Technology is Table Stakes in the Modern Freight Industry
The freight brokerage industry is incredibly competitive, particularly after new brokers flooded the prosperous truckload market late in the Covid-19 pandemic. As more and more brokers are relying on technology to give them an advantage, that technology has become table stakes. To compete and offer shippers comparable service to their competitors, brokerages are being pushed into adopting new technologies or suffering the consequences.
Capacity management is rapidly becoming one of those technologies that are becoming table stakes. Parade’s capacity management helps brokers find the right carrier for the right load at the right price, but it was a long road to get from the original freight tech to where we are today.
How Did the Brokerage Industry Move from Pen and Paper to the Tech That Makes Capacity Management Tick?
The freight tech making waves in the brokerage industry today is relatively new. The industry is founded on pen and paper and telephone calls.
In the 1950s, commercial computers became available followed by the first TMS system in the 1960s, but that was just the beginning for freight tech. By the 1970s, many large companies were utilizing TMS systems and by the 1990s, the TMS ruled the entire freight cycle. When the first API connection was introduced in 2000, it changed the game. As internet connectivity became more widespread and faster, web-based software became common. Then, as smartphones rose in popularity, giving the every-trucker internet access anytime and anyplace, the evolution continued. ELD mandates instituted in 2012, every truck in America was suddenly traceable by GPS. This opened the door to even more new types of technology. Cloud-based TMS systems began to rise in popularity and, seeing opportunities for improvement, complementary systems began to become more and more common.
Today, a finely tuned, interconnected tech stack is an important part of success in the freight industry.
Common Pain Points Brokers Face
Finding the Right Capacity
In 2020, there were over 900,000 for-hire carriers registered with the FMCSA. That’s a lot of carriers to sort through! Brokers are challenged with not only finding capacity to get their loads covered but also finding the right capacity to ensure they get a fair price and solid service.
Building Strong Carrier Relationships
Carrier relationships are the backbone of every brokerage but building and maintaining strong carrier relationships is easier said than done. Among all the, “Do you have a truck?” calls, it’s easy for these relationships to become purely transactional, keeping brokers and carriers alike from taking full advantage of the power of mutually beneficial relationships.
Reusing Existing Carriers
Reusing carriers saves time, money, and headaches. It’s a huge priority for many brokerages, but it’s not always easy to do. Tracking carriers’ needs and preferences so that you can find just the right carrier for just the right load is complicated without an effective system in place to facilitate it.
Sales reps are the driving force behind the success of many brokerages thanks to their knowledge of lanes and carriers and the relationships they build along the way, but a lot of their day is absorbed in managing repetitive manual tasks. Things like data entry, calling and emailing carriers to ask about availability for a specific load, searching carrier databases, and posting to load boards can take up a lot of time and are not revenue-generating on their own.
Pricing freight effectively is a delicate balance in order for brokerages to be profitable. Pricing too low leads to low margins and difficulty finding a carrier that will take a load while pricing too high loses business from shippers. It can take years, even decades, of experience for a rep to learn everything they need to know to price effectively, and even then, it’s often a shot in the dark when freight pricing isn’t backed up by both pricing and capacity data.
How Can Brokers Overcome These Challenges?
The right technology offers brokers the answer to all these problems, and Parade capacity management addresses all the above-named roadblocks. We’ve developed new features to help brokers bid better and win more freight to grow their businesses in the modern freight industry.
How Does Parade Help Brokers Win?
Parade Helps Cover Loads
Parade’s digital freight matching helps brokers find great carriers for every single load.
Direct matches are based on relationship carriers with real-time capacity. Parade knows a direct matched carrier has both the capacity and the inclination to take the load they’re matched to.
Suggested matches are based on data Parade collects by monitoring freight signals like trucks that are delivering to you, emails from carriers with truck availability via Parade’s natural language processing, available trucks posted to freight load boards like DAT and Truckstop.
Automation Saves Reps Time and Brokerages Money
Carrier sales reps spent a lot of time on the phone or emailing carriers in the traditional brokerage, but Parade streamlines processes so that reps have more time for what matters: building great relationships with carriers and booking more loads.
Not only does Parade effectively tackle stock carrier outreach by sending customized emails to carriers up to twice a day, but it also paves the way to digital quoting and booking that saves time for both brokers and carriers. Emails contain loads that are a good fit for the carrier based on carrier preferences and load history and include a call to action with digital booking or quoting access to help qualified carriers get the ball rolling on loads they want.
New Features Make Parade Even More Effective
We’re always looking for ways to make our customers’ operations smoother. Parade recently released a new feature that allows brokers to turn quotes into digital bookings. The feature pulls quotes into the Parade platform and, upon the broker accepting the quote, triggers a digital booking. This streamlines the booking process for both brokers and carriers.
Parade Premium Features Fill Technology Gaps
Smart Lanes is a premium Parade feature that gives customers the power of Cascade, a waterfall tendering function that allows brokers to put their freight on autopilot. Brokers can set up a waterfall for dedicated freight within a certain time period, lane, and price to give preferred carriers exclusive access to a load automatically. Once the Cascade is triggered, an email is automatically sent to preferred carriers so they can instantly book the load digitally.
Advantage is Parade’s new intelligent pricing tool that helps brokers turn Parade capacity data into an advantage over their competitors and win more business. This tool helps brokers understand how to leverage excess capacity and turn it into a competitive price.
Would you like to learn more about how Parade helps brokers find the right carrier for the right load and win more business? Watch this demo by Parade’s Head of Product Lindsay Watt.