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Ruth Favela
By Ruth Favela
Ruth Favela
Ruth Favela
Ruth Favela is Tomorrow.io's AI Marketer. She draws on over 5 years of experience as an editor, writer, and social media manager for AI startups, B2B SaaS, and B2C products. In her role, Ruth focuses on using AI tools to create customer-first content for the various industries Tomorrow.io has solutions for. She writes about weather innovations, AI/ML modeling, weather API applications, weather AI use cases, and much more.
Apr 12, 2023· 48 min, 22 sec

The Logistics of Logistics: The Biggest Risk Facing Truck Drivers

This podcast was originally posted on The Logistics of Logistics in April 2023.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFctX3QLcLc

Key Takeaways: The Biggest Risk Facing Truck Drivers

  • Dan Slagen is the Chief Marketing Officer at Tomorrow.io, the world’s weather and climate security platform, helping countries, businesses, and individuals manage their weather and climate security challenges.
  • In the podcast interview, Dan Slagen and Joe Lynch discuss the biggest risk facing truck drivers.
  • Weather or more accurately the lack of weather-related intelligence and alerts is the biggest risk for drivers.
  • Approximately 20% of accidents are caused by weather events such as sleet, snow, heavy rain, fog, and high winds.
  • Traditional weather services are not accurate enough or targeted enough to be useful for truck drivers who potentially drive through multiple weather systems and climates every day.
  • The cost of weather-related accidents, delays, inventory damage, service failures, and hour of service problems for drivers are enormous, but there hasn’t been a push to improve because nobody can control the weather.
  • While we can’t control the weather, we can do a better job of planning around the weather – avoiding all those weather-related problems.
  • Tomorrow.io has developed a weather intelligence and climate security platform that is custom-built to help logistics and transportation companies reduce the impact of weather on their operations.
  • Carriers using Tomorrow.io’s weather and climate security platform are reducing weather related risk and improving the lives of truck drivers.
  • Tomorrow.io customers make better decisions because they a have better weather intelligence. Better weather-related decisions reduce accidents, insurance costs, shipment delays, and makes the lives of drivers safer and easier.

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Joe Lynch: Hello, friends. Welcome to the Logistics of Logistics podcast. My name is Joe Lynch. Thank you so much for joining us today. On the Logistics of Logistics. I talk to experts in logistics and transportation, warehousing, fulfillment, supply chain, and of course technology. And during these interviews, I’m always the one asking the dumb questions.

I asked the dumb questions so you don’t have to. Today’s topic is the biggest risk facing truck drivers with my friend Dan Slagen. Weather.

Weather is the biggest risk truck drivers face. Approximately 20% of accidents are caused by weather, whether it be high winds or heavy rain, snow, sleet, or fog.

And I know you’re listening and saying, “Hey, no kidding, Joe.”

We all know that. But what can you do about the weather? We can’t do anything to change the weather, but we can make better decisions around the weather. And that’s exactly what Dan and the fine folks over Tomorrow.io. are offering their customers: the ability to make better decisions.

If you have better intelligence about the weather and better alerts about the weather, you’re going to be safer. You’re going to save money on your insurance. We’re gonna save lives.

Tomorrow.io has developed a weather and climate security platform that provides more precise, more accurate weather forecasts. They provide alerts that are targeted to drivers. Drivers are driving across many states, and many weather systems.

We have to give them better information. We all monitor our drivers and we do the best we can with their weather, but now there’s a better solution for weather alerts and weather intelligence and it is Tomorrow.io, so, check it out.

So how’s it going Dan?

Dan Slagen: Nice to be here. Doing well today.

Joe Lynch: Good. I’m excited to talk about this topic.

It is a big problem that, now has a solution, I think, or at least. Part of a solution. We’re always gonna have risk for our drivers. Dan, please introduce yourself and your company and where you’re calling from today.

Dan Slagen: Great, my name is Dan Slagen. I’m the Chief Marketing Officer here at Tomorrow.Io coming to you from Boston, Massachusetts.

And I’ve been at Tomorrow.io for about four years now and we are the world weather intelligence platform. What we do is we tell companies across all different types of industries how the weather is going to impact their operations in advance of impact, so that they can make the operational changes ahead of time to improve efficiency and mitigate any safety risks.

We are also at the helm of creating and building the world’s most powerful, actionable, and accurate weather forecasting technology out there, including our own proprietary weather forecasting technology, which we’ll talk about. Everything from that to sending our own satellites up into space, doing a whole bunch of stuff within the weather industry to make sure that we have the most advanced weather forecasting out there

Joe Lynch: And to cut to the chase.

I think most of us in the business know this is the biggest risk, is the biggest risk for our drivers is the weather. I haven’t talked to you lately about the actual numbers, but I believe a fair number of accidents. Do you have percentages? What number of accidents are caused by weather? We all hate delays, but accidents are worse than delays.

But late shipments. What percentage are caused by weather?

Dan Slagen: I know at least on the safety side of the house, it’s at least 20% of all accidents are caused directly by weather. That’s the most conservative number I’ve seen.

Joe Lynch: Yeah, and by the way, any of us who are driving, in the weather, I’m in Michigan, and you’re in Massachusetts. We have winter here. When you’re driving in that winter weather and you drive alongside a truck, it feels scary cuz you feel like you don’t have complete control of your vehicle. Then you always think, yeah, and that guy’s driving something 10 times bigger than I have. It’s scary when you’re driving a car and these guys are driving something much larger.

