When we send out a product we want it to be as ‘bug free’ as possible. To that end, we employ an avid testing process, wherein testing starts at the beginning of development and continues even after the product has been deployed.

Our tech team begins the testing process by gaining a good understanding of what the product is and how it should function. After getting a thorough handle on the product, we write a test that, when run, will make sure the product is functioning correctly. We run this test after the product is finished being coded, going back and fixing coding problems until the test is passed. These tests are retained for the life of the product, and are constantly running to make sure that no future additions or alterations damage the product.

After the product passes this initial test, the developers test it further, and then upload it to a test environment (test environments are often clones of live website, wherein testers can demo functionality of new products without affecting the live website). Our quality assurance testers (QAs) manually try the functionality of the new product in the test environment, making sure it does what it is designed to do, and nothing that it isn’t. Strangely enough, the most valuable QAs are those who are agile enough to find ways to ‘break’ the product. The more ways in which testers can try to ‘break’ a product, the more durable and ‘bug free’ the product can become. All of the bugs and missing functionality found by the QAs are sent back to the developers for repair. After a bug is fixed, it must again go through testing.

Before the QAs get into the detailed stages of testing, they explore the product to make sure all obvious bugs and functionality has been dealt with. Then they send out the product to testers throughout the company, as each Internet Truckstop department has a few people designated to help test, with testers rotating quarterly. Each company tester spends an hour a day doing nothing but testing products for functionality and bugs. The more eyes exploring a product, the better, as the diversity of approaches and perspectives makes for a more thoroughly tested product. When company testers find the product to be ‘bug free’ and user friendly, they communicate to QAs that the product has ‘passed.’

QAs continue to test even while they wait for the product to pass through the company testers. After confirming that all bugs have been fixed, that functionality is working and user friendly, and that company testers have given the ‘thumbs up,’ the product is finished, and ready for rollout.

After passing through our developers, our QAs, and our company testers, the product then moves on to its most important test of all – your daily use! Our entire testing process is designed to make our products function in the useful, user friendly ways that you would like it to. We greatly value your feedback because your opinion is the most important of all.

About the Author
Chelsea Baguley, is a certified Scrum Master at Internet Truckstop and works hand in hand with the development department. Chelsea started as a tester at Internet Truckstop and has a keen insight of the functions on the load board.

Some (Cautiously) Optimistic News for the Economy

Last week, two key economic reports showed an improving environment for trucking. In one, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that total monthly retail sales increased by a seasonally-adjusted 0.3% during November, or 3.7% year over year. In the other, the Federal Reserve documented a full percentile increase in the monthly industrial production index for November, including a 1.1 percentile improvement in the manufacturing component.

Contrasted with the weakness seen in these measures during recent months, the November reports are especially promising for trucking. The improvement in industrial production, for instance, was the largest monthly increase in this index since December 2010. Retail sales, meanwhile, are now up nearly 25% from their recessionary bottom.

The scene is not all rosy, however. As the Fed’s report noted, “The gain in November is estimated to have largely resulted from a recovery in production for industries that had been negatively affected by Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Northeast region in late October.”

Moreover, inventories continue to grow throughout the supply chain. As shown in the figure, the growth rate of inventory accumulation has outpaced that for retail sales and production since late 2010, and the volume of business inventories steadily increases. So long as the supply chain struggles to move existing stock, we will continue to see a disconnect between new production and demand for more trucking.

Whether the November improvements in manufacturing and sales will continue is an open question. Some early answers to this question will be provided this week in the December regional production reports from the Fed Banks in New York, Philadelphia, and Kansas City.


Jeremy West
ITS Economist

NEW EOBR from uDrove!

The U.S. Congress has passed the MAP 21 Transportation bill that requires drivers to track their hours of service using electronic logging devices. All truck drivers in the U.S. and Canada who drive more than 100 air miles from their home base must maintain driver logs. These logs are monitored by federal authorities to ensure that drivers are not exceeding their time on duty or driving hours. An Electronic On Board Recorder (EOBR) fleet solution automates Hours of Service reporting.  If you are required to file a record of duty status (RODS), this mandate affects you.

When the FMCSA first made its cost assumptions for requiring the use of EOBR, it used a popular device in the marketplace that a number of large fleets had adopted as a fleet management and electronic logging solution. The price for the hardware of this device was estimated at $1,675, according to the Preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis. Smaller companies and owner operators that wanted a Fleet Management System to help reduce operating expenses, simplify business management, and improve driver habits could never justify the expense of purchasing the equipment, or committing to a long term contract. uDrove has built a solution for companies that is affordable and easy to use, minus the contracts.

