It’s undeniable that digital technology has forever changed the transportation industry. However, not all digital technologies deliver the same results. If you’re a freight broker or 3PL who wants to take your business to the next level, you have to make thoughtful technology choices to maximize ROI on your technology investments. That starts with implementing a true digital platform, not just a handful of disparate digital tools that may or may not work together. 

A true digital platform increases the efficiency and effectiveness of your team, creates alignment between internal teams and generates actionable insights that help you make better business decisions. True digital platforms also reduce costs and provide new opportunities to grow your business without increasing your employee headcount. 

Read on to learn what to look for in a true digital platform and how you can separate true digital platforms from the wannabees and the pretenders.

1. Real-Time, Accurate Data

Real-time data is at the heart of any true digital platform and it’s the first thing that you should look for in a true digital platform. Real-time data is the engine that drives greater efficiency, faster decision making, business intelligence, scalability and cost reduction. True digital platforms usually use mobile app technology to facilitate the exchange of real-time truck availability, load availability, load tracking data and other types of information between brokers/3PLs, drivers, carriers and shippers.

Stand alone, manual tools such as load boards aren’t real-time and can’t offer the same ROI that a truly digital platform can. The ugly truth is that the load and truck data on some of the biggest and most popular load boards is usually stale and outdated. With load boards, you’re often looking at truck capacity that’s already been taken by another broker or 3PL, which is a waste of your time. The same holds true for carriers and drivers looking for loads on load boards. By the time they see your load on a load board, you may already have booked that load with someone else. 

2. Comprehensive, All-in-One Platform That Integrates with Your TMS

The second question you should ask yourself when considering any new technology is this: is it an all-in-one, truly digital platform that can provide efficiency, scalability, adaptability and actionable insights? True digital platforms like Trucker Tools’ put real-time visibility, truck availability, load, carrier performance, lane and other types of data on one, single platform. When all of this information is in one place on Trucker Tools’ comprehensive, all-in-one platform, you can reduce check calls, cover loads faster, quickly locate in and out of network capacity, and automate some of your communications with carriers, drivers and shippers. An all-in-one, comprehensive digital platform also gives you a big-picture view of your operations, which makes it easier to identify high-performing carriers, inefficiencies and opportunities for growth. Trucker Tools’ comprehensive digital platform can be integrated with your TMS, which offers an additional layer of efficiency and business intelligence.

Stand-alone, one-off technologies like load boards, single function load tracking apps and email parsing tools can’t provide the big-picture view of your operations that you need to be able to increase operational efficiency in your business. These one-trick-pony tools are siloed technologies that can’t match the high ROI that real-time data and a comprehensive digital platform can offer. Trucker Tools’ comprehensive digital platform includes an email parsing tool, but that’s just one of the platform’s many capabilities. A true, comprehensive digital platform such as a Trucker Tools’ also includes real-time load tracking, a digital freight matching marketplace, a carrier-friendly mobile app, and the ability to integrate with other technologies, including shipper visibility platforms, ELDs and TMSs.

3. Artificial Intelligence, Machine-Learning 

A true digital platform uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning to continually improve results. AI and machine learning are key if you want to be able to find and secure truck capacity faster and stay ahead of your competitors. Unlike stand-alone, one-off digital tools, a true digital platform employs AI and machine learning to put the right truck in front of the right load. A true digital platform also offers you predictive insights based on current data. 

Trucker Tools’ digital platform uses AI and machine learning to provide you with predictive load matching, showing you not just where trucks are available now, but perhaps more importantly, where trucks will be available in the future. If you use manual tasks in your operations or you’re using several different stand-alone digital tools, you just don’t have access to the benefits that AI and machine learning offer. Load boards can’t tell you whether trucks are likely to be available in a specific lane next week or let carriers book loads in real-time via a mobile app — but Trucker Tools’ real-time, AI and machine learning-driven comprehensive digital platform can.

To learn more about scaling up your business without increasing your headcount, read How To Use Technology To Scale Your Freight Broker Business. Schedule a free demo of Trucker Tools’ real-time visibility platform, digital freight matching and Book It Now®.