Dan Slagen: Joe, it’s wild.

As I mentioned I’m here in Boston and I swear yesterday it was mid-sixties and perfect weather. I had my kids hit the park, pushing them on the swings. It was an idyllic day and I was thinking, ah, winter’s finally over. We’re moving into some good weather. I almost got blown over this morning just walking across the bridge through the city to get to my office.

It’s like a completely different world out there today. We’re probably at a blow-over risk back to today with the winds in Boston.

Joe Lynch: We’re gonna talk about drivers today, but we’ll get, maybe get a little bigger than that. We have the risk of weather all over the place and from what I understand, we. here in the United States, and though there are lots of listeners outside the United States, but the United States is one of the most volatile weather locations in the world. Am I right to say that?

Dan Slagen: Yeah. And NOAA tracks what they call billion dollar damage events or catastrophe events each year.

And on average we’re doing right now in the past couple years, about 18 billion-dollar events that are happening as a cause from weather. And they’re happening all, all across the globe.

Joe Lynch: Yeah, and by the way, I know there’s some people and we’ll get into this first. I’m sure there’s people going, oh great, you guys got a weather app?

You know what, I got that on my phone. I’ve said before, cuz I’ve interviewed you guys before, is you have weather for your house or your office or wherever you’re at today. Problem is if you get in your car and I’ve, I could drive. Two, three hours in my car without my phone ever changing the weather.

It was just, it was the weather at your house, Joe. I’m sure you could do a little better, but the challenge we have with the driver is he might be picking up in Boston today and driving to California and he doesn’t know what weather. But by the way, my daughter was in California a few weeks ago, and she called me, she goes, I’m at the airport.

I go, oh, I thought you were going back. She lives in Portland. I thought you were going back to Portland tomorrow. I was going to because of the storms here. I’m going home early. I go, what’s Storm? She goes, it’s snowing. I was like, all right. Snowing in la not something you expect to hear. She said, I don’t want to be snowed in here.

I was like, all right. Not something you expect to hear, but we have a challenge if I’m driving from, Boston or New York all the way through the Midwest, and I have to go all the way through the whole country. There are so many different weather systems that I’m gonna hit. How do I plan around it with just a simple app?

How’s it being done right now by people who are so behind the times that they’re not using Tomorrow.io

Dan Slagen: yeah, and I think for anyone that has never heard of us or has never spoken to us in the past, yes, the weather industry is one with a lot of players and it’s it’s sort an older space that’s been the same for a long time.

Think about it in the same way as the taxi industry before Uber, and think about us doing to the weather industry, what Uber did to the cab industry or the transportation industry in terms of that. We’ve also been called. BaseX of weather. So yeah, excited to get into the details, but we’re doing some really big stuff over here.

We really feel like what we’re creating and what we’ve put out in the market is of a once in a lifetime, once in a generation type of technology. So

is this an app that can connect my driver and my TMS and whatever systems I’m using. So it’s not something, it’s not a separate app, it’s integrated into my existing systems.

Exactly.

Including ELD feeds and forward facing camera access. Everything runs through the platform.

Joe Lynch: So it can gimme an alert and say, Hey, you’re about to, within this certain amount of time, you’re gonna hit this weather.

Dan Slagen: Yeah, exactly. And so basically what we do in the trucking industry as an example, is we work with major trucking companies out there to understand, all right, you have this many drivers out on the road.

At any one point, it could be tens of drivers, hundreds, thousand, whatever it might be, at any number, any moment in time. A certain driver is going to be at risk of weather, and that risk might be one minute away, five minutes away, an hour a day away. But what we do is we automate the tracking and the driver monitoring for every single truck or every single vehicle or that you have on the road.

And we’ll be able to tell in an automated way down to the mile marker, this is when you’re going to be in trouble. This is the reason, and this is what we recommend you do to avoid any. I like it.

Joe Lynch: And again, we’re talking about risk here and we’re talking about monitoring. When I think of this risk, the risk is real.

The risk is that I am in an accident and we know every accident’s horrible, but a truck accident is so much worse just because of the size and the weight of these vehicles. And obviously we’ve also, lawsuits are one thing, but just the human toll is obviously much more important. Some of these lawsuits, the catastrophic lawsuits we’ve seen in recent years when it comes to trucking, a should be enough to scare you straight if you aren’t already.

Everything you can to help your driver be safe. Again, I wonder why people would, people to say, why does anyone want to drive trucks anymore? This is just one more reason. It’s a dangerous job and you gotta deal with all us amateur drivers who are cutting you off and don’t understand the challenges you

Dan Slagen: have.

Yeah, and I think the company’s ability and perhaps their interests, In implementing safety procedures and protection for their drivers is arguably as high as we’ve ever seen. It just given the competitive nature of trying to ensure you have enough drivers at your company now. And so being able to offer the best experience or the best package is certainly one part of it, but a big component of that as well.

How are you protecting me? What systems have you put in place to protect me Is the driver? What’s gonna allow me to make sure I get home to my family right in a safe way? Or that I’m able to make sure I can meet the deadlines that I need to meet. And so this is one of the big things that we’re talking to companies.

Joe Lynch: I just did an interview. I didn’t publish it with yet. But it was Ashley Thomas and when I was talking to her, Dr to driver recruiting, she pointed out that pay was like number four among drivers. What they wanted to know is what equipment am I getting and am I being lied to do my job? Am I being treated like part of the family?

