September 17, 2020 | TruckerTools

How COVID-19 Has Changed How Brokers Do Business

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In early 2020 when COVID-19 was first declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization, every industry had to adapt to a new way of doing business, including the logistics industry. In the months since then, it’s become clear that the logistics industry has fundamentally been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The volatility, fluctuating consumer demand and unpredictability that has typified 2020 combined with the implementation of new public safety measures have challenged and ultimately changed how brokers and 3PLs do business.

Greater Focus on Eliminating Manual Work

In early 2020 as the industry and world at large struggled to adapt to life during a pandemic, there was less freight moving through the supply chain. With lower volumes, many freight brokers and logistics companies had to reexamine their operations and internal processes to maximize their profit margins during these lean times. Many also had to move their teams out of office spaces to work from home in order to keep employees safe, which added another complicating factor.

Trucker Tools surveyed freight brokers and 3PLs in early days of the pandemic. Of those who responded to our survey, 60 percent named maintaining efficiency and profit margins as their top concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. The strategy of increasing operational efficiency and reducing manual processes allowed many brokers to survive the initial brunt of the pandemic. Greater operational efficiency allows you to maximize profit margins without adding additional overhead. Brokers and 3PLs who already had streamlined their operations to maximize efficiency fared better than those who still ran their logistics businesses with manual tasks. That trend has continued throughout 2020.

The Rise of Technology and Digitization 

Many business experts believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for and implementation of technology significantly. A recent report from Shipper and Freight Resource found that 67 percent of logistics professionals/executives planned to invest in technology because of the pandemic. McKinsey estimated in a report in May that the pandemic accelerated consumer and business digital adoption by a whopping five years during an eight-week period alone. 

In logistics, the digitization of load tracking, truck capacity searches and load booking has sped up appreciably. Digitizing and automating these processes provides numerous benefits. Digitization increases operational efficiency and simplifies the management of a distributed, remote workforce. Digitization also makes it easier for you to share information with shippers quickly, streamline communications with carriers, increase carrier utilization, reduce cost per load and scale up volume without increasing overhead. Using technology and digital processes rather than paper-based processes in your brokerage or 3PL operations reduces your carbon footprint, as well, which is an added bonus.

“The focus should be to invest in technology to do what you don’t need a person to do,” advised Avery Vise of FTR Transportation Intelligence in a recent webinar entitled Persevering in a Pandemic: What Brokers and Carriers Should Plan for as We Enter the Fall Months. “Reduce manual tasks and focus on your best people.”

Trucker Tools’ Real-Time Load Tracking, Digital Freight Matching and Automated Load Booking

Trucker Tools’ real-time solutions have helped many brokers and 3PLs weather the storm of the pandemic. Our real-time visibility platform reduces check-calls and provides you with automatic updates on the locations of loads every five minutes. Thanks to software integrations, you can share this real-time data with your shippers automatically and view real-time visibility data directly in your transportation management system. Trucker Tools’ real-time visibility platform makes you less reliant on manual tasks, increases operational efficiency and helps you maximize your existing resources.

Finding and securing truck capacity manually can be a time and resource-intensive process that inflates your cost per load. Trucker Tools’ digital freight matching provides an alternative that simplifies how you find truck capacity, maximizes your margins and provides a better experience for carriers. Our digital freight matching platform automatically matches your open loads with trucks from within your network of preferred carriers. Digital freight matching eliminates the exchange of phone calls and emails between you and carriers, while giving carriers the option to view your available loads in Trucker Tools’ free driver app any time of day or night. When you post your loads as Book It Now® loads in Trucker Tools’ digital freight matching platform, you digitize and automate load bookings, as well. 

As Mark Southey, Managing Partner of Traffix, advised in a recent webinar with Trucker Tools, now is not the time to avoid using technology in your brokerage/3PL business. Now is the time to embrace technology.

“If you don’t adopt the technologies available in the market in a given year, all you’re doing is moving yourself further to the back of the line,” said Southey. 

Technology like Trucker Tools’ real-time visibility platform, digital freight matching platform and Book It Now® can help you thrive in these uncertain times and position you for success in the future, whatever that may bring.

To learn more about how the pandemic and technology are shaping the future of freight brokerage, read Leverage the Power of Agile Technology to Weather COVID-19 and Gain a Competitive Edge for the Future.

Schedule a demo of Trucker Tools’ real-time visibility platform, digital freight matching and Book It Now®.

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