In this blog series, Trucker Tools Smart Solutions, we provide freight brokers and logistics businesses like yours with advice on how to overcome some of the biggest roadblocks you face in your day-to-day operations. One challenge that you currently may be facing is how to make your business more self-sustaining. When a business is self-sustaining, its revenue can cover its own expenses without outside investment and funding. The key to building a self-sustaining freight brokerage or 3PL business is to replace repetitive manual tasks with automation and to leverage technology to streamline communications with carriers. The time and resources saved provide you with the opportunity to increase load volume without increasing your headcount or increasing overhead.
Read on to learn more about the three fundamental technologies that can help you create a self-sustaining freight broker business.
1. Digital Freight Matching
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year and a half, you’ve no doubt heard the buzz about digital freight matching. In this case, the buzz is well-deserved. Digital freight matching technology connects freight brokers and 3PLs looking for capacity with owner operators and carriers who are in search of loads. With digital freight matching technology, you can search for capacity in a matter of seconds in the digital freight matching platform or in your transportation management system.
What makes digital freight matching different from load boards is that the load information that carriers see is pulled directly from your TMS and the capacity information you see as a broker is based on the real-world movement of trucks. Digital freight matching can greatly reduce the number of phone calls you need to make in order to find and secure capacity. Instead of calling multiple carriers to see if they have capacity when and where you need it, do a quick search in the digital freight matching platform to find out who is likely to have capacity in the lane on the date you need it. When you do call a carrier, it’s to negotiate the rate, which is a much shorter conversation.
2. Automated Load Booking
The second fundamental technology that can help you create a self-sustaining freight brokerage business is automated load booking. Some digital freight matching platforms may include tools that allow carriers and owner operators to book your loads digitally through a mobile app or web-based interface. Automated load booking tools such as Trucker Tools’ Book-It-Now® integrate with your TMS so that when an owner operator or carrier books a load through the Trucker Tools app or carrier platform, the appointment is automatically scheduled in your TMS. With Book-It-Now®, owner operators and carriers can book your load at your posted rate or submit an alternate rate quote through Trucker Tools’ app or carrier platform.
Automated load booking technology reduces the time and resources that you need to secure capacity. Instead of calling a long list of carriers to find out who has capacity and then going back and forth over the rate, you simply can post your loads and let your preferred carriers and owner operators book your loads at times that are most convenient for them. Owner operators and carriers prefer to work with brokers and 3PLs that are easy to do business with, which is exactly what Book-It-Now® does. Using tools like Book-It-Now® can make you a preferred broker with carriers. With the time and resources saved through greater efficiency, you also gain the opportunity to move more volume without increasing overhead.
3. Real-Time Visibility
The third and final technology that is needed in order to create a self-sustaining freight brokerage business is real-time visibility technology. A real-time load tracking platform can reduce or eliminate the five to 10 manual check calls that you currently are making to track a single load. Like digital freight matching and automated load booking technology, real-time load tracking technology reduces manual processes and digitizes communications between your company and the driver or carrier dispatcher. Most real-time visibility solutions use a smart phone and the GPS tech in the driver’s smart phone to provide you with real-time location updates.
The beauty of real-time load tracking platforms like Trucker Tools’ is that they can have an immediate impact on your productivity. Reducing or eliminating check calls frees up your team members to work on revenue-generating activities such as carrier or shipper development. If you want to grow your freight broker or 3PL business, you can do so without hiring on additional staff members to manual track loads with check calls because you already have a digital load tracking process in place.
Read Five Ways Technology Has Changed the RFP Process for Freight Brokers and 3PLs to find out how real-time technology can make you a more attractive partner to prospective shippers. Schedule a free demo of Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity digital freight matching, real-time visibility platform and Book-It-Now®.