She said, we, everybody always wants to jump right to pay. Hey, if we pay you more, we pay you more. We’ve all worked at places. You’ve worked long enough, you’ve worked at a place where. This is a good paying job, but they don’t treat me the way I want to be treated. However, and she said a lot of times it’s equipment and she says when you lie to a trucker and they get there and they see this equipment as substandard to what they were told, driver monitoring and saying, Hey look, we’re gonna make sure you’re safe and we’ve got the latest and greatest equipment.

Joe Lynch: To keep you safe and to allow you to plan your day around the weather. That’s just one more little thing you’ve done to show them we give a damn. We don’t want you, we don’t wanna lose you on the road retention.

Dan Slagen: Joe, I love what you said. Maybe you said, if I say it the other way as well, it’s another way to think about it is just knowing that I could go make a little bit more money elsewhere, but at what risk?

At what cost? And is it really worth it in the sense of I know I have it really good right now because the company invests in me specifically. Yep.

Joe Lynch: I wanna talk a little bit about driver monitoring. First off, what is driver monitoring for those who don’t get into a day today?

Dan Slagen: All right, so any company at any one moment in time has X number of vehicles or transportation vehicles out on the road, and essentially from headquarters, they need to underst.

How these vehicles are doing? Are they on time? Are they at risk of delay? But also are they at risk of any type of safety issues? And so weather is the main driver of that component. Am I gonna meet unexpected snow or rain or wind or icy roads, or whatever it might be. And so driver monitoring is a company’s ability to monitor or watch all of their drivers at once, and then more importantly, communicate to them in.

When they’re at risk of something and what to do about it in advance before it’s too late either too late for the actual trip that they’re on, or more specifically to their short-term safety. Yep.

Joe Lynch: Dan, I was telling you that we’re hit record. There’s a trucking company not too far from me. I’ve done some work with them in the past.

And I remember being in their control center and they had 500 trucks. It’s like NASA in there, like you walk in, they’ve got all these people monitoring these trucks, but they had, so we have a camera for each truck that faces the road so we can see what the driver is seeing. We can see if they’re stopped in traffic.

We can see if it’s snowing, we can see if it’s raining. Can tell you. Beyond that, what the weather is, but I can tell you if it’s raining or snowing. There was also a camera that faces in inward, and I think that’s a little tricky because I don’t think all drivers want, none of us want a camera in our face all day, and, but I think they can turn that on. Then we obviously have the ELDs that are monitoring and the obviously have all the technologies we’re using, but. I think one of the challenges is how do we monitor these guys in a way that keeps them safe, but also doesn’t make them feel like they got big brother watching.

Yeah. I think first

Dan Slagen: and foremost, it’s specific. The way that we are helping companies monitor them is specific to weather risk that’s coming their way, and so as a driver, even I know just driving my own car with my kids, I, I very much want to know if there’s something I need to be aware of.

If first I need to reroute or if it’s really bad I need to pull over, or if there’s gonna be slick. If it’s raining out, how do I know whether or not to keep the current speed limit to back off a little bit? I don’t necessarily know the conditions of the road or how many inches per hour the rain’s coming.

I can’t tell that kind of stuff, so I, you, I go by gut and you’re making your own decisions based on gut. And so, you I’m not an expert at all. Not only in weather, but also in road conditions. Yet I’m sitting here making the main decision as the driver. And so what we’re doing is we’re really helping drivers actually be protected from technology that.

Whether or not they’re at risk, how much the risk is, and more importantly, what to do about it so they avoid it. So I think it very quickly shifts that, that mindset of, I don’t like being monitored to much more around. It’s really nice to have this safety component on my shoulder at all times.

Joe Lynch: And it’s not just the driver who’s responsible for this also. I own the trucks and I own the brand name and I own the customer. It’s my job to make sure that this all moves down the road in a safe fashion. So we all, it’s not just the driver’s responsibility to avoid that accident or to avoid that late shipment.

It’s everybody involved. I think also I’ve heard, I’ve interviewed drivers on my podcast and they say your day on the road is usually spent planning. All day long cuz you don’t know what you’re gonna hit. And this is one more way we can help the driver say, you know what? There’s a storm coming.

Don’t stop to eat right now. Continue on for another 40 minutes cuz you’re gonna have to pull over anyway. I don’t know if that’s an actual conversation they have, but I think you could start to plan your day that way. It’s hey, there’s going to be, you’re gonna hit that traffic here and you’re gonna hit this weather here, Here’s the best way to route yourself around, pullover whatever you need to

Dan Slagen: And it should be set at operating thresholds that the company has implemented and rolled out, and not necessarily something that, a driver needs to try and think about or figure out. Oh, so

Joe Lynch: wait, what do you mean by operating thresholds?

Dan Slagen: Sure. So within our platform, basically what we do is if a company has specific operating thresholds, for instance, a truck will get blown over if X, Y, Z occurs, wind speed. Truck speed is this, you know, the grade of the road is this all those different types of things that then becomes basically, not to oversimplify, but and if then statement.

So if a truck is going to encounter certain conditions that the company deems as outside of its operating threshold for safety, then recommend this. Recommend that, and it’s a very specific, actionable, predictive recommendation that the driver gets to know exactly what to do. So if I’m driving, I just get an alert, you need to pull over now, or you need to reroute.

