By Bob Farrell, chairman and CEO of GlobalTranz
Consumers and businesses buy everything online – from furniture and electronics to toilet paper and fresh groceries. There is hardly anything you can’t buy online. Digital shoppers account for an amazing 90% of Internet users and the National Retail Federation estimates 8-12% growth in US e-commerce in 2017. According to market researcher eMarketer, e-Commerce sales will grow to $692 billion by 2020, up from $389 billion last year. Whatever the numbers turn out to be, the consensus is that growth will be strong and fast – and that means shippers and logistics providers need to be ready to handle the seismic shift from brick and mortar to online retail.
Online shopping has penetrated our society so much so that Amazon created the Amazon Dash button, which allows consumers to instantly reorder many household products with the push of a button synced to their Amazon shopping cart. Supply chain technology vendors – particularly those focused on the retail industry – have long envisioned a world where product supply chains are so synchronized from raw materials to retail shelves that supply would automatically replenish to meet demand as items were sold in retail outlets. Amazon Dash is the first implementation of this vision at the consumer household level.
But what does this mean for the major players in the logistics industry – shippers, retailers, carriers and freight agents? There is no question that as online ordering becomes mainstream, the impact on the supply chain is profound. Manufacturers, retailers, freight brokers and carriers all have the potential to significantly benefit from the uptake in online ordering – but not without transforming how they do business.
e-Commerce and the success of technologies such as Amazon Dash require a whole new level of visibility, responsiveness and agility across the entire supply chain. Manufacturers and other shippers need to have complete confidence that every single participant along the supply chain can keep up with the increased pace of online shopping – from raw material fulfillment to distribution to rapid transport to the end customer. With retail and manufacturing sales growing at such a rapid pace, shippers, retailers, carriers and freight agents need to ensure the right people, processes, and technologies are in place to efficiently handle the increased volume of orders at the lightning pace that is now expected.
Shippers and retailers need to trust that their freight brokers, freight agents and carriers are equipped to meet the increased demand and pace that comes with e-commerce growth. One area that significantly impacts the entire supply is transportation and freight management. Transportation of supplies, work-in-process, finished goods and direct-to-consumer deliveries all have the potential to be a bottleneck in the process.
To provide the level of transparency that customers demand, shippers, freight agents and carriers need the right technology, back-office support and data in place – and need to create strong working relationships with each other.
As a freight agent or shipper managing your own freight movements, without a robust freight management platform in place, there’s no way you can view and actively manage in real-time the entire picture of all of your current shipment activity, let alone double the volume and increase the pace of shipments. Strong freight management technology providers (such as GlobalTranz) offer robust and easy-to-use tools to quote both LTL and TL shipments quickly, dispatch shipments, monitor weather patterns, track orders, collaborate with carriers and connect trustworthy carriers to shippers. If a shipper is managing their own freight, they should be able to view in real-time the exact location and status of the each shipment. If a shipper is working with a freight agent, freight agents should be able to provide real-time information on every order using live dashboards and analytics.
Visibility is power – it gives shippers, freight agents and carriers greater control in communicating with their clients and making real-time decisions and adjustments in transportation to ensure goods are delivered on-time. Advancements in freight management technology deliver this visibility. So when unexpected surprises pop up (as they always do) and shipments need to be rerouted or expedited, only those empowered with the right freight management technology platform can guarantee the best rates and transit times with the confidence and consistency needed to win shipper loyalty.
Whether you’re a shipper, freight agent or carrier, are you truly prepared for the rapid e-commerce growth that’s happening now and will continue to skyrocket over the next few years? And can your current freight management infrastructure deliver the visibility, agility and control you need to be successful?
Contact GlobalTranz today to get the right freight management technology and resources in place to ensure you’re ready to ride the e-commerce growth wave.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – April 11, 2017 – GlobalTranz Enterprises, Inc., a leading technology-driven freight management solution provider, today announced the launch of GTZrave™ – its next-generation technology platform. The GTZrave logistics technology platform delivers a comprehensive suite of capabilities designed to align shippers, carriers and freight agents for more efficient and effective movement of freight.
Over the past few years, GlobalTranz has emerged as a market leader in technology-driven freight management and third-party logistics (3PL). GTZrave is the company’s latest innovation in logistics technology and is expected to transform how shippers, carriers and freight agents do business, helping them better manage capacity constraints and respond to changing market dynamics.
