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Enhanced Truck Stop Message Boards

Or: We’re Not in Dire Straits.

new technology

Technology Keeps on Truckin’

Here’s a good story: The British rock band Dire Straits was looking for its big break in the mid-1970s. The musicians heard a music producer was having a backyard barbecue in Los Angeles. They weren’t invited to the party. Instead, they tossed a demo tape over the fence. Record execs picked it up and gave it a listening to, and the rest is history.

We don’t know if that really happened. Good story, though.

Which, naturally, brings us to the transportation industry.

There was a time—and not all that long ago, in the grand scheme of things—when carriers could, and did, leave messages on walls at truck stops. It was old-school networking: I’m looking for a load, here’s when I’m available, here’s my phone number.

You’ll need to ask a seasoned driver if that approach worked. (We’re guessing that sometimes it did.)

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Here at NATCO, our lifeline has long been the telephone—a reliable workhorse, provided you work it efficiently and pay the phone bill. As the years roll on, we continue to adopt the best of the new technologies that help streamline process and communication, from customer base to carrier and dispatch.

The Internet has been a game changer in terms of automation. For example,’s Real Time Freight allows us 24/7 access to load boards and market rate tools. Team NATCO can integrate it with our office systems. For a process that used to involve pages and pages of handwritten information that needed to be mailed or faxed, new carriers now can OnBoard through a paperless online system in minutes.

We’re quite enthusiastic to utilize best-in-class services like this. And the Internet’s game-changing disruption is also a technologically polished—and proven—version of those old messages on walls at truck stops.

At the beginning and at the end of the day, all the technology in the world can’t verify trust. And trust is the essential line-in-the-sand value that drives our business and our reputation in the industry. That’s why we value the telephone. The human connection. Just ask Sharon and ShaQuanta here at NATCO. (Well, not right now because they’re on the phone.)

VP Cori Eckley recently joined Kevin Rutherford for his “Broker Connect” radio show on the AudioRoad Network to discuss a range of issues affecting carriers and brokers. From that, we received a carrier request via Facebook. He phoned us. And within hours, he joined NATCO’s rotation.

Not quite like Dire Straits tossing a demo tape over the fence, yet it’s a terrific scenario: a radio show, a request for contact info via the social network, a phone call, and onboarding.

When we use technology to connect, everybody wins.