The reason is because within the next couple miles, you’re gonna start to hit X, Y, Z, but we’ve already identified it. We know it down to the mile marker. And we’re warning you in advance the pullover to avoid any type of risk.

Joe Lynch: Oh, I love it. I love it. And by the way, I like the operating threshold because I don’t want it to be up to somebody of saying I think I can make it, it, you know, it’s on the line.

Or I know there’s high winds. I think I’ll be okay. I don’t want them to. Guesstimate that, and because we’re all human. I say, I just want to get home. I don’t want to be late. Or I what? Whatever’s going through your mind. I also don’t want somebody back at the home office saying, dude, I need you to get there on time.

If we’re late, one more time this week, we’re gonna be in trouble. I don’t want any. Anybody compromising that operating threshold. So you don’t give anybody a choice. You say, Nope, guys, safety is our top priority here when you hit this threshold, stop.

Dan Slagen: And I think to that point, we know how hard it would be for the driver to try and make that decision given all.

And yes, they have experience been, given there also driving. They’re busy, they’re driving, they, there’s financial incentives, all type of stuff. But then even go back to hq, think about how hard it would be for the person or even the team that’s sitting at headquarters. Think about it harder would be for you if you were at headquarters, to have that conversation with just one trucker or one driver on the road.

All right, I’m going on this route. I think there’s gonna be wind. Let’s take a look. Just one. And then imagine trying to do that across 500 trucks, 24 hours a day in different parts of the country or different parts of the world. It’s impossible. You’re, you’re set up to fail from day. And so now the company is basically operating with risk every single day and every once in a while that risk unfortunately, results in some type of a catastrophic event.

Joe Lynch: And we’ve got this all throughout. If I’m running a factory, I have processes, I have inputs of outputs, I have processes that I follow, and we comply to those processes and. We’ve kind moved into a compliance culture, which I like very much because it stops putting people at risk. By letting other people make somewhat of a subjective.

We say, Nope, we’re gonna turn everything from subjective to objective. It’s not on the line. You do it this way when you get this notification and. We’re saving lives. And again, most companies also, if you’re delivering, when you say, Hey, we hit a snowstorm and that’s why we didn’t deliver on time, we get a pass for that.

So we are avoiding accidents and we’re not necessarily getting a black mark cuz I don’t think most shippers or receivers. Are saying risk your life. For my on-time delivery, I think most of them I’m here in automotive land and I know there’s a hotly debated every once in a while in cold weather or winter weather was at a level where it met that operating threshold.

I think if I’m using tomorrow io, I can say, guys, I told you up front, here’s my operating thresholds. Are you comfortable telling me you don’t want Os

Dan Slagen: Exactly. And everything is documented in a system as. The reason that we made this decision was because we met the thresholds. We can very clearly see that was the case and all the responsibilities is sort of documented that way.

By the way,

Joe Lynch: when the ELDs came in, there was some discussion here in the automotive world, in the Detroit area. Where the companies had these lanes for 50 years in a row and then the ELD mandate hit and they said, Hey, we can’t do this with the driver anymore cuz it’s too far. And some of the bigger companies, I won’t mention names, said, that’s your problem.

They said, no, it’s our problem. Because as soon as I start breaking the rules, my safety rating’s gonna go down. And then you’re gonna tell me we can’t work together. I’m not taking that risk for you or anyone else. And also, do you want to go tell your. What you just told me. Go ahead and break the rules.

I don’t think that’s the, I don’t think that’s the message any shipper wants to give. So I know when, before we hit record, we were talking about a few other things related to like automation. How does automation get into this mix?

Dan Slagen: First and foremost, you have to think about the job of the company.

And so we talked about it a bit, but if you think about having, let’s say, 500 trucks on the road the country as an example. And at any one point you have a truck in new, have trucks in the northeast and the Southwest and wherever else they’re driving at all different hours of the day. All different types of weather conditions, all different types of roads, and they’re all on their own schedule.

And so if you have to monitor all of these drivers at once, And you don’t have an automated way to do it. You’re just setting yourself up to fail. How could you possibly keep track of 40, 50 weather different parameters across X hundred number drivers? There’s just no way that one person or even one team can do it.

You certainly want someone to be responsible for it, but you need to arm them with the right tools and the right technology to be able to do it. And so that’s where an automated platform comes in. So you can very quickly say, great, here’s my 500 drivers. Put them in a platform. And then on one screen you can very quickly see over the course of the next couple hours and days who’s gonna be at risk and when.

And then you can also have peace of mind as the operator knowing that they’re all going to receive predictive updates and recommendations about what to do before it’s too late. And all of those recommendations that you give are going to be ones that are agreed upon. From the, from HQ again, according to operating thresholds and the agreed upon actions and recommendations that we actually want the drivers to take.

So what automation really does is, one, it makes sure that all of your drivers are being monitored from the ground up. This is not this top down thing where we’re saying, Hey, we’re gonna be monitoring, this certain state or this certain region. No, we are driving, we’re monitoring specific drivers and specific vehicles on specific routes, and then we’re saying the communication that we’re giving to.

Is the exact same based on whatever conditions they’re facing and whatever operating thresholds the company has agreed upon. So it centralizes the communication and it also makes sure that everyone is receiving the best possible information at the best possible time. One, to be more efficient, but more importantly to avoid and mitigate any type safety risk.

