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Podcast | Simplifying Logistics Payments

Haley Evans from TriumphPay
Podcast
Haley Evans Podcast Mobile Interactions Episode 6

In this episode, Haley Evans from TriumphPay speaks about the the UX design methods her company uses to simplify payments in the Logistics industry.

Haley, welcome to the show. Why don't you give the listeners a little more background about yourself? I covered some in the intro, but I'm sure they would love to hear more.

Haley:
Yeah, thanks for having me, Jean. I'm really excited to be here. I'm Haley Evans, I'm a product manager at TriumphPay currently and I live in Dallas, Texas.

Jean:
From what I heard, I was getting the feeling that you and your team at TriumphPay is actually starting to tackle simplifying something that seemingly very complex. And that's when I was like, "Oh, I'm so thrilled to have her." Because whenever a team of people get together, try to simplify some sort of multilayer systems and processes that involve many different players in the product ecosystem, that's where I feel good stories are about to come. So why don't we start by you explaining a little bit about what TriumphPay is doing and specifically, what kind of problem it's trying to solve.

Haley:
Yeah, absolutely. So TriumphPay is an ePayments platform for the logistics business. So brokers are our clients and we process their payments to carriers. The companies who are driving the trucks to get your products to you. So we process the payments for them. What we learned is that one of the most complex things is getting the paperwork from the carrier to the broker so the carrier could be paid. The logistics business is one of the last businesses whose, who is currently going through a lot of technology transformation. So there's a lot of things that are still done manually. So our new products that will be coming out this summer is a mobile application that carriers can take pictures of their documentation and submit it to the brokers. So they're not mailing forms, they're not faxing them or even hand delivering them, which still happens today in 2019.

Jean:
That's awesome. I'm not surprised at all because I remember just past November I was at a tech summit and conference and there's a group of people, developers who came from Brooklyn, New York, and talking about how to, you know, create fax apps because there are so many use cases that are still needed. And these are the kind of places where people don't think about in terms of mobile apps, I love hearing those stories. So let's unpack that a little bit. You mentioned trucks and things in that nature, so tell me a little bit more about your users.

Haley:
Yeah, so we have a couple of different users. Our core business right now is a website application, and our users are brokers. And what the brokers do is their clients are like the manufacturers who have an actual product. And the manufacturer says, "I need to get this product to Jean, how am I going to get there?" So they'll hire a broker to do all of that for them, to hire all of the carriers, who is going to get this product from A to B. So the brokers in the middle of that, there are clients and what we do is we process their payments or on behalf of them to the carriers. So when we talk about like the usability of our products for our users, we want it to be simple, straightforward. They have a dashboard that they can see where all of their payments are going. When they're going, they can really understand their financials because their main concern is their cash flow because they have money coming in and coming out.

Haley:
They want to make sure that the carriers get paid on time, but they also need to get paid by the manufacturer. And as manufacturers is their days out, their days to pay up to 60, 90 days, then it makes it hard for the broker to manage their cash flow. So that's where we come in and make that a little bit simpler for them, so that's our core business. And then this new application that I talked about earlier is to supplement that, to make the transaction and the interfacing between the carriers, and the brokers a little bit easier, to make that payment process go a little bit smoother.

Time 4:43


Jean:
Can you elaborate a little bit about the whole user story, about what they will actually be doing using the mobile app?

Haley:
Okay. So the broker will hire the carrier on behalf of the shipper to take something. Once the carrier, the individual driving the truck has made it to that location, they get documentation saying, "Haley did what she said she was going to do. She drove this truck here, everything's in it." Great. So where the App comes in is they can create paperwork in order to submit back to the broker to say, "Hey, I did what I was supposed to do. You can pay me." So the App will have a built in scanner that will take pictures of everything. It will connect all the way back to the loads we have in our system. So it's really simple for the carrier to use. They don't have to have additional paperwork, they don't have to have the load number, all of that. It's already in there for them.

