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What Is a Digitally Enabled Freight Brokerage & What Are the Benefits?

What Is a Digitally Enabled Freight Brokerage & What Are the Benefits?

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Nathan McGuire
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June 15, 2021
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What Is a Digitally Enabled Freight Brokerage & What Are the Benefits?
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A freight broker plays a vital role as an intermediary between a shipper and a transportation service provider. Digitally enabled freight brokerage providers have become more common and specialize in more specialty types of freight and loads. They help oversee transportation procurement, carrier negotiations, and the timing of deliveries along the routes. Brokers often perform specialty services, such as consulting and optimization, to help shippers find the best rates, methods, and routes for their transportation needs.

Digitally enabled freight brokerages also rely on a fresh approach to finding capacity and managing the flow of shipments: They rely on digital freight matching and radical transparency across all activities.

Traditional matching involves exhaustive, manual processes that amount to the hope that a carrier will accept a load. However, a digitally enabled freight brokerage puts technology to work through digital freight matching via APIs and real-time data to choose the carrier that’s most likely to accept the load and provide all necessary documents or scheduling processes in one action.

Although the concept of freight brokerage has been around for decades, the modernization of the services with digitally enabled freight brokerage provides some fantastic benefits to shippers.

For instance, a digitally enabled freight brokerage can apply analytics to:

  • Determine how to balance assets and optimize routes based on market dynamics.
  • Perform a service as a partner in ensuring carriers get paid on time and in full.
  • Promote enhanced customer service through more transparency and technology throughout the entire network.
  • Empower shippers to focus on their business and enable complete outsourcing of transportation management without any disruption to shippers or carriers.

It’s all part of radical transparency and technology-rich processes that are designed to reduce confusion, improve throughput, and remove barriers to execution on shipments. That innovative framework creates a more robust and consistent approach to transportation management and is the defining factor that promotes more data-driven and strategic management styles.

How a Digitally Enabled Freight Brokerage Benefits Shippers Through Real-Time Execution, Visibility, and Intervention

Digital Freight Brokerage Benefits

There is a simple principle in business — do more with less. In transportation management, that amounts to keeping overhead low, executing more loads, and eliminating areas of waste. That’s where a digitally enabled freight brokerage can help freight managers through:

  • Lowering transportation costs by reducing wasted time and resources.
  • Addressing issues with current providers’ services or track records.
  • Improving the current process by increasing access to capacity and resources.
  • Increasing visibility to keep everyone informed and working together.
  • Streamlining invoicing and payment management.
  • Avoiding miscommunications with data-driven, single-pane-of-glass solutions that create strategic transportation management.

The past year has been tumultuous for transportation service providers too. And it highlights the need to continuously improve and adapt to consumer needs and market demands. Everything from communications, route planning, shipping rates, and customer satisfaction can be impacted powerfully by modern innovations that enable more effective, strategic, and data-driven management.

Failing to identify a problem early on in transportation procurement can cause a ripple effect to travel throughout the entire freight network to the consumer. To mitigate risk, a digitally enabled freight brokerage uses automation, integrated systems via APIs, and real-time data to intervene and address issues in real time. Moreover,  leveraging digitally enabled freight brokerage services can help keep transportation service providers focused on the end goal while protecting their bottom-line profits.

How Technology Has Impacted and Transformed Digitally Enabled Freight Brokerages

How Technology Has Impacted and Transformed Digital Freight Brokerages

Until recently, freight brokering was done by people sitting in dark, cramped offices, working off pen-and-paper records, and spending hours on the phone.

Technology has changed the way brokerage activities are handled and streamlined the entire process. Automation, data analysis, real-time tracking, and enhanced communication options have made digitally enabled freight brokerages much more efficient. While some firms are using advanced technology, there are those who are struggling to fully embrace modern innovations. And even still, there are other ways that shippers can benefit from digitally enabled freight brokerage partnerships.

Remember that a digitally enabled freight brokerage is still a brokerage. Meaning their whole business is transportation. They will have the experience and resources to secure more capacity and form more strategic freight network partnerships. Choosing to partner with a broker is like an immediate expansion of the network without the costs and hassle of RFPs and onboarding processes. The benefits prove to be game-changers and influence day-to-day operations in several ways.

  • Technology and real-time data collection make it easier to compare data and track progress against short-term and long-term benchmarks.
  • Digitization has improved collaboration, capacity, driver productivity, and profit margins across the freight network.
  • Modern tools and platforms allow for faster response, fewer human errors, and greater visibility throughout the shipping process.

Additional Opportunities to Reap the Rewards of Digital Freight Management Functions

As companies began to embrace the idea of digitally enabled freight brokerages, a host of benefits await managers, shippers, and consumers alike. According to Logistics Management, visibility remains a key focus, as it provides logistics managers with a real-time view of the inner workings of the network. It also works to improve the adaptability and scalability of the transportation network.

Many companies that previously used a combination of analog and digital processes to run their freight networks have seen the benefits of modernization.

More and more shippers are turning to digitally enabled freight brokerages for their shipping management needs. This trend is expected to continue over the next 6 to 12 months as companies continue adjusting and recovering from a volatile market. The disruptions that have become so common have wholly transformed the freight brokerage landscape and piqued interest in digital processes and innovations. And part of that comes from the ability of a brokerage to find capacity and enable optimization across all modes, all geographies, and all network parties.

There is yet another way to tap capacity for digitally enabled freight brokerages: through increased use of regional parcel carriers. After all, the majority of transportation service providers, upward of 90%, operate five or fewer trucks. These owner-operator businesses are often overlooked when shippers start thinking about rapidly expanding the network. And since regional carriers are more likely to want to win your business, they can come with big benefits, such as increased service guarantees, better rates, and more engagement.

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Other opportunities exist simply through the power of more connectivity in the brokerage, including:

  • Increased capacity management through integration with TMS platforms.
  • Leveraging additional value with APIs that connect to Parade.AI and project44.
  • Increasing accountability and radical transparency into payment management through HaulPay.

Regardless, trying to find enough carriers of such size to move freight around the country and globe is simply cost-prohibitive. Therefore, shippers turn to brokers that use technology to build those relationships and create a turnkey solution to increase capacity and profitability without incurring higher costs. And that’s a critical advantage as e-commerce continues to expand at record-breaking rates.

Increase Productivity With Stronger Collaborations and Innovative Technology For Digitally Enabled Freight Brokerages

Without a solid freight brokerage platform, old and outdated methods of freight management fall short and are unable to deliver on the expectations of today’s consumers. Failure to embrace and use technology efficiently can cause issues throughout the transportation industry. The key to growth and success in these tumultuous times? Keep up with advances in technology and innovations and know when it makes sense to outsource.

Fortunately, the strong and noteworthy benefits of a digitally enabled freight brokerage make the choice easier on shippers. If shippers can leverage a turnkey approach to capacity procurement, rate management, payment processing, and customer service at the time of delivery, why wouldn’t they? That’s the exact reason why digitally enabled freight brokerages are the new standard for freight shipping services. Take the step today and start the onboarding process with Wicker Park Logistics to experience the game-changing power of  digital freight management and brokerage benefits.

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