That’s really the magic of automation. And when you even just start to think about only using humans or only. An existing weather app or those types of things, there’s just no way that you can even comprehend trying to do that without putting your company at unnecessary risk every single day.

Yep. I

Joe Lynch: love it. I love it. And by the way, let me ask you this, and I know if you don’t have this, you’ll have it eventually. Austin is used to winter weather. The Northeast is, so is the Midwest now, my kids who live in Portland, Told me this was earlier this year. We have more snow this year than Boston.

They don’t know how to deal with it. My kids are from the Midwest. They’re used to the idea that you have plows and you have salt, and they clear the roads. They said out in Portland, they don’t get snow like this, so they’re not used to it. So the driving might be way worse with two or three inches of snow where it might not be a problem here. It’s a big problem out there.

Dan Slagen: Yeah. It’s funny, we actually, do work in a bunch of local cities. We had a story recently. I think it was late last year with the city of Hoboken, New Jersey, where we do work with with their teams there to make sure that they know when you do have specific weather like snow, how many trucks should we send out?

How much salting should we expect? Oh, I love that because they actually have, they have problems both ways. One, if they don’t send out enough trucks or enough salt, and the roads are in icy conditions, we know what the issues would be. But then the other fact is if they send out too much, then they’re just wasting taxpayer dollars and resources and they don’t wanna do that either.

And so their ability to. It save on cost, but then also make sure that they can really go back to their communities and say, we know the roads are safe. Is one thing that we do. But yeah it’s a different side of the business book. But we do work with a bunch of cities as

Joe Lynch: well. What I was thinking is two inches of snow in Detroit is not much.

Doesn’t, not a problem. But at two inches, inus

Dan Slagen: is a problem. Yeah. And the nice thing about our platform is that all of that is agreed upon in advance, put into the platform once, and then it’s automated. Oh. An alert that you receive when you’re driving through Michigan would be a different alert that you’d receive when you’re driving through Texas.

Ah. And when you drive through a certain part of the country, that’s the beauty of having an automated calibrated platform is that you dig in hq, Joe, you don’t have to think about that. Oh, this driver is in Michigan, so the road conditions are probably X, but this driver’s in Texas, so they’re what?

It’s already. It’s done for you. The alerts have already gone out and you’re again sitting there with peace of mind. I think one thing we talked about a little bit too, Joe, is this. This notion responsibility and ownership.

Joe Lynch: Yeah. One thing before you go off that I like, again, Texas versus Michigan, two inches of snow.

That is a subjective call for my team. But if, again, put it in the system and say this is the operating thresholds that we agreed to ahead of time, I don’t have to worry about anybody taking it a bigger risk than we all feel comfortable with. It’s a good point. Yeah, exactly. It’s moving everything from subjective to objective, everything to a, did you comply or did you not comply?

And that’s what we need to do. Again, we gotta get these, if we’re gonna be safe, we’re going to have, as you said, operating thresholds that we play within. And who knows, maybe at some point somebody says, you know what? We’re gonna change those operating thresholds to be even more conservative.

Why? Because we saw a need for that.

Dan Slagen: Yeah, exactly. And the one thing you can do, which is nice, is you can go back and look at historicals as well. We do a lot of weather forecasting, of course. One of the big ways that we can train models is to understand what happened historically in a specific place on a specific day during a specific season.

And if you can correlate that to your historical performance as well, you can start to see, to your point, maybe we should dial things back just a little bit, or maybe this threshold isn’t exactly where it could be and we could update it to improve either efficiency or. Yeah.

I’m

Joe Lynch: just curious, and again, this we’ll get back to, I know we wanted to talk about responsibility and ownership, but have you ever considered going back and saying, no, there were this many accidents in this region or trucking company in this period of time, and our operating thresholds would have a.

Advised them not to be on the road at that one minute. Have you ever gone back and

Dan Slagen: done that? Yeah, we have. Yes. And then specifically on, on the weather forecasting, what’s interesting is we recently announced an update to our weather forecasting technology, and we had it third party validated against historicals.

And what we found was that our platform was anywhere from 10 to 40% more accurate. And what companies would’ve been getting what the existing weather forecasting technologies that, that they would’ve had. So imagine going back historically and saying we would’ve had almost a 40% improvement in accuracy had we have been using tomorrow io.

That’s

Joe Lynch: crazy. That’s crazy. And again, make no mistake this. Not knowing the weather is a big problem and knowing a little bit of the weather is probably still a fairly significant problem. We need to get better and I said this before to you, I feel like you heard for a while visibility is the killer app and it was we talked about it a lot, but I don’t want just visibility into the problem.

I don’t want to see a slow motion train crash. I want to be able to take action. This is one of those things that says not only you have visibility into the issue, but you’ll also have some insights that tell you go or.

Dan Slagen: Yeah, exactly. And regardless of what solution or technology or procedure you have in place right now to track weather, if you’re not using a company like tomorrow, io, then essentially what you’re getting is the government forecast.

And so for the most part, companies are out there taking public weather data from agencies like noaa, and they’re just putting that within their software and giving it to you. So if you have a weather app on your phone, for the most part they, the funny thing is they’re all giving you the exact same forecast.

They just brand the experience differently. And so what you’re attracted to is the brand, not actually the weather forecast accuracy. And some people say this is the most accurate, that’s the most. Let’s be honest, no one’s sat down and done a scientific analysis of which one was most accurate over the course of the last week or two years.