Haley:
Everything pre-populates with where they are, they take pictures of the documentation and send it back to the broker. The broker verifies it and then approves it says, "Yes, you've submitted everything, everything checks out, we can pay you now." So then we have two different options that a carrier can take. They can take a standard pay, which is usually in 21 days they'll get paid or they can take a quick pay. If they want their money now they can take it at a 1% click pay fee and so they can get cash immediately, and it helps that we're a subsidiary of a bank so we have access to that capital.

Jean:
That's fascinating actually. Just think about the details and stuff that, you know, happens in between, somewhere in between like manual and automation and all that. You sound like you have this understanding of the user journey, what they're doing. And I love following that process you're talking about, but while you were looking into this was there anything that really surprised you? Like, "Huh. I never thought our users will be like this. I never thought they would actually use it this way." Anything like that?

Haley:  
Yeah. What surprised me the most was there's the wide variety of carriers that are out there. You have carriers, you have hundreds of trucks and they've been around for 20 years and it's very systematic what they do. And then another carrier that I got to talk to, it was him and his dad. They started their own company because you can, it's easy to get into. And he did the back office while his dad drove, super down to earth. I love talking with him and so that's what really struck me is like, wow, you have these people who've been in the business for years and years and they have a large company and they have completely different needs than this, you know, mom and pop, or dad and son business who they're doing it, they love it and it gives them the freedom for like the lifestyle that they want.

Haley:
You have these people who need the same thing. They need to get paid on time, but they are submitting their documentation or paperwork in different ways. And so how we can help them streamline their back office or even on the front end with our App will help them get paid quicker and help improve those relationships with their brokers. Because ultimately what carriers and brokers want is they want those consistent relationships. They want to carry for the same broker and the broker wants the same carrier. So the easier we can make that for them and improve that relationship by making it really streamlined and really seamless, then the better that will be for them.

Jean:
That's funny. A couple of days ago I actually talked with a GPS tracking company and they're talking about how they are using SMS, two way SMS service to help truckers on the go configure their services on their portal using SMS. Because that is a mobile channel that everyone uses. I never thought of people actually using it for that kind of use case. And have you come across an example of a use case like that where you didn't really intend, but people are finding a new way?

Haley:
I haven't yet. I think because our App is so new. But we have been hearing about people that they'd like to use it in different ways. One of my favorite things to do is talk to users, do user interviews. I feel like you learn a lot by talking with the end user of your product is you get different questions from different users saying, "Will this integrate with this system I'm already using? And the system name, it's all the way from a to z." So we haven't run into that yet, but I feel like we will just based on the questions that I've received on can you integrate with this TMS, can you integrate, or we're already using this. Can you integrate with them?

Haley:
So that's one of the things about this industry is that people have put their processes and their systems together in a different way. So I think it'll be interesting to see once we get to, you know, version two, version three, version four, how people are using it. And I think that will help us continue to make it better and easier to use.

Time 10:02


Jean:
For our listeners, I think it might be really interesting looking at your team dynamics as well. So when you have this kind of a user insight that you start hearing and learning about how do you actually go through the process of bringing to the team and prioritizing what integrations to include, what features to include, how do you prioritize all this?

Haley:
Yeah, that's a great question. There's a lot there. Do we need to do user interviews? People get really excited because innovation hasn't been part of the logistics industry. Like those two words just really haven't been together until the last couple of years. So we get a lot of we want more AI, we want more machine learning and which we're doing, you know, wanting to do a lot of that. We're using some machine learning, but we're not using all of it yet. So it's really exciting to take all of these really great ideas and these really great insights from our carriers back to the development team and say, "Okay, what can we actually do? What do you guys think?" I think it's really important to get the development team's buy in because you know, that's a cost to you. How much is this going to cost to build? Will they cost, you know, really benefit?

