RESTON, VA - FEBRUARY 6, 2019 -- In the latest episode of his widely-recognized video podcast program, Talking Logistics, industry analyst Adrian Gonzalez, president of Adelante SCM and the show's host, dives into an intriguing discussion with two industry leaders that examines key challenges facing freight brokers today.
Featured guests in this week's Talking Logistics podcast, titled "How Technology Enables Brokers to Work Smarter, Not Harder, to Drive Profitability," are Tom Curee, vice president of logistics for Kingsgate Logistics, a provider of freight brokerage and supply chain management services; and Prasad Gollapalli, founder and CEO of Trucker Tools, which provides a cloud-based platform for load tracking, predictive freight-matching and carrier management software services to the transportation industry.
The segment discusses how brokers can work smarter and more effectively to improve operating productivity, use complementary, enabling technologies to find and match loads with available capacity faster, and build a reliable carrier network as the "broker of choice" for high-performing carriers in a competitive, capacity challenged market.
Today, Gonzalez published a commentary on the segment at the Talking Logistics web site. The commentary can be viewed here: https://talkinglogistics.com/2019/02/06/technology-empowers-freight-brokers-work-smarter/
"Working smarter, not harder, is critical for everyone in transportation today, but especially so for freight brokers in light of the increased competition - from traditional brokers as well as new digital tech start-ups - and the ever-more demanding expectations of shippers," Gonzalez said.
The key issues, he says, are how can brokers identify and make informed decisions about reliable, effective, fast-developing technologies, and then put them into play quickly. Such applications must complement existing core systems, while creating new opportunity to make broker operations much more efficient, reduce costs and drive productivity.
Kingsgate's Curee said that with his company growing 20-30 percent annually, it's imperative to not just keep costs in check, but look at every option to reduce inefficiencies and better leverage their most important resource - the broker. The solutions he's deployed with Trucker Tools include natural language-based software - part of the Trucker Tools Smart Capacity predictive freight-matching and capacity visibility platform - that can automatically "read" hundreds of emails received from carriers daily and "parse out" and present key information about available capacity - while it's still timely.
Curee noted that Kingsgate, like many brokers, also found load tracking, a typically labor-intensive process which can involve dozens or hundreds of carriers, to be ripe for technology support. In his case, Kingsgate went with Trucker Tools Load Track application.
Supported by Trucker Tools widely-adopted smart phone app, which has been downloaded by some 550,000 drivers, "we felt it would be easy to implement with carriers and provide more complete visibility to our carrier network. The functionality provides tremendous efficiency and accuracy," said Curee. "And the time savings gained allowed us to redeploy staff resources to more high-value work that improved customer service and helped grow revenue."
Trucker Tools' Gollapalli noted that broker processes today contain numerous inefficiencies, which present opportunities. "If you look at the traditional brokerage process today, brokers are making 30-60 calls to cover a load, using information from load boards, emails, spreadsheets — but they're handling a lot of stale information," said Gollapalli. "Advanced capacity visibility and predictive freight-matching technology helps in two ways - it brings accurate and reliable capacity information to the broker faster, and it can reduce or in some cases eliminate time wasted on non-value manual activity - such as physically going through hundreds of emails brokers get from carriers every day advertising capacity."
Engaging such technologies can enable the broker to reduce those 30-60 calls, as well as emails, to cover a load, to less than 10, while providing far timelier and more accurate information on available capacity.
Gonzalez and Curee also pointed out that knowing where processes must change to fully benefit from technology and bringing employees along with that change, so the transformational journey is successful, also are key. "If you put technology over a poorly-designed process, or one with poor data, you end up with a technology-enabled lousy process," noted Gonzalez.
Curee added that technology decisions are not made in a vacuum. They go hand-in-hand in supporting and enhancing a critical advantage brokers continue have over the "tech is everything" digital start-ups - that personal relationship between the broker and carrier.
"This is still a relationship business," Curee said. "Technology can make carriers, their drivers and brokers more efficient, but the value of the personal connection lives on, and I'd argue, in this time of disruptive and sometimes confusing technologies, is more valuable than ever."
Gollapalli agrees. While some tech startups seem bent on disintermediating traditional brokers, his mission as a technology provider is to make brokers and the freight matching process smarter and more efficient. "The broker's knowledge and expertise are invaluable to both truckers and shippers. Our approach is to enable the broker to work faster, better and smarter. We're a trusted partner giving them tools to reduce wasteful, manual activity, to cover more loads with the same amount of people."
The full episode of the Talking Logistics podcast is available on the Trucker Tools website, www.truckertools.com/news
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