You’re just saying based on what you think, cuz that’s how humans do it. I do it with, certain apps all the time, but what we do is instead of just relying on public weather forecast from each, she’s no. What we do is we have our own proprietary. Approach to weather forecast, and we look at both public and private data sources.

And then we have a team of data scientists that synthesize our own models. We actually run our own weather model in the cloud to produce the most accurate and hyper-local weather forecast for anywhere in the world. And as I mentioned earlier, we’ve already been validated as being much more accurate and much more actionable and anything that’s out there, but we’re still just getting started on the weather forecasting technology front.

We are right on the cusp of actually launching our own satellites up into. That we’ve spent the last couple years building, and without getting too much into it, what really differentiates these satellites, there’s really nothing like this out there right now, is that they are equipped with radar and the best place and the best way to forecast weather is from space with radar.

Currently, there’s one satellite up in space that was sent up about 10 years ago, and for the most part, it gives us weather updates for anywhere in the world, once every. That’s how often that it can send back data. So if you ever hear about, they’re flying a plane into the eye of the storm to try and understand the intensity of what’s gonna happen, it’s because they can’t wait another three days.

And that’s when the next batch weather data will refresh. The satellites that we are sending up are going to reduce that data refresh time from three days to one hour for anywhere in the world that is hyper-local. Hyper-local, anywhere in the world, including over oceans by the. We’re mostly blind over oceans right now in terms of real time, and so this update to the weather industry and how it’s gonna feed our platform and our technology, again, we’re all, we’re already validated as being the most accurate and the most effective, but this is really next wave.

Joe Lynch: Of the company. Yeah. So we are, all now all, when you see the weather forecast, it came from one company or one source and everybody just branded it differently. I did not know that, but it reminds me, I heard Rock and Roll Station. They said there was a guy and he was talking, he was being interviewed on a podcast, which is ironic, and he said, we never had our own weather or news team.

We would listen to. W j r, which isn’t, a news station. And we would just listen to theirs, write it down, and then do it on ours. And they’d go we just shared the, we just took their news and their weather. I was thinking, eh, that’s good enough. But, to

Dan Slagen: that though it’s ta, it’s talent wars, look, there’s some incredibly smart meteorologists out there.

And there’s no question that there’s the top echelon of meteorologists out there that can predict weather better than the others based on experience and education and knowhow. No question. However, every human is prone to error. Every human is prone to burnout. And what we want to do is we want to take that risk out of the equation, and we want to make sure that companies have.

The absolute best information at all time, 24 7. And even if that’s still feeding an in-house meteorology team or in-house meteorologist, that’s great. You’ve just armed them with a given them better data, and also just more consistency. You’re taking human fatigue completely out of the equation.

And I don’t know anyone that doesn’t suffer from it. So you’re taking something that is an absolute and making sure that there’s a contingency plan for it.

Joe Lynch: Yep. And by the way, and I still want to get your responsibility and ownership. I just wrote that down. Make sure we don’t forget to get to that. But you live in Boston, which is on the ocean, right?

You’re on the coast, so your weather is over. Remind

Dan Slagen: my wife. Yes.

Joe Lynch: Yeah. So you’re, is she from a warm weather

Dan Slagen: place from DC It’s a little bit warmer. Yeah. Yeah,

Joe Lynch: a little bit. Being on the coast, your weather has changed because of the weather A lot. So I live in Michigan. We’re surrounded by the LA Great Lakes.

It feels if you say that weather data that my weather guy and your weather guy gives is based on old data. They’re using their best knowledge combined with data that is, In dated, we’ll say three days change. Three days on the ocean, three days over The Great Lakes changes everything. They are, sometimes I’m in Michigan and I’m not blaming your, my weather.

People here they’ll tell us we’re getting a huge storm. You wake up in the morning, you go, it’s two inches. Where’s our huge storm? That is been going on my whole life, and I don’t think they’re stupid. They know what they’re doing. Things changed. If I was basing all of my decisions on and I own a trucking company, then I’d be like, Hey, we’re not driving tomorrow and no one come in and then two inches

Dan Slagen: and, things change.

Obviously the weather changes as you approach the impact, but not get the alert in advance about what to do one way or the other. As I think where a lot of the frustration comes in the same as you, I remember. Go going to bed at night and there’s gonna be 10 inches of snow. Then you wake up and there’s nothing.

If you had at least gotten the alert to say, Hey, actually this is what happened and we got, but you never get that. You always just get the, ah, here’s what’s coming next. And so it’s, yeah, the, oh yeah,

Joe Lynch: It was worse when I was. To have to go to school and we’re like, we’re getting a huge storm.

I’m not doing my homework. I got all day for it. I was burned on that. Anyway, let’s switch topics here a little bit. I know I want to talk about responsibility and ownership, so what about responsibility and ownership when it comes to this big risk that we’re talking about?

Dan Slagen: This really hits near and dear because ultimately what we’re trying to prevent accidents and we dress it up, we’ll call it, safety risks and those, but we don’t want trucks to get into accidents, right?

We don’t want vehicles to get into accidents, whether it’s no blow overs or other things like that. We really just wanna avoid it as much as possible. And now, I remember years ago in the healthcare industry, hearing the term patient autonomy, and it sounded like such a lovely phrase, the way that they, they crafted that, but really what the risk was, you were shifting the responsibility and the onus to make a decision.

