Technology Improves Logistics Industry Performance…When It’s Done Right: A Six-Part Series on the Benefits of Automation

Marc Andreessen, the serial tech entrepreneur and founder of Netscape, says, “software is swallowing the world.”  Our ability to navigate our day is predicated on how effectively we use all the screens around us. Each new website, tech company or app automates some sort of process or procedure that previously relied on manual labor or pen and paper. What used to take days can now be done in minutes from anywhere in the world.

Software is increasingly prevalent in the transportation industry. Gone are the days of hand written BOLs and fax machines; they have been replaced with full-service transportation management systems (TMS) that generate digital bills that instantly pop up on a driver’s smartphone.  In this series, we highlight six more areas where the proper use of technology improves operating performance and profitability.

Part 1: Sourcing Capacity/Load Matching

Today, most third-party logistics (3PL) companies or brokerages employ representatives who pound the phones calling and emailing trucking companies all day to sell shipments their organizations obtain from their customers. Each rep’s goal is to build relationships with a group of carriers that they can contact when opportunities arise to negotiate fair prices to book one of their trucks. This can equate to a combination of more than 100 calls and emails every day with the most successful reps averaging around 8-10 sold loads per day.

Some companies have automated this core process. Load-matching software gives carrier reps the ability to enter actual capacity from their carrier partners into the system daily. As new load opportunities are automatically entered into the TMS, it compares the details of those shipments to the available capacity already in the system using characteristics like pickup location, equipment type, dates available, and carrier’s preferred destination areas.

The benefits of investing in this kind of automation are staggering. Major reductions in outbound call and email volume gives your reps the ability to focus on covering more loads, expanding their capacity reach and dedicating time to covering more difficult, higher revenue opportunities.

When you automate load-matching:

Do: Hire more reps so you can handle more volume

Don’t: Let technology make your team complacent! Success is based on the available capacity to which you have access. Sourcing new capacity should be a constant and on-going focus.