GTZrave is a comprehensive, collaborative platform that will enable shippers, carriers and freight agents to:
“GlobalTranz has quietly been delivering some of the most innovative and effective technology solutions for managing freight,” said Greg Carter, chief technology officer of GlobalTranz. “The GTZrave platform capitalizes on that foundation and brings a whole new level of integration, visibility and collaboration to the freight brokerage market. GTZrave has the power to transform how shippers communicate with carriers and how freight agents manage their operations.”
GlobalTranz will introduce the GTZrave platform to its freight agent network at the GlobalTranz Freight Agent Conference later this month.
GlobalTranz is a technology-driven freight brokerage company specializing in LTL, full truckload, third-party logistics and expedited shipping services. GlobalTranz is leading the market in innovative logistics technology that optimizes the efficiency of freight movement and matches shipper demand and carrier capacity in near real-time. Leveraging its extensive freight agent network, GlobalTranz has emerged as a fast-growing market leader with a customer base of over 25,000 shippers. In 2016, Transport Topics ranked GlobalTranz as the 12th largest freight brokerage firm in the U.S. For more information, visit www.globaltranz.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @globaltranz.
Freight brokers act as the intermediary between shippers and carriers. They have the network, the experience and the resources to fulfill orders and get shipments where they need to be. Yet, like anyone serving as a liaison, they are always fighting the stigma that they’re an unnecessary and expensive part of the equation. “Why pay a freight broker to move my shipment when I can just deal with the carrier directly?” shippers often ask.
Well the truth is, taking freight brokers out of the equation isn’t going to make it cheaper for shippers. Yes, freight brokers earn money for connecting shippers to carriers. And yes, shippers are the ones forking up the money to pay for their services, but the reality is, an experienced and trustworthy freight broker can move your load more efficiently and effectively than if you had arranged the transportation yourself. This isn’t because you aren’t capable, it’s because the connections, technology and support freight agents have at their disposal can significantly lower your overall shipping costs.
Here are three ways freight brokers can help shippers lower their shipping costs:
Moving freight is a complicated and complex business. Don’t cut corners by searching for reliable carriers yourself and hoping the process will manage itself. Leave it to freight brokerage pros like GlobalTranz. We know the freight business and we’ll put your mind at ease while saving you money along the way. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you lower shipping costs and improve logistics efficiency.
GlobalTranz is investing heavily in logistics technology innovation and leading the market with its freight brokerage technology products for less-than-truckload (LTL), full truckload (TL), carrier selection and freight agent lead generation.
This week, GlobalTranz CTO Greg Carter participated in a Q&A interview with Superb Crew in which he elaborated on the value GlobalTranz delivers to shippers, carriers and freight agents. The interview also explored how innovations in technology — from the Internet of Things to 3D printing — are disrupting the logistics industry.
Read the full Q&A with GlobalTranz CTO to get the full scoop on how logistics technology innovation, combined with market-leading freight brokerage services and a nationwide freight agent network, have propelled GlobalTranz into the list of top freight brokerage firms.
The launch of Uber Freight got quite a bit of press last month, as Uber shared its vision of cutting out the middleman in freight movement by connecting shippers directly with available carriers and providing real-time pricing.
Uber is not the first to attempt this model. Other companies have tried it with mixed results and minimal disruption to the traditional freight brokerage industry.
While Uber clearly has a track record of success in connecting passengers with drivers, the world of commercial trucking and large freight movement is much more complex.
Bob Costello, chief economist at the American Trucking Association summed it up best when he said: “It just seems like there is interest because being ‘Uber-like’ is sexier than saying that you are a truck freight broker.”
While freight brokerages may not be perceived as sexy, they play a critical role in logistics and offer a great deal of value, more than justifying their fees.
Here are 3 ways freight brokerage firms add value that an Uber-like shipper-to-carrier model can’t beat – volume pricing, accuracy and accountability.
Freight brokerages move a tremendous amount of cargo in a year – and that high level of volume gives freight brokers leverage in pricing. Companies like GlobalTranz are able to negotiate better rates with carriers because they are able to guarantee a consistent level of business. As shipper profit margins grow tighter and tighter, any dollar saved in shipping is a dollar toward the bottom line. While freight brokerages add some cost to the supply chain, they also remove a lot of cost by offering lower carrier rates and reducing shipper overhead in managing freight movement.