From someone who knew something in the medical community over to a patient who knew less, in my opinion, knew less. Yes, I know my body better, but I don’t necessarily know the impact of that particular drug or that treatment or that type of thing, and ultimately, I want to be able to trust my doctor. And I want to be able to trust a medical team that I’m working with and I want to take their advice into consideration as opposed to me being the one feeling like I have to make the decision because I don’t know.

And we see something similar sometimes in, in the transportation industry. Drivers are often paid by the mile. And then given this notion of if the conditions are horrible or you don’t feel safe, pull over. Or if you don’t think this is good for you to drive, pull over and. You make that decision.

But if you have financial incentives on the line, you’re paid by the mile and that’s what’s driving you and you’re not an ex, you’re not an expert in the weather because how could you be on your route while you’re driving in real time, going from state to state with different parameters coming in at all time there, you’re not even in a position to make a decision, an informed decision and checking a weather app, as we just talked about, is not the best way to do it, because that’s not hyper-local data that’s gonna be specific to your route. It might be across your state, but it’s definitely not gonna tell you the real situation that you’re in. And yeah, there’s this onus and there’s a shift of responsibility from the company to the driver, and it’s not fair to the drivers, and it’s putting them at unnecessary risk. So what we love about the trucking companies that we’re working with is that they are raising their hands to say no.

The responsibility to protect our drivers is on us. It’s not on the drivers.

And we’re gonna put these systems in place to protect our drivers, to warn them in advance, and to help them work through whatever specific situation they’re in the safest way. And we talked a little earlier about how hard it is to attract drivers and make sure that retention is there and pay is not always the most important thing.

This is the stuff that people really care about. How are you keeping me safe? What are you doing to make sure I get home to my family it’s not this idea that, hey, we’re implementing this top-down system and we’re gonna be tracking this state, or this general region. No, this is from the bottom up at the driver level.

You’re monitoring me, you’re monitoring my vehicle, you’re monitoring my route. And I always feel like I have that protection at my back and that really is where the responsibility needs to live. And it’s why we absolutely love working with the trucking companies that, that we do.

Joe Lynch: Yep. And Dan, I’ve,

I’m a big believer, and I think most people listening would say, I’m a big believer in KPIs, key performance indicators, key process indicators.

And I always say only the very best metrics grow up to be a KPI. So I don’t need 30 of ’em. I need four or five. And so I’ve advised shippers and I’ve advised three pls, brokers with KPIs, but every once in a while you bump into one where you say, I am going to give. An incentive to do something that potentially steers you in the wrong direction.

And when I say I want a hundred percent on time performance, I do. But if that translates into a driver taking undue risk, it’s not worth it. So we have to say, all right guys, we have to own our KPIs, but when we say, this is horrible weather, we’re not gonna do it. We’re taking it out of your hands.

It’s not gonna deliver today. Which is fine cuz we’re not gonna risk a life risk, a truck risk, an accident, not gonna do it. Or Joe, to that

point, there is a. For us to meet our KPIs, but there’s a different way and there’s a safer way to do it. If we know what’s happening a week or a couple days in advance, we just need to shift it.

We’ll reduce our risk by a significant percentage, and we can still hit our goals. That’s really where, that’s really where the magic comes in.

I interviewed someone from tomorrow. I talked to a friend, a consultant in the space, very knowledgeable, and he goes what are you gonna do not deliver? And I said potentially if you have enough information, you say, I’m gonna move that shipment that was gonna leave on Wednesday morning to Tuesday, and we’re gonna deliver and be back home before the storm.

And he goes do we have that date? I said, they do. That’s the thing, you know, that’s the thing. If we have that data, and by the way, I think once we start being able to. A good amount of historical data. We said delivering to Boston in February. We know this is the weather. You know, we don’t have 25 delivery days.

We have 23 or 22. Maybe we carry a little extra inventory starting in January because we don’t want to put ourselves at risk. Now that’s not, doesn’t work for perishables, but I think we can get to the place where we say, we understand the weather and we understand how we. Drive our trucks through that weather, we can carry extra inventory or move stuff closer to the customer, the end

Dan Slagen: customer.

Yeah. And there are ways to do that as well with anything in terms of if there’s a refrigerated cargo or specialty pharma. No, we’ve put those types of plans in place as well. It’s funny you mentioned Ayala, who’s a, our Carly here tomorrow, ao, she runs our transportation department, DE is one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever seen out there.

We have an incredibly competitive team. Ultimately, what we’re charged with here is helping companies meet their goals and do that in a way that. Safety in any type of risk in the absolute best way possible. Yep.

Joe Lynch: Danny said this to you before we hit record. I never have good ideas. I just hear ’em and then I say ’em on my podcast, but I heard somebody say this on my podcast.

They said, we all understand how our assembly plant, or our factory or warehouse works, right? We have inputs, we have outputs, and we have processes that are very predictable. Somebody said in a lot of ways, This logistics and supply chain. Once we leave our warehouse or our factory, it’s still a factory.

It just spans hundreds if not thousands of miles. And we still have to be safe. We still have to have work rules. And that’s, this is just one more place where you say this if I was in a factory, I would say I’m always going to be looking for ways to protect my people. In that plan. We have to bring that.

