Domestic shipments accounted for about half of all commerce over 2014. Prior to the 2000’s international shipments and even most domestic freight shipments were handled by the major carriers or in-house. Today’s freight industry however is putting freight agents in the driver’s seat and these tech and market trends are making it possible.
Over the last decade as technology has advanced, the freight industry has changed dramatically. Each year new technologies are giving more control to freight agents and creating a space for small and mid-sized agents and brokers to compete on a national and global stage.
Technological advances have resulted in a growing number of independent freight agents and brokers playing integral roles in the overall business strategy for many companies today. Forecasters predict that the share of the market for freight agents will continue to grow to equal or outpace traditional freight.
Another benefit of using freight agents as part of your overall business strategy is to reduce risk. Independent agents are responsible for filing their own claims, maintaining certifications, paying for their own insurance, hiring trucking companies, etc.
Many companies these days maintain an account with multiple freight brokerages and independent agents so that they have more options whenever delays or problems in delivery threaten to occur. It is also necessary when shipping different types of materials that have specialized handling and shipping requirements.
Before the internet was readily available to the masses, most freight agents conducted business via fax and phone, printing out receipts on personal printers and express mailing documents by courier. Leads were tossed like meat to a pack of hungry dogs on load boards where most business was won based on a first come first served basis.
Now technology has enabled much of the operations necessary to operate a successful freight agency to be handled instantaneously using advanced software and online data exchanges.
When it comes to tech tools for freight agents, no company has a bigger lead on the competition than GlobalTranz providing world class proprietary software specifically made for independent agents and brokers. These tools are no longer a luxury in the freight business; they are required.
When packages are late or damaged it hurts every business up and down the supply chain. Not only does it cost time and money, there’s no telling just how much potential future business is lost due to a bad experience by the shipper.
For that reason the most advanced tech tools give freight agents eyes and ears on the ground in real-time to help manage their customer shipments. Along with these other trending tech advances, real-time logistics is helping leverage the playing field for small to mid-sized freight agencies.
Simplifying the process is part of the trend in technology for freight agents in 2016. No longer are transactions handled using couriers and fax machines. With tools like CarrierRate2.0, shippers can go in and book a shipment with two simple clicks.
Because you now have the ability to track shipments in real-time and automate much of the process of booking and procuring freight shipments, customers expect more hands-on supply chain management.
When a customer orders next day shipping, the package must get there from the shipper’s perspective. That puts the pressure on the freight agent’s connections to quality carriers to fill in the gap to meet the customer’s expectations. Having software like CommandCenter from GlobalTranz enables you to do even more than track shipments; this software handles a lot of the backend work as well.
Having the ability to scan documents and electronically sign off on bills of laden are two trends that will become standard in 2016. In addition to these technologies, GlobalTranz offers full backend support for all accounting, billing, and reporting.
Being able to allow your customers to book their shipments faster and easier gives freight agents a leg up over freight agents who have yet to catch up with the times. Think self-checkout aisle in the grocery store; when your clients are in a hurry, give them the option to book it themselves.
Where many freight agents fail is in promoting their firms using a first rate website. Worse, some that do have websites have not caught up fast enough with the move to fully responsive mobile websites.
The majority of consumers are searching for businesses online and for the first time ever, more are doing so via mobile devices and not desktop computers. This trend is going to continue into 2016.
Speak to us now about upgrading your transportation management software.