Haley:
Will it really do what these carriers are wanting to do or what these brokers are wanting it to do? And you want to know what's possible from your development team. You also want them to feel like they are key players in the decision making process. Not that you're just handing down information, but they really are a part of helping developing the App as well, helping to develop the solution as well. And so I think it's really important to take these great ideas that you get from carriers and then bring your development team in at the very beginning so that you don't over promise something that you can't deliver, but you can see what can actually be built in a reasonable timeframe and will deliver what the client is wanting.

Jean: 
So how is that discussion going internally? Is it, tell us a little bit if you could, the dynamics of well, who, how the battle is fought. Because you know, a lot of tech companies, there are those, you know, cool stuff, developers want to develop cool stuff. From what I understand, you're starting to develop things yourself as well and start coding and there is this whole intrinsic desire to add something core to the product that goes out. So at the end of the day, is it more of a data fight? Is it more of a ROI fight? And is there a magic into how to make the teamwork work?

Haley:
Yeah. That's so interesting. It's currently an ROI fight right now on. Oh, I'm just getting this MVP out on time and on budget. We have an amazing team of in house developers and were also working with an outside firm and they're super creative and they come to us with all these ideas, and we have to kind of push back on them and say, "Okay, we love your 100th idea but we need to just do the 50th one right now. We just need to get to, you know, the first couple," because developers are creative too. I mean, they're super creative, they want to build amazing cool stuff but sometimes they can just take too long and be too costly. So it's really important for me to keep the business in mind and what's our core product on this, what's our core delivery on this and make sure that we have that on time.

Haley:
And so I think it helps in those conversations to say we are going to do a second version, we are going to do a V2, we are going to do the V3, so that lets them know like, "Hey we're going to be around to create all this cool stuff you really want to create, but we can't do that right now. We need to get our core offering out, see how people use it, get that feedback and then iterate."

Jean:
What kind of a release cycle do you usually deal with or plan to do?

Haley:
So I would say that I really like the phrase we plan to have a two week release cycle. We're really diligent on that, but sometimes things come up. Best laid plans like they say, something may always happen. So we're currently on a two week release cycle for our core application and that is things going into production clients using it. Before application, we aren't currently releasing anything, but the developers are on a two week cycle just, so we can make sure that we're on time. I will say however, sometimes things come up, we may have to do a patch release, which will make things adjust in our current sprint. And for me what's been really important is communication. I am constantly talking to my developers on what they're doing and then also with the operations team on what's happening if the clients are coming to them with something.

Haley:
So it's really managing all these different communication channels. And then I have to be really diligent and really careful about when I talk to the developers because they work best when they're able to really dig into the code for chunks of time. So I may get something from the operations team that comes in as an emergency and then I have to use my professional judgment. Is it really an emergency? Do I need to derail what this developers working on this afternoon? Or can it wait until the end of the day so that they can finish what they're doing and then start working on this new item that's come in tomorrow morning.

Jean:
That sounds fun. And I agree. I have this imagination that the communication, you know, play a big role internally and externally with your users as you move forward. So part of what I was excited about, is that you are dealing with the two very complex topics, payment processing, and logistics. And for many people, including myself, payment processing is a heavy business transactions. Do you deal with a different level of security concerns and data protections and all those things? How does that play out?

Haley:
Yes, we are very heavily regulated both with the payment processing and with our development because we are a subsidiary of a bank. We are held to all of the US standards for our bank.

Jean:
That's interesting, I interviewed some of the UX designers and product people, and they always complain about some of the, you know, user authentication that needs to be built in, because for them it's just more friction, you know, it's a step before you start actually consuming the service and using it, clicking through and things like that. So it's because you deal with a payment processing I was curious about how people feel about adding user authentication here and there and things in that nature.

Haley:
Yeah, absolutely. Now you kind of jogging my memory on some of the things that our core application already does to prevent for us. I mean obviously it's very important that the person who's supposed to be receiving that money receives that money. So one of the things that they had built into before I got here was that you have to claim a relationship. So a broker can't just send a carrier money. That carrier has to log into our portal through two factor authentication, prove they are who they say they are and then claim that relationship with the broker. So it's not like Venmo where you can send money to anyone. You have to have a specific relationship that's been authenticated with that person in order to send or receive money to them.

