The freight brokerage industry has been near and dear to my heart for many years. Earlier in my career, I had the privilege of running one of Canada’s largest 3PL operations. My current company has had the distinct pleasure of consulting with some of North America’s finest freight brokers. Periodically I like to look at the changes that are taking place in this industry. In previous years, I have published blogs on the impact on technology in the freight brokerage industry. Times have changed.
Technology is no longer a driving force in this industry. It is the driving force. This year we are witnessing the application of technology to every facet of the business. This industry has been discovered by venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, truckers, software, and hardware providers. Software innovations are entering the industry at a very rapid pace. This blog will feature a range of companies that are at the forefront of transforming the industry.
Find an app
Posting a shipment has never been easier. Friendshippr.com turns your Facebook friends into a shipping network. The Friendshippr app, available on Google Play, or from Apple store, is a simple tool to move goods between your Facebook friends.
Pick up, package and label products
Shyp.com will pick up, package, label and deliver your freight.
Deliver goods on day of pickup
If you want to send a package across town or have it picked up, Deliv can do it. They currently service 17 markets. Prices start at $12.50 for our 3-hour same day delivery service.
Find a driver
Roadie’s business model works with “gigs” which are deliveries or shipments. Shippers are asked to post a “gig” online or on a phone, and Roadie will match it with a driver who’s going that way. Once Senders post details and pictures of the item they want to send, drivers make offers based on location, price, and availability. Once Drivers offer to deliver the Gig, Senders can review ratings and experience before choosing their Driver.
Find a carrier
Here are two interesting services for brokers seeking to find carriers. Carrierprocuremate.com is a free service for companies looking for Canadian carriers. To make the job easy, the carriers are sorted by province. One of the challenges in launching a freight brokerage operation is to find quality carriers that serve specific geographic areas and particular corridors. CarrierLists.com makes the job easy by interviewing all of their carriers via telephone in order to obtain the following information:
• Full contact info: city, state, phone, email, & website
• Trailer Modes – van, reefer, flatbed, intermodal, tanker etc.
• Trailer Fleet size – 10 to 500 trailers
• Operating Lanes/Regions – Regional, National, International, etc.
• Specializations – Teams, Heavy/Oversize, etc.
• Color commentary – hidden margin making gems uncovered during interviews
Dispatch a truck
NCX or National Carrier Exchange has a unique business model. NCX offers a FREE Fleet Management, Dispatch, Tracking and Operations platform aimed at helping Carriers and Dispatchers manage their fleets. There is no additional equipment to buy, no software to download or install. All you need is a computer with an internet connection for your dispatchers and smart phones for your drivers. NCX provides numerous functions to help increase efficiency, like scheduling and assigning loads electronically to drivers, sending exact pick up details right to their phone. Dispatchers can use its load calendar and live map for continuous tracking of all of its trucks.
For less than $10 US per month TruckTrack lets you manage up to ten trucks, by performing the dispatching, safety and driver payroll functions.
Manage the business
There are a host of companies that provide software-based operating systems to run every facet of the business. Many of our small to medium-size customers use MercuryGate International’s TMS system. Their system is designed to:
• Rapidly onboard new customers and enter loads
• Quickly locate capacity using internal and external sources
• Validate carriers & rates to reduce risk and improve margins
• Track loads door-to-door
• Manage buy and sell rates and margin analysis
• Settle invoices quickly
• Provide optimal customer service There are a range of providers that provide services like MercuryGate.
Set up a customer portal
BrokerWare is advertised as a web-based application that will increase the efficiency of your company. The software offers many features that allow a business to run more efficiently and effectively, helping a freight broker to grow and become more profitable. Instead of the broker’s sales team spending time, the broker can set up customer portals, and let its customers get quotes and book shipments themselves. The freight broker can save on the man-hours of inputting that information. The less time a broker’s sales team has to spend taking, inputting, and managing customer orders, the more efficient it can be.
Enter a freight marketplace
Freightos allows shippers to easily search across dozens of air, ocean and trucking freight shipping companies for the best quote, with live pricing, transit time and forwarder reviews to help you decide. Their freight rates are all-inclusive, provided by trusted freight companies, whether it’s air, ocean or LTL freight.
Find a freight broker
There are freight brokers all over North America using some or all of the software systems outlined above. Some now cater to specific segments of the industry. Freightcom specializes in providing efficient, cost-effective LTL shipping solutions for small and midsize businesses. Freighera caters to wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors that ship occasionally or regularly in the U.S. & Canada. Transfix focuses on full truckload freight.
Find your freight
Weft builds platforms to ingest supply chain and contextual data, extract actionable insights and export that intelligence for business leaders to make better supply chain decisions. For an additional level of granularity, they also develop asset tracking hardware that tracks and monitors your cargo.
Clearly freight brokerage has migrated a long way from the days when people worked out of their basements with a phone and fax machine. New software applications are being developed every day. The business has made dramatic strides in terms of sophistication. This is an exciting time to be a freight broker.
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