they go after I ask them to clear the table, or load the dishwasher.

Here is how I would use it.

I’d like to use a GPS on pieces of hockey equipment, so when one out of the hundred times someone asks me about ‘this or that’ being lost – an elbow pad, a water bottle, or even a supporter cup – I can simply go to my phone app, and say, “it’s sitting over there in that kid’s hockey bag, he accidentally took it last game.”

Or some GPS to track my keys…or my gloves…or my sunglasses…or my wallet. (Yes, unfortunately, I am one of those guys!)

You just have to wonder if the guys who launched the original satellites ever thought that it would be used for tracking kids’ hockey equipment or serial crime offenders.

One of its best applications of the technology is the way it is used in the trucking industry – makes total sense. It important to know where all of your trucking assets are located, it helps with overall fleet performance, optimizing fuel usage and, of course, driver safety.

You can track trucks and trailers with a GPS system. This truck tracking and the trailer tracking, ties in nicely with the trucking software and freight brokerage software that we sell.  It’s a nice fit and I like it.
But I think the best invention in this industry is yet to come.
Know what it is?

It’s the GPS system that tracks where each and every one of your dollars goes in your business.

I mean, as a small business owner, you probably wonder where the heck all the money goes.

“I thought I had some money, but it seems to have disappeared when I bought that fuel, paid my drivers’ wages, paid my annual insurance premiums, and paid my accountant so he could tell me where most of the other dollars went.”

So why can’t we invent a GPS that tracks each and every dollar in the business?

It would be ideal. It would be of great help because it solves the fundamental problem in the industry. It has to do with the time lag between the time you incur and pay an expense associated with a shipment versus when you get the paid and receive revenue for said shipment.

Your customer wants to pay you in 60 or 90 days, while your drivers want to be paid within two weeks – ideally.
Many of your costs are incurred annually – insurance, an audit. And others are incurred monthly or weekly – rent, fuel, wages.

And you are dealing with revenues which, while generated daily, are only realized in your business on say, a monthly basis…if the invoice is correct and the POD attached that is.
So, the dollar you collected today was actually associated with an expenditure on a shipment you did 45 days ago.

As Wimpy would always say to Popeye, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a Hamburger today.”

(Popeye should have just gone to a Factor.)

How do you know when you are making a profit? How can you figure out whether you made money on that shipment you did 2 months ago? How do you figure out if you are making money with a specific driver or vendor, or with a specific customer?

I think you would need some sort of system where you can centralize your data – your customer, driver and transactional data. You also need to be able to track the revenues and costs associated with all of your loads. You have to figure out if you got paid by a customer for a load, or whether they still owe you.  And you would have to determine if you have made a payment – to a driver, to a lessor, to landlord, to a dispatcher – or whether it is still owing.

And ideally, it would help you keep track of all of the details so you could answer any questions that would come to you from your customers, or from your vendors…and from regulators who want to make sure you are following all the rules and regulations and paying your taxes.

Wouldn’t it be great if something could then produce a bunch of reports – daily, weekly, monthly, annually, so you could actually track every one of the dollars you had – where they went, where they are still come in?
Boy -that would be something.

Hmm. A GPS for the money in your trucking business, for your freight brokerage business. Wow, whoever comes up with that, whoever makes it easily accessible, who helps people use it so they can run their business more effectively and profitably…well…well…that would just be the cat’s meow!

That would be some software program. Trucking companies and freight brokerage companies would love it.

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