While implementing an EOBR system in your fleet does require an initial investment, the long term benefits outweigh the costs incurred up front. Hours Of  Service violations are virtually eliminated and Fuel/Mileage tracking is done electronically, simplifying IFTA reporting and reducing driver error.  Not only does uDrove eliminate driver error but we have integrated with PC Miler to give our customers access to real-time date for a single truck, a group of trucks, or an entire fleet’s in-state and interstate mileage, with automated reports for fast and efficient compliance with state and federal tax regulations.

Using smart phone technology, drivers can also maintain their fuel and business expenses electronically. By taking a picture of fuel and expense receipts, anything a driver spends money on can be captured and kept on their web account at

uDrove provides companies a simple, cost-effective solution that truckers can purchase pre-mandate, and still have it make sense financially. They came into the market well before the MAP 21 Transportation bill was proposed and passed. With the data received from the EOBR and the capabilities of the smart phone, companies realize their R.O.I. (return on investment) almost instantly.

For more information on uDrove’s EOBR please contact 888-983-7683 or visit

Upward 2012 Q3 GDP Revision Reflects Mainly Growth in Inventories

Last Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a 2.7% annual rate during the third quarter of 2012, which was an upward revision from the preliminarily reported annual growth rate of 2.0%. At a first glance, this appears to be good news, but as economist James Hamilton points out, a more thorough reading of the report shows that the U.S. economy is “growing a slower rate than any of us would like.”

In particular, 0.8 percentage points of the growth in GDP translated into increased inventory accumulation, and 0.7 came from higher levels of defense spending. Excluding these factors, Q3 GDP grew at a measly 1.2% annual rate. Hamilton reasonably anticipates that GDP will continue to grow at below-average rates during 2012Q4 and in the near future.

For the trucking industry, I find the increased accumulation of inventories to be the most concerning aspect of this report. As shown in the below figure, U.S. total trade inventories increased by $135b, or 9.1%, from March 2011 through September 2012 (the most recent month currently reported by the Census Bureau). Over the same time period, total retail sales actually declined by $17b, or 1.4%. Basically, retail sales have been largely flat for nearly two years, while inventories have steadily accumulated.

I have discussed the problems of increased inventory accumulation previously on this blog, and it remains troubling for trucking to have increasing production volumes be simply stashed in warehouses.

New orders for durable goods (products with a useable life of at least three years) remained flat during October (.pdf), as did new home sales (.pdf). Moreover, consumer confidence improved by only 0.6% during November.

Recently, the American Trucking Association reported that truck tonnage declined by 3.8% in October, the first year-over-year drop since November 2009. Clearly, the trucking sector is in need of a positive shock to demand. A possible source for such a shock is much less clear.


Jeremy West
Internet Truckstop Economist

Consumers Are Down But Not Out

Both retail sales and manufacturing declined during October, falling short of consensus expectations. Despite this, consumer sentiment remains resilient

Specifically, national retail sales declined month-over-month by 0.29% in October (.pdf), which was the first monthly decline in sales volumes since June. Meanwhile, industrial production shed 0.4% during October, which was the second consecutive monthly decline in the index. The manufacturing component of industrial production fell by 0.9%.

Understandably, the advent of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast incited some of these declines in production and retail sales. The Washington Post quotes the U.S. Commerce Department as noting, “Even though we cannot isolate the effect, we did receive indications from the companies that the hurricane had both positive and negative effects on the retail sales data.”

However, some pundits argue that the hurricane alone does not explain the overall weakening of consumer demand.A large portion of the drop in retail sales is attributable to hurricane-induced declines in auto and other durable goods sales, while the remainder was propped up largely by gasoline price increases in the Northeast.

Ultimately, the hurricane confounds any deep evaluation of this report on retail sales, especially considering the report is juxtaposed against a five-year record high in Consumer Sentiment, per the Thomson Reuters / University of Michigan Index. The cautious takeaway is that while consumers have taken a beating, they remain optimistic about the holiday season. This doesn’t bode especially well for trucking, but likewise the reports are not especially bad news either.

Are Hurricanes Good for Trucking?

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy—as is often the case following a major natural disaster—economic pundits perform an intellectual dance, arguing whether or not a hurricane is ultimately good for the economy, especially during a recession. I want to take a narrower perspective, asking whether trucking volumes improve following a major hurricane.