While the idea of replacing the middleman may look attractive, freight shipment is not simple. Freight brokering is a complex operation that involves many variables, almost all of which can results in a significant cost to the shipper in terms of in time, risk, and hard dollars if not completed efficiently and accurately. Freight movement requires adherence to shipper requests, freight-specific requirements and compliance with state and federal laws. In addition to regulations governing freight transport, each shipper often requires compliance with its own unique set of shipping policies regarding rates, insurance, and carrier attributes (like on time delivery).
To ensure accuracy and compliance, a freight agent must take the basic parameters a shipper provides and use these data points to seed decisions around a much larger set of information and actions. For example, the size, weight, and commodity type or freight class may require a nuanced carrier class or carrier service selection (e.g. van, side loader, flat bed). Freight shipment reclassification alone can result in high, unexpected costs for the shipper if not handled properly. For example, if a shipment is booked at an LTL-negotiated rate, but in reality should have been moved as a volume shipment, significant disconnects can occur in pricing. A shipment of 10,000 ping pong balls may show a cost of $200 (not a real value) as a result of low weight, but the reality is the amount of space the shipment actually requires is half a trailer, so the rebill could be $10,000. Freight brokerages have the insight and experience to flag these potential issues, facilitate resolution and ensure shippers have the appropriate documentation to negotiate effectively with carriers.
For an Uber-like service to gather this information accurately at the time of the freight service request is likely not feasible as most small-to-medium shippers would not be able to answer many of these questions. Whereas an experienced freight agent using GlobalTranz’ advanced logistics technology and freight transport database, combined with their own experience and knowledge, has the ability to make the accurate, real-time decisions necessary to ensure successful and compliant freight delivery.
Freight brokerage firms often have long-standing relationships with carriers, giving shippers peace of mind in knowing that the carrier is trustworthy, reputable and reliable. Freight is precious and expensive cargo – shippers need to do everything possible to minimize the risk of loss, damage or theft. Freight brokerages play a critical role in screening carriers, providing oversight to ensure loads are correctly matched with the right type of carrier and equipment, and ensuring shipper expectations are met. This takes a load off (no pun intended!) of shippers, allowing them to stay focused on running their core operations.
What Does the Future Hold for Logistics?
That said, Uber is offering an exciting alternative to the industry and will likely be successful in carving out a niche in on-demand freight movement. The company is also investing in advancing innovative technologies like self-driving trucks which will benefit the logistics industry as a whole, and deliver valuable new options for both shippers and freight brokerages alike. Automation in logistics is a topic unto its own, and one we’ll explore in a future blog post.
At GlobalTranz, we look forward to working alongside or in partnership with Uber and other on-demand freight options as we continue to grow our freight brokerage and 3PL service offerings. Contact GlobalTranz today to discuss how we can add value to your business.
In order to understand the difficulties facing freight agents in an omni-channel world, you have to realize that consumer demand is really driving these challenges. Technology has created a consumer market, even for large freight, that demands high-speed logistics across multiple channels to fulfill customers’ fast delivery expectations. People often think of the consumer’s view of omni-channel in the form of storefront, online and mobile shopping options – but on the order fulfillment and logistics side, there a host of challenges created for logistics and transportation providers for both purchase delivery and returns.
If a furniture company offers same-day shipping to its customers, it will require multiple channels not only to process those orders, but also to deliver those goods. That same furniture company may offer nationwide delivery and may or may not have distribution centers (DCs) located throughout the U.S. Third-party carriers rely on freight agents to manage the logistics of on-demand delivery to fulfill those orders.
The importance of assured delivery cannot be overstated for the shipper. In survey after survey, consumers place a high value on a company’s shipping terms. Big business disrupters like Amazon that offer the same products plus free shipping puts pressure on all businesses to offer those same terms.
But even companies like Amazon are turning to 3PLs (third-party logistics providers) to help fulfill their customer demand – a good sign that freight agents and 3PLs are considered a critical lynchpin in a shipper’s success. Freight agents are expected to manage the challenges that these companies face and provide the level of on-demand delivery that customers expect – so how can you step up to this challenge?
Here’s a look at 8 omni-channel logistics challenges facing freight agents.
#1: Upfront Pricing
Last year, over 90% of consumers said that shipping options and overall experience with a company’s shipping apparatus factored highly in their decision to choose one business over another. That is a year-over-year increase of nearly 25%.
The survey concluded that businesses could overcome this challenge by being upfront about shipping costs with their consumers and delineating shipping fees rather than adding it on at the end.
