The strength of your carrier relationships can dictate how successful your freight brokerage or logistics business can be. Good working relationships with carriers can help you better service your shippers, reduce operating costs and improve the overall health of supply chains. Paying carriers correctly and on time, using drivers’ time efficiently and providing consistent loads to carriers can go a long way in building and strengthening your carrier relationships.

In this blog, we’ll examine three technologies that are crucial to any effective carrier relationship management strategy. These technologies help you identify and build relationships with top performers, improve operational efficiency, and automate some of the most repetitive tasks in freight brokerage and logistics.

1. Digital Freight Matching

One of the most powerful technologies you have available to you as a freight broker or logistics company is digital freight matching. Digital freight matching technology creates a real-time marketplace for owner operators and carriers looking for loads and for freight brokers and 3PLs searching for capacity. The digital freight matching included in Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity is built on real-time load and truck data, which is in stark contrast to load boards. Load boards rely on the manual entry of load and capacity information. When a load or truck is taken, it’s not immediately removed from a load board, which means you’re often looking at stale capacity information. The real-time component of digital freight matching technology streamlines communications between your team and carriers/drivers while reducing the number of phone calls, email messages and load board inquiries your carrier partners must answer.

Digital freight matching also allows you to search for capacity from among your own customized list of top-performing carriers or already-onboarded carriers first before searching the general market. This capability reduces the time and resources required to cover loads, which in turn reduces your cost per load. It also notably facilitates building long-term relationships with specific carriers. With digital freight matching, you also can book loads, reloads and multiple loads with an owner operator or carrier in a single conversation. The efficiency gained from digital freight matching benefits your operations, but perhaps more importantly provides efficiency gains to the owner operators and carriers you want to keep in your network.

2. Digital Load Booking

As Ryder Freight Brokerage’s VP and General Manager Dave Belter noted in a recent webinar with FreightWaves, you have to be willing to do business in a manner that is easiest for carriers (and shippers). Digital load booking is a technology that makes you truly easy to do business with in the eyes of carriers and drivers. With digital load booking tech like Trucker Tools’ Book-It-Now®, owner operators and carrier dispatchers can book loads digitally through a mobile app or website. If you post your loads to Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity as Book-It-Now® loads, load information including your preferred rate is pulled directly from your TMS. When an owner operator or carrier dispatcher books the Book-It-Now® load, the appointment automatically is scheduled in your TMS and the driver/dispatcher receives an automated email confirming the booking.

You can use Book-It-Now® as an incentive to keep top performing drivers and carriers in your network. The benefit of digital load booking for owner operators and carriers is time saved. If you offer digital load booking, the drivers and dispatchers that you offer it to don’t have to field phone calls and emails from your office. They also don’t need to use load boards to interact with your team. Instead, they can search for and book loads and reloads in specific lanes and for specific types of equipment in a matter of minutes or even seconds. With Book-It-Now®, owner operators and dispatchers also can search for and book loads outside of your office hours at times that are most convenient for them.

3. Broker Advantage

The third and final technology that should be part of your carrier relationship management strategy is Broker Advantage. Broker Advantage is a white-label technology that allows you to create a customized, branded carrier portal within the Trucker Tools app. Just like digital freight matching and digital load booking technology, Broker Advantage makes it easier for owner operators and carriers to do business with you. You can post information on premium loads, hiring and performance incentives, tire and equipment discounts, a document upload link for PODs, reminders and other information of your choosing to your Broker Advantage portal.

Broker Advantage provides a “one-stop-shop” experience for drivers and carriers within Trucker Tools’ free driver app. They don’t have to open a separate email program to search for an email from your team with a link to a tire discount or go to your website to upload a BOL or POD. Instead, they can get the information they need from your team right in the Trucker Tools app, which they also use to track loads and to find the cheapest fuel, rest areas, parking, truck stops and more. Broker Advantage also can introduce your company to the drivers and carriers outside your network. To date, Trucker Tools’ mobile app has been downloaded more than 1.6 million times and is actively used by 175,000+ trucking companies.

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