Transportation is a complicated business with a lot of moving parts. As a logistics company or freight broker operating in today’s market, you need tools in place that allow you to access accurate information on demand, make informed decisions quickly and adapt to new market conditions as needed. The right digital tools help you foster long-standing, productive relationships with top-performing carriers and attract new shippers. With this in mind, we’ve created this list of five must-have, essential tools that you should be using in your 3PL or freight brokerage right now.

1. Transportation Management System

A transportation management system (TMS) is a must-have if you’re a freight broker or 3PL, no matter how big or small your operations are. A well-designed TMS allows your team members to onboard carriers, generate quotes for shippers and issue invoices all with a single platform. Many TMSs can be integrated with other digital tools to further increase efficiency and streamline your workflows. If you’re in the market for a TMS, check out this list of the The Best Transportation Management Systems for Your Brokerage.

2. Digital Freight Matching

Everyone in the industry is talking about digital freight matching, and for good reason. Digital freight matching simplifies your process for covering loads and makes it easier for drivers and carriers to find freight for their trucks. Trucker Tools’ digital freight matching platform automatically matches your open loads with the best available truck capacity from within your network of preferred carriers. This can be a real game-changer for your business. Digital freight matching helps you up your volume and operate more efficiently, which translates into higher profit margins. 

3. Real-Time Visibility Platform

As freight coach Chris Jolly noted in a recent interview with Trucker Tools, “being on time is the expectation — it’s not a selling point.” Today’s shippers expect real-time, digital visibility and if you can’t provide it, they’re going to go elsewhere. Trucker Tools’ real-time, GPS-based load tracking platform provides you with location updates every five minutes. Your employees don’t have to pick up the phone and call the driver or carrier dispatcher to find out if a load is going to be on time or not. They can simply look at their computer monitors to find out where loads are and update your shippers in real-time. 

4. Load Booking Automation

Picture this: you find the right truck for a load, but then you spend an hour playing phone tag with a dispatcher to negotiate the rate and finalize the booking. The truth is that there’s a better way to negotiate rates and finalize load bookings with carriers. Book It Now®, Trucker Tools’ load booking automation tool, flips the script on booking loads/trucks. With Book It Now®, truckers and dispatchers can negotiate rates and finalize bookings with you via Trucker Tools’ free driver app or through our free carrier platform. When a carrier books one of your loads with Book It Now®, the transaction is automatically recorded in your TMS. No follow-up phone calls or emails required.

5. Unified Carrier Platform

You can encourage “stickiness” with carriers and keep them in your network by choosing a unified technology platform that makes life easier for carriers instead of using a hodgepodge of technologies with them. Trucker Tools’ free driver app is that unified software platform that carriers can use again and again to find, book and track loads with multiple brokers. The driver app also provides truckers with real-time information on parking, fuel prices, CDL legal protection, load insurance, weigh scales, rest areas, truck stops, Wal-Mart locations, routing and more. The Trucker Tools driver app is a true all-in-one driver app that you can use to create a positive technology experience for carriers. 

For more on how to leverage technology to your advantage when capacity is scarce, read Choose a Single, Unified Carrier Platform Over Faster Horses. Schedule a demo of Trucker Tools’ real-time visibility platform, digital freight matching and Book It Now®.