Mindset outside into the outdoor factory that is logistics. So one other thing, I know I did a webinar with you guys a few months ago, and there are other people besides trucking companies who are using your weather climate app. What, by the way, do you call it an app or not you like to call it the platform.

The platform. Okay. So what other kind of companies in the logistics and transportation supply sheets based are using this? We work with a

Dan Slagen: bunch of trucking companies out there. I actually don’t think I’m allowed to say the names of them. No, I’m not going to. But we would all re. Them. Yes, my PR team will get very upset, but yes we are working with with some of the largest trucking companies out there.

Joe Lynch: I know you’re doing stuff with the ports

Dan Slagen: too, right? Yeah. We’re working across a, again, it’s any industry that’s impacted by weather. And you know, the companies that we, you know we talk about are, ones like Uber and the US Air Force and the nfl, those types of companies.

But yeah, anything within the supply chain logistics. Cargo trucking chips, cargo intermodal, its Con Global is another great customer that, that we work with all, all around the world.

And

Joe Lynch: I seem to remember it was, I ts talking about they stack shipping containers at their port and then notice, hey, we got the weather alert.

Unstacked because the wind is blowing a certain speed, so they unstack some of these containers and the guy mentioned, yeah, and our neighbor, who also has a whole bunch of stack, did not unstack his containers. And I was like, oh, I didn’t even think about that. But yeah, if you stack containers too high, it can blow over in a windstorm.

And if I was able to get, give me an hour or two to unstack all my containers, and by the way, they’re those blowing over. Not only damages containers, it could damage, it could hurt people. I mean, these are things that are also saving lives.

Dan Slagen: Yeah. And that’s such a great use case. And one of the things that we release.

This last week, actually, I think Fox Weather covered the story, but we released the industry’s first generative AI as part of the platform and so we, we nicknamed it Gale because it’s a nice name and has weather tones as well. But really now our platform, again, we’re the only company out there that’s using AI here to make sure that people are able to synthesize millions of different, of weather data points and recommendation.

Into a very easy to understand like daily report that you can just share out with all of your key stakeholders. So for a company like its, they have all their different locations or different warehouse or different stack areas, and each manager of those locations can now easily get a very simplified daily report.

Here’s exactly what we recommend you do each morning. So it’s a really nice way for them to be able to just operate in an easy way because we are very passionate about the. We love weather here tomorrow, but we also know everyone else has their day jobs and they just need to know what to

Joe Lynch: do.

Yeah, exactly. I do think we’re going to start routing and we’re trying always to get better information, actionable information. How do I manage my supply chains better? And this is one more data point that says, Hey, you’re not gonna deliver next Friday. You’re gonna deliver next Thursday and be home on Friday because the storm is in that city.

And that’s gonna save money. It’s gonna save time, it’s gonna save a lot of hassle. And and you’ve said it before, we’re gonna have our drivers being much happier on this front because we’re not putting their lives in danger. Also not putting. Other drivers’ lives in danger. So let’s wrap this bad boy up.

I know you have a hard stop. So we’re talking about this big risk. This is the biggest risk that Dr. Of the face drivers, which is weather events. It makes them late, it makes them causes accidents. It causes a lot of problems. I want to get your final thoughts on this

Dan Slagen: bad boy. My final thoughts are that weather is getting harder to understand and.

This winter is a good case of it. We have some parts of the country that are setting records and others that are setting records for the other reason, but it’s getting harder and weather’s not going anywhere, and it’s  a constant daily challenge that we all face. And companies need an automated way to understand what’s gonna happen in advance, and they need the most technologically advanced solution.

To implement, to keep their drivers safe and to make sure they’re operating as efficiently as possible. And that is exactly what we’ve built with our weather intelligence platform here at tomorrow, Ohio.

Joe Lynch: I love it. Oh, wait a sec. I wrote this down. You had sent me something, and I don’t know whether it was Gartner or Forrester, you’re in one of those, they ranked in this, right?

Dan Slagen: Forrester recently put out their New Wave report, which is their flagship report and they break it out by different verticals.

So they looked at weather and climate and they looked at, what’s new. They looked at all the major players in the space. They looked at companies that have been in business for tens of years. They looked at newer companies, looked at everyone, and rated us as the leader within the report.

Joe Lynch: Honestly, if you were to say to me right now, who else is there, I would be like, my weather guy and Tomorrow.io, I’m sure there are other companies, I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but, you just never hear of it yet.

But I do think we’re going to, because again, it, this is the next killer app. This is something we need to have.

Before you go — I like to interview smart, interesting people like you. Who else is killing it in this space that I should talk to?

Dan Slagen: We talked a lot about the trucking industry on this one. JB Hunt is the one, they just have an amazing operation.  I think their COO, Nick Hobbs would be a fantastic person to interview on the show.

Joe Lynch: If anyone knows Nick Hobbs, connect me with Nick Hobbs, unless you got an email, but I would love to have Nick Hobbs on my podcast, so I’d love to have anyone from JB Hunt, but that sounds like a good person to have.

Dan, what conferences will we see the fine folks from Tomorrow.io at?

Dan Slagen: Definitely the safety conferences, which are coming up later this year. I don’t know the exact month. You might know that’s the big one. We were at a couple earlier in Q1, at Manifest. We were at LINK, NPTC, and FreightWaves. You’ll always see us on FreightWavesas well.

Joe Lynch: This was the Logistics of Logistics Podcast where we engage with leaders in the logistics and supply chain community.

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