In the simplest terms, digital freight matching (sometimes referred to as digital load matching or DFM) leverages real-time data to automatically match loads with carriers and owner operators looking for freight. What differentiates digital freight matching from load boards is that it’s a real-time technology that automates what are often the most painful parts of capacity management and procurement.
“Digital freight matching is designed so that a carrier can just tap and go, meaning the carrier taps to accept a load at a posted rate and then it hits the road,” FreightWaves’ Mary O’Connell said. “It serves as one of those things that can help alleviate some of the issues brokers have with getting the right freight in front of the right people. This process can solve a lot of problems both carriers and brokers face during the negotiation process. It speeds up the time it takes to get a load covered and reduces the amount of ‘post and pray’ and time-consuming phone calls.”
If you’re not familiar with digital freight matching technology, you may we wondering where to start. In this blog, you’ll learn what exactly digital freight matching does, how it works and why you should consider using in your daily work as a freight broker.
We think Bart De Muynck, Gartner’s Research Vice President of Transportation Technology, perhaps offers the best recent definition of digital freight matching.
“A digital freight model is an open, fully connected freight marketplace that uses machine learning, automation and other software services to efficiently connect shippers and carriers,” said De Muynck during a roundtable with Logistics Management last November. “Digitized freight models provide an alternative to traditional brokers, load boards and the spot market, which remain time-consuming and collect information from carriers and shippers, but often don’t support true collaboration.”
Digital freight matching platforms like Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity connect freight brokers like you digitally with carrier and owner operator capacity in real-time. The result is a faster, more efficient process for all involved. As a Smart Capacity user, you can search for capacity, negotiate rates and accept offers through the platform with a few mouse clicks instead of using traditional load boards, manual phone calls and email messages to source and manage capacity.
Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity DFM platform automatically matches the uncovered loads from your TMS with both in-network and out-of-network capacity based on the type of load, lane, pickup and delivery dates, weight and other factors. The capacity information you see in Smart Capacity on available trucks for a given load is based on real-time, real-world data from Trucker Tools’ platform, including transaction data and GPS-based truck location data from the nearly 2 million drivers and 250,000 carriers using Trucker Tools’ tech. This real-time exchange of data between brokers using Smart Capacity and owner ops and carriers using our driver and carrier technology reduces manual phone calls, load board postings and bulk email messages. The result is that freight brokers like you can locate and secure the right truck for a load faster, while carriers field fewer phone calls and email messages as a result.
DFM technology also gives owner operators and carriers the ability to search for and book your loads at times that are most convenient for them. They don’t have to wait for you to answer the phone or to contact you during normal business hours. Platforms like Trucker Tools’ allow carriers and owner operators to view and book your loads through a free app or web-based portal at any time.
DFM platforms such as Smart Capacity give you the ability to cover an individual load faster than you can with traditional capacity sourcing, but perhaps more importantly Smart Capacity includes tools to help you cultivate long-lasting business relationships with specific carriers. When you’re communicating with a carrier about a load, you can instantly see in Smart Capacity what backhauls are available for the carrier and offer the backhaul in the same communication.
As a Smart Capacity user, you also can use the Smart Routes tool to automatically offer loads in specific lanes to certain carriers once they become available. Smart Capacity provides you with historical data on which lanes and types of loads carriers have preferred in the past, as well, which helps you find freight to keep carriers running in your network. Ultimately, digital freight matching technology like Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity makes you easy to do business with, increasing the chances that the carrier running your load today will want to work with you again and again.