It’s official: the capacity crunch is here. After a dismal spring and volatile summer (thanks, pandemic), volumes are rebounding, which means capacity is tightening. Trucker Tools’ recently co-hosted a webinar with FreightWaves to discuss the best practices and strategies for brokers and 3PLs to use in a tightening market where trucks are harder to find. Special guest Tom Curee brought his perspective as Senior Vice President of Strategy & Innovation for Kingsgate Logistics to the discussion, emphasizing the key strategic role that technology must play in building a loyal, reliable network of owner operators and trucking companies to see you through volatile times.

Stay Connected with Carriers with Single, Convenient Communication Platform

Curee noted at the top of the webinar that brokers and 3PLs walk a proverbial tightrope between shippers and carriers, attempting to meet both’s needs. The truth is that if shippers aren’t getting the capacity they require from your 3PL/brokerage, they’re going to look elsewhere. At the same time, your carrier base suffers and may look elsewhere if you’re not able to get them the freight or lanes that they’re used to, particularly when volume is high and truck capacity is scarcer.

Kingsgate Logistics uses the Trucker Tools driver app with its carriers and Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity digital freight matching platform and real-time visibility platform in its operations to stay in touch and engage with owner operators and small/mid-sized carriers. According to Curee, Trucker Tools can function as a common and convenient platform that 3PLs/brokers and carriers/owner operators can use to communicate with one another in an efficient way.

The Power of Digital Freight Matching

One lesson that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the logistics industry is that relationships and efficiency matter — a lot. Innovative technologies such as Trucker Tools’ free driver app and Smart Capacity digital freight matching platform hit both targets, streamlining communications regarding loads between you and your key carriers. With digital freight matching and load booking tools like Trucker Tools’ Book It Now, carriers can find and book your loads at times that are most convenient for them. They don’t have to wait for you to be back at your desk to answer their call or return their email message. This encourages the carrier to stick with you for the long-run.

“You’ve got to understand, when working with owner operators in particular, their time to really talk and focus isn’t when they’re behind the wheel, driving down the road,” Curee said. “The time when they’re ready to have that conversation with you about when they’re available for a load may be in the middle of the night or incredibly early in the morning. There’s a good chunk of the owner operator population that wants a convenient way to say,‘Hey, I know you’re not in now, but here’s what my availability looks like for the next few weeks.’This technology is opening up a really nice way to have this collaborative conversation when it’s convenient for both parties.”

You’ve got to understand, when working with owner operators in particular, their time to really talk and focus isn’t when they’re behind the wheel, driving down the road,” Curee said. “The time when they’re ready to have that conversation with you about when they’re available for a load may be in the middle of the night or incredibly early in the morning. There’s a good chunk of the owner operator population that wants a convenient way to say,‘Hey, I know you’re not in now, but here’s what my availability looks like for the next few weeks.’This technology is opening up a really nice way to have this collaborative conversation when it’s convenient for both parties.

If you’re a broker/3PL who is still turning to loads boards for capacity, it may be time to consider using technology such as Trucker Tools’ driver app and digital freight matching instead. Doing so, says Curee, can help you stay in close contact with top performing carriers even when you’re not at your desk.

“We have really leaned into the use of technology so that we can get exposure to our top carriers a lot sooner,” says Curee.

We have really leaned into the use of technology so that we can get exposure to our top carriers a lot sooner.

Become a Broker of Choice with Carrier-Centric Technology

When capacity tightens, carriers have the opportunity to be choosy about which brokers and 3PLs they work with. Right now, trucking companies and owner operators are deciding who will be their shippers, brokers and 3PLs of choice. If you’re not putting helpful, convenient technology in front of your high performing carriers, you risk losing them to your competition. When you and a competitor offer a similar rate, the carrier is more likely to choose you if you offer a stronger technology that makes their lives easier.

“Technology for us has just been huge to make sure that our dedicated carrier base gets access to what they need right away,” Curee says. “These owner operators don’t have a dispatch back at the office hunting and looking for freight for them. So you have a unique opportunity as a 3PL to become that person. “

Technology for us has just been huge to make sure that our dedicated carrier base gets access to what they need right away,” Curee says. “These owner operators don’t have a dispatch back at the office hunting and looking for freight for them. So you have a unique opportunity as a 3PL to become that person.

Curee pointed out that if you’re trying to be that person by calling truckers at all hours of the day or during their break or while they’re trying to get some rest, you’re not being considerate of what’s happening in their world. Instead, offer your carriers a free technology like Trucker Tools’ free driver app that reduces the number of phone calls they receive, while providing real-time info on fuel prices, optimal routes, parking, truck stops, rest areas, weigh scales, Wal-Mart locations and more.

“I’m telling you, carriers want you to be a partner in their businesses just like how you look for partners,” advises Curee. “The more that you can lean into that, the more you can decide it’s going to be part of your DNA as an organization, the easier this capacity crunch is going to become for your company.”

Learn more about how Trucker Tools’ carrier-focused technology can help you with Securing Reliable Capacity as the Market Tightens. For a free demo of Trucker Tools’ digital freight matching and driver app, contact our sales team.