The theory goes as follows. A hurricane such as Sandy destroys a large amount of physical property (e.g. houses, office buildings, shops, and infrastructure). Following the storm, the area slowly rebuilds, often renovating older and deteriorated construction along the way. This (re)construction activity requires a large volume of building materials, which—you guessed it—need to be trucked.

Although the story seems plausible, it’s ultimately an empirical question whether a hurricane leads to a significant uptick in trucking activity. To investigate this, I’ve plotted the timing of several major U.S. hurricanes along with the Transportation Services Index for Freight,reported monthly by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics since 1990. This index measures national freight activity and is seasonally-adjusted, which is key in this case because the “hurricane season” largely overlaps the annual peak trucking season. Thus, the test is to see whether hurricanes generate spikes in transportation volumes.

Eleven of the thirty most costly U.S. mainland tropical cyclones from 1900-2010 have occurred since 1990, per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, .pdf report, Table 3a. on p. 9). To these, I’ve added Hurricane Irene (August 2011)for the figure below.

You can of course pass your own judgment on the results, but I think the data speak for themselves. To the extent that hurricanes boost trucking activity, the increase looks pretty small.

This is not to say that trucking is unaffected. In particular, some types of trailers (especially flatbeds) should realize bigger gains in volumes than others. But, I wouldn’t count on Sandy to revitalize the trucking industry.


Jeremy West
Internet Truckstop Economist



Press Release – Internet Truckstop Launches a Platform to Analyze, Organize, Create and Execute the RFP Process

New Plymouth, Idaho–Internet Truckstop, the largest web-based freight matching service in the transportation industry, has launched a new request for proposal suite of services that was previously not available to brokers or third party logistic companies.

Internet Truckstop’s new Request for Proposal (RFP) Suite, is an advanced, cloud based system which requires no software installation and allows users to create, distribute and compete in the RFP Process.

“Our goal in developing the RFP suite was to provide our customers with a ground breaking RFP solution that would reduce the amount of time spent compiling data while also providing additional carrier capacity if needed when bidding on a RFP’s,” says Leigh Foxall, Director, Freight Matching. “Users can invite their pre-qualified core carrier group to participate in an RFP session as well as reach out to new potential carriers that are members of the Internet Truckstop community. Our service allows for customization to meet a user specific needs with user preferences being customized all the way down to lane choices. Users can quickly respond to RFP’s with a detailed understanding of their own available margins per lane as truck and rate history is uploaded directly into the platform.”

Internet Truckstop says their new RFP suite will help users manage their businesses and provide a single on-demand system to easily consolidate, organize, schedule, host, and award or accept lanes to selected transportation partners.

For more information visit or call 1-800-203-2540 x 6185
About Internet Truckstop
Founded in 1995, Internet Truckstop is the first and largest freight matching service on the web. Internet Truckstop offers more tools than any other freight matching service available. These easy-to-use tools, the largest freight database, and a commitment to the transportation industry make Internet Truckstop the leader in Internet freight matching.

Press Release – United Perishable Logistics secures a $250,000 Broker Bond with ITS Financial Services, LLC

United Perishable Logistics secures a $250,000 Broker Bond with ITS Financial Services, LLC

New Plymouth, Idaho – October 30, 2012- United Perishable Logistics (UPL) is pleased to announce the addition of a $250,000 broker’s surety bond provided through ITS Financial Services, LLC. This bond is in advance and well in excess of the 75K mandate currently scheduled to go into effect October 1, 2013 for all Brokers and Freight Forwarders. This action will provide UPL’s Shipper customers and Carrier clients additional financial security, as well as, demonstrating the financial strength of this rapidly growing freight brokerage.

“UPL secured the bond to lift the bar within the brokerage community and express our strong commitment to small and large trucking fleets alike, that our interests are aligned in ensuring prompt and accurate payment. Furthermore, this action is a demonstration of our confidence in the ITS bond and credit program as it works to protect the integrity of the freight industry,” says Steve Martori – Managing Member – United Perishable Logistics.

ITS Financial Services, LLC (ITSFS) is an affiliate of Internet Truckstop® providing bonding options for members. ITSFS also manages the Diamond Broker Program. Through this program ITSFS advertises the credit worthiness, the quality and size, as well as, the current status of a member’s bond to the 800,000 trucks using Internet Truckstop.