Time 17:31


Jean:
I feel a little better now, because having been part of two factor authentication campaigns and really, I would love to see it working because it is a jungle out there sometimes it seems like. And what kind of methods are you using in terms of two factor authentication?

Haley:
Yeah, so what happens is a broker will invite a carrier to the portal saying, "Hey, I'm using TriumphPay and I would like to pay you." So the carrier goes on through it deep clean that is sent from our system, inviting the carrier to have a relationship with the broker and then that link will take them to a landing page where then they will start the process of creating that profile. So they'll fill in their NCDOT number and we'll match that with our system with what the broker has provided and it must match or else they can't go any further. And then they will be able to get a text sent or a phone number or an email. And the way that, that happens is it has to be through an email or phone number that the broker has provided to us. They can't change the email address or the phone number.

Haley:
So if it's someone going in, somehow they got access to your email and they clicked the link and they're going to claim that relationship. So someone got access to that link somehow, they can't authenticate the relationship without having your phone number because they can't go in and change that phone number to their own phone number, and then authenticate and then change your banking information. Again, once we have the baking information in there, if someone goes in and changes it, it doesn't automatically update. Our operations team has to verify with you that yes you did and you changed your banking information and this is where you'd like us to pay you in the future. So fraud prevention is really a big part of what we do, because we're sending a lot of money out to people. We want to make sure it goes to the right person. It's really important that we have these features in place and we're continuing to develop additional features as they come up or as we identify gaps and what we could be providing and gaps in our security.

Jean:
Where are your users? Is your user base basically in the US only or is it cross border?

Haley:
Right now we only work with brokers in the US. In the future, we are wanting to work internationally and the first step for that is with Canadian brokers. So we started discussing with them about what their systems look like and how TriumphPay might be able to work with them. And that's part of our goal and our plan for later this year and into 2020.

Jean:
And this probably will be my last question. I love what product teams do in terms of trying to come up with a solution to an existing problem. Oftentimes there's that new way of solving problem that requires some new way of looking at things. Try to see what if this, what if that, where do you usually draw your inspirations from? Is there a special place you go to come up with some of these ideas?

Haley:
Yes. I go to my own team. At TriumphPay we have some really experienced people on the team here who've been in the business for a long time and one of our sales guys, he started out in the mail room. So he's very familiar with the paperwork flow, how it was in the 70s and the 80s. And so I really love to go and just talk to them about their past experiences. Like what was it like when you started, where did you start, you know, at what point in the logistics chain did you work, what was it like? And from those just natural conversations, we'll get ideas about what we can do in the future. And so that's probably one of my favorite things is because it's relationship building as I'm a relatively new team member here, you can learn a lot about someone and where the industry has been, and it helps us think about where we want to go.

Jean:
Now Haley, that was a lot of different topics that we cover, I really thank you for that. But before I let you go, let me as you this. What are the top three apps on your mobile phone that you use the most?

Haley:
Yeah. Three that is difficult. One of my favorites is Instagram. I love just looking at pictures of my family and friends and keeping up with them. I'm originally from Kansas City, so it's a fun and easy way to just stay in touch and see what people are doing. I also like the Duo Mobile. It's a Google App for face timing. I love that one. There's one that I have been using the most recently is the new TriumphPay App. Checking on it and making sure everything is working, and we're ready to go, so that has been my favorite one.

Jean:
Love that. Is there any place that you would like people to go to, to follow the work you'll be doing in the future?

Haley:
Yeah. The best place to go to follow up with us this summer when we launch is Linkedin. You can see all of our updates there on what's going on with TriumphPay as a whole, as well as the App. And then you can also see more information about us on FreightWaves, they're our partner that shares content about the logistics industry.

Jean:
With that, I want to thank you, Haley, for coming on the show.

Haley:
Thank you so much for having me, Jean, I really enjoyed it.

Profile picture for user Jean By Jean Shin
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