As FreightWaves analyst Kevin Hill notes in a recent blog, profitability is key for freight brokerages and logistics businesses. Unlike top-line revenue, gross margins are what matter most because they reflect true profit — the difference between the revenue you earn from your shippers and your expenses.
“Automating as many processes as possible boosts productivity and increases profitability across the freight brokerage business,” writes Hill. “By automating booking loads and negotiating freight rates, the best freight brokers can focus on generating new business that adds even more density to its network. That effect, in turn, leads to increased productivity and profitability.”
Read on to discover how you can grow gross margins with Trucker Tools’ capacity tools.
1. Faster Capacity Sourcing
Simply put, Smart Capacity’s digital freight matching technology connects loads with available truck capacity. Smart Capacity’s digital freight matching is built on the real-time exchange of information between brokers and 3PLs using Smart Capacity and the nearly 2 million drivers and 250,000 carriers using Trucker Tools’ driver/carrier technology. With Smart Capacity, you can quickly search for and locate available capacity by lanes, dates, times and trailer types without calling or emailing carriers or using load boards. When you use Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity, you can source capacity much faster and do so all within Trucker Tools’ private, secure and confidential network.
2. Digital Rate Negotiations
In addition to searching for capacity using Smart Capacity, you also can post your loads to the platform. You may decide to only make your loads available to a customized list of preferred carrier or post them in Smart Capacity’s general marketplace. When you post your uncovered loads to Smart Capacity, owner operators can submit digital rate quotes on your loads with a few taps on their smart phones through our free driver app. Carriers can submit digital rate quotes through Trucker Tools’ free carrier platform. Digitizing your rate negotiation process with Smart Capacity means fewer phone calls and emails to carriers and more time to concentrate on moving more load volume.
3. Automate Load Booking with TMS Integration
To increase your gross margins on loads even further, consider posting some of your loads as Book It Now® loads. When you post a load as a Book It Now® load to Smart Capacity, you give owner operators and carriers the option to book the load digitally at your preferred rate. Book It Now® is a time-saver for you and for owner operators and carriers. Instead of making multiple phone calls to finalize the details and rate, you can let Smart Capacity and Book It Now® handle it. When an owner op or carrier books one of your Book It Now® loads, the appointment is automatically scheduled in your TMS. The carrier also receives an automated email confirming the details of the booking. Book It Now® is a time-saving, efficiency-boosting technology that can help you scale up your business without upping your overhead.
4. Increase Utilization of Onboarded Carriers
Even though onboarding a new owner operator or carrier may only take 10 to 15 minutes, those 10 to 15 minute increments add up. For example, let’s say you’re only onboarding 50 new carriers each month. That adds up to 12.5 hours each month dedicated solely to onboarding. One of the top benefits of using Smart Capacity to source truck capacity is that you can search for available capacity from carriers who’ve already been onboarded with your company. Doing so not only saves you time, but it also reduces the costs associated with covering that load. Increasing carrier utilization also allows you to build relationships with specific carriers through repeat business.
5. Email Parsing
Reducing time spend on email is another way that you can increase your gross margins on loads. If you’re like many freight broker and 3PL operations, you receive emails from carriers about what they have for available truck capacity on a daily or weekly basis. With Smart Capacity, you can digitize this data using email parsing technology. You don’t have to read each email and enter the information from it manually into a spreadsheet or anywhere else. Instead, set up a rule in your email program to auto-forward emails about capacity to Trucker Tools. Smart Capacity uses machine learning technology to read each email and automatically upload the capacity information. That means that when you search for a truck in Smart Capacity, you’ll be able to see the capacity from those emails in the platform.