“The industry is well aware Diamond Broker members consistently meet and exceed industry standards. UPL’s action is another fine example. ITSFS is very pleased to provide this option, as well as, adverting this to all subscribers,” says Joe Foxall, CFO-ITS Financial Services, LLC

About United Perishable Logistics
United Perishable Logistics is a freight brokerage company specializing in third party transportation of refrigerated goods throughout the United States and Canada. Our 20 years of experience has taught us that trust and reliability are characteristics that cannot be compromised. UPL is dedicated to maintaining the highest business, credit and financial ratings in the industry which has earned us an outstanding reputation with both our carriers and customers.

About Diamond Broker Program
Participating members receive a diamond designation attached to every load they post with Internet Truckstop. The Diamond Broker quickly delivers valuable assurances to Carriers regarding credit, performance history and the quality of their bond. In addition to these competitive advantages the Diamond Broker receives experienced support to protect their bond, their credit score and their good name.

About Internet Truckstop
Founded in 1995, Internet Truckstop is the first and largest freight matching service on the web. Internet Truckstop offers more tools than any other freight matching service available. These easy-to-use tools, the largest freight database, and a commitment to the transportation industry make Internet Truckstop the leader in Internet freight matching.

For more information contact Steve Martori at 480-225-2444 or ITS Financial Services at 866-812-9675

Surprise, Surprise… the Manufacturing Sector Remains Choppy

By Jeremy West, Internet Truckstop Economist

Over the past few months, it has seemed like U.S. manufacturers are treading water. Factory output isn’t dramatically sinking, as occurs whenever the economy is entering a recession. But, on the other hand, we’re not seeing any production gains worth cheering about either.

Manufacturing Orders and Production

Two basic metrics are tracked for manufacturing output: the quantity of current production and the volume of orders for future production. Last Thursday, the Census Bureau reported that new orders in August for factory production fell 5.2% month-over-month and 2.5% year-over-year. This was the first year-over-year decline in new orders since November 2009.

Much of this decline resulted from a 101.8% drop in orders for commercial aircraft. As shown in the figure, orders excluding transportation equipment increased by 0.28% YOY. Regardless, the message is clear: manufacturing production is stalling.

Separately, the Institute for Supply Management reported that the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) increased to 51.5 during September. This was positive news: any value above 50 indicates manufacturing growth, and the index has been below 50 since May. The next few months will show whether this represents a temporary spike in manufacturing activity or a reversal of the contraction seen in the manufacturing sector during 2012Q2.

So, the production picture isn’t entirely gloomy, and some regions of the country are performing better than others. During September, manufacturing output improved in Texas and in the Central Atlantic regions, worsened in New York and in much of the Midwest, and remained largely flat in the Philadelphia region.

Taken together, these reports offer a mixed outlook for total manufacturing—and, subsequently, trucking—with aggregate production activity trending to the downside. The next Federal Reserve Industrial Production and Manufacturing report is scheduled for October 16th. Don’t be surprised to find that factories continued to slowly churn.

Market Demand Index (MDI) Decreases 2%


NEW PLYMOUTH, ID (September 25, 2012) – Internet Truckstop, the largest web-based freight matching service in the transportation industry reports that the Market Demand Index (MDI) decreased 2% to 11.64 from 11.83 the previous week as reported in the weekly Trans4Cast.

The overall average equipment rate decreased 2% to $2.04 from $2.09 the previous week. Flatbed rates decreased 3% to $1.90 from $1.96 the previous week. Reefer rates decreased 3% to $2.08 from $2.16 the previous week. Specialized truck rates increased 2% to $2.45 from $2.41 the previous week. Van rates decreased 5% to $1.72 from $1.82 the previous week.

“With an upcoming national election, a looming “fiscal cliff,” and continuing instability in the Eurozone, the economic climate is quite unclear. And, the outlook will remain murky until businesses and consumers can better determine the political environment in which they must operate.” Jeremy West, Internet Truckstop Economist

About Trans4Cast powered by Internet Truckstop
is the compilation of highly relevant data, easily accessible to all trucking professionals. The Market Demand Index (MDI), a measure of relative truck demand, is culled from Internet Truckstop data.  Internet Truckstop compiles this weekly report that will assist in making critical business decisions. The report is now a web series with a news anchor and appears as the Industry Economic Update  on, Internet Truckstop, and Truckload Carriers Association. The show is produced bi-weekly and can be accessed online 24/7. Jeremy West is the economic consultant preparing this report. He holds a bachelor of science in Economics, with minor degrees in Business and Creative Studies, from Texas A&M University, where he is currently completing a doctorate in Economics. For more information on Trans4Cast, please contact Roxanne Bullard at 1-800-203-2540 ext. 6230.