For freight agents, providing accurate pricing upfront can be extremely challenging in an omni-channel environment. Your ability to offer honest and transparent pricing will require smart analysis of industry norms and current and historical KPI data. Technology that provides insight into this type of data can be helpful.
#2: Meeting On-Demand Delivery Expectations
If a long-time customer has an out of the ordinary request to deliver a load outside your region, could you still fulfill that order? More and more customers demand these exceptions as do the large cargo shippers that freight agents interact with on a day-to-day basis. Managing those customers takes full-cycle shipment management.
Requests may be coming in from companies from different parts of the country with many different priorities for meeting delivery expectations. Your ability to deliver on promises will depend on the quality and depth of your carrier network.
#3: Managing Omni-channel Technology
As the name implies, omni-channel technology encompasses several different logistical functions. Managing this level of technology is a challenge for nearly all industries and especially for freight agents.
First, you need the internal technology that is necessary to be competitive. Big data can zero in on or highlight impact points all along your supply chain. This insight can help you improve customer service. Examples of potential impact points include bottlenecks in shipment delivery, peak delivery hours, price comparisons, revenue forecasting, etc.
Soon no freight agent will be able to get by without harnessing sensor technology, the internet of things (IoT), and cloud-based software tools. Competition among 3PLs and freight agents continues to get tougher. The freight agent that is using the most advanced logistics technology to move freight is going to grow the fastest and emerge as a leader.
In one word, omni-channel logistics is unpredictable. From the beginning of a shipment request to the final delivery destination, you as the freight agent are managing multiple logistics points that can disrupt delivery:
When you are manually entering shipment requests, the instances of user errors increase. Unexpected traffic delays or weather events could prevent you from getting loads out for hours, maybe even days. Incomplete or missing paperwork can hold up a load at customs or at the loading dock.
GlobalTranz TMS software helps make omni-channel logistics more predictable, which in turn makes your life easier.
#5: Unifying Diverse Platforms
Your company may be using logistics software that does not work with your carriers’ platforms. Shipment requests coming through via mobile may not work as well as desktop requests and vice versa. Meanwhile, submitting paperwork to vendors and government agencies require understanding of still more diverse platforms.
How you distill that information in an understandable way requires unifying diverse platforms. Freight agents individually may not possess the skills to accomplish this, in fact many don’t. The challenge is to find the correct business strategy for the internet that combines different channels in a cohesive way for your freight management business.
#6: Cohesive Optimization for Omni-channel Logistics
Optimizing for cohesion of omni-channel logistics requires smart investments in customer relationship management (CRM) and transportation management system (TMS) software. Your carriers must be able to communicate with your logistics systems while also being able to complete deliveries through distribution centers and warehouses.
All suppliers from carrier to warehouse manager must be working from systems that are optimized for use across different channels, while still delivering a consistent customer experience.
#7: How to Co-Locate DCs
If you are like most freight agents, you neither have the funds nor the will to maintain your own distribution centers and warehouses. Instead, freight agents are co-locating their DCs with other logistics partners. However, choosing where to co-locate your DCs also a challenge.
If the majority of your business comes from a DC where the cost of living is high, you may end up paying a chunk of your profits to maintain cargo in that particular location. Thinking about how and where to locate distribution centers and freight warehouses can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
#8: Seeing the Supply Chain Holistically
Finally, one of the biggest challenges to managing the omni-channel universe as a freight agent is being able to see your supply chain holistically. It is only then that you are able to establish a comprehensive plan for proactively predicting and meeting challenges.
But be careful that you don’t become so focused on the big picture that you overlook the tactical operational details of your business. The right freight brokerage platform and business activity monitoring technology will help you view your supply chain holistically while also proactively managing the critical details of your freight management operations.
Global Tranz CommandCenter gives freight agents a powerful tool to manage a vast carrier network, manage day-to-day business functions, and create reports in real-time to show the bird’s-eye view of your business you need in order to keep growing and improving.
What separates success from failure is in how you approach challenges. At GlobalTranz, we see the challenges presented by omni-channel logistics as the perfect opportunity for you to grow as a freight agent, and for us to demonstrate why we are leaders in freight logistics software and technology.
Whether you have a successful regional freight business in need of top-of-the-line TMS and CRM software or you are a new freight agent looking to team up with a successful freight brokerage, we have what you need. For more information about partnering with GlobalTranz or to discuss using our advanced logistics technology platform to improve your freight management operations, contact GlobalTranz today.