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Earlier this week, GlobalTranz hosted its 2017 Freight Agent Conference in Ft. Lauderdale. A record turnout of nearly 300 freight agents, carriers, shippers, technology partners and investors participated in the event – making it GlobalTranz’ largest event ever.

An expanded agenda and a plethora of well-respected industry speakers were key drivers for the record turnout. Here are few highlights:

Keynote Speaker, Erik Wahl, at GlobalTranz 2017 Freight Agent Conference

After a state of the union presentation by Chairman and CEO Bob Farrell to kick things off, the main keynote speaker, Erik Wahl, an internationally recognized artist, author and TED speaker, captivated the audience with his ability to combine art with inspiring thoughts on innovation and risk-taking. Two of the paintings Erik created during his presentation were auctioned off during the evening event and raised nearly $10,000 for charity!

Perspectives on the logistics industry were delivered by two outside speakers. The first of which was presented by John Larkin, CFA, managing director and head of transportation capital markets research at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., who shared a wealth of industry data and indicators on how the logistics industry is evolving. The following day, Thom Albrecht, president of Sword & Sea Transport Advisors, presented his bullish views on freight industry growth, including many fascinating statistics on e-commerce growth and its evolving impact on logistics.

A deep dive into data and technology issues was delivered via a panel discussion featuring executives from DAT, MacroPoint, SMC3 and Truckstop.com, all key partners of GlobalTranz who engaged in an energetic debate on the value of data in improving freight management and how electronic logging devices (ELD) will impact the industry.

Data Technology Panel at GlobalTranz 2017 Freight Agent Conference

Several of GlobalTranz’ LTL carrier partners participated in a panel discussion, featuring executives from Roadrunner Transportation Systems, Saia LTL Freight, XPO Logistics and YRC Worldwide. The result was an energetic debate on everything from pricing to ELD to capacity constraints.

LTL Carrier Panel at GlobalTranz 2017 Freight Agent Conference

No discussion on freight management would be complete without hearing from the shippers themselves, and executives from LG Electronics and Rexnord offered their views of how shippers are addressing logistics challenges and how they weigh price vs. service in selecting 3PL partners.

After a teaser press announcement made earlier this month, attendees were excited to see the grand unveiling of the GTZrave™ technology platform, delivered by GlobalTranz CTO Greg Carter, who shared how GlobalTranz is leading the market in process automation and enabling dynamic collaboration between shippers, carriers and freight agents via next-generation technology solutions.

The conference concluded with a freight agent panel discussion, moderated by Jim Weatherly who joined GlobalTranz following the acquisition of Global Freight Source in January. Five of GlobalTranz’ top freight agents participated in a discussion of what it takes to grow a successful freight agency.

The conference was made possible by terrific carrier and technology partners who sponsored the event and actively participated in a partner showcase. Thank you to our:

In the end, attendees all seemed to agree – the GlobalTranz 2017 Freight Agent Conference achieved its objectives of delivering industry insights, generating ideas to help GlobalTranz’ agents grow their businesses, and providing a forum to forge and cultivate relationships.

Stay tuned to the GlobalTranz blog next week for more conference highlights – including the winners of the Carrier and Freight Agent Awards program!

GlobalTranz was pleased to host Congressman David Schweikert at our Scottsdale, Arizona headquarters on April 18, 2017. Congressman Schweikert arranged the visit to discuss the transportation industry.

As a market leader in freight management technology and services and a large employer in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area, GlobalTranz was able to provide Congressman Schweikert with a unique perspective on the transportation industry and on logistics industry challenges, trends and growth opportunities facing the United States.

Here are a few photo highlights from the event.

 

Customers do not like poor service. A bad customer experience can ruin a business’s reputation and drive loyal customers away. In fact, it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. So it’s important to be aware of how you’re treating clients, handling complaints and establishing lines of communication throughout your customer’s journey.

By 2020, customer experience will bypass product and price as the number one brand differentiator.[1] Consumers not only want more, they expect more from the companies and services they purchase, which means it’s time to look under the hood and evaluate how you are approaching customer service.

According to a study conducted by Bain & Company, 80% of CEOs believe they deliver superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agree. That’s quite a disconnect, and it’s proof that customer expectations have dramatically risen over the years. Far past what business leaders realize.

In the shipping and logistics industry, transparency and communication are essential to success. Whether you’re a freight agent or carrier, your customers depend on you to get their cargo where it needs to be.

If a retailer is out of snow shovels two days before the biggest snow storm of the season and is relying on your services to get their order from the warehouse to the store in time, it’s a safe bet that they want to know what is happening with the order every step of the way. Smart freight agents leverage logistics technology and freight brokerage platforms that give them the information and real-time updates needed to move and track shipments with confidence and ease.

Agents can easily accept an order, quote freight rates, dispatch pickups, forecast weather and transit times, connect the shipper with a reliable and trustworthy carrier and track shipments in real time. Carriers can quickly pick up cargo and transport it to its final destination in the quickest, safest and most effective way. If something were to go wrong, freight agents know what has happened and what led to that situation. If a shipper calls to check in on transit progress, freight agents can give them an answer in a matter of minutes. And, if there’s a hiccup in the backend with invoicing and billing, agents have all the client’s information available at their fingertips so they can resolve the issue quickly.

It is amazing what technology can do to improve the effectiveness of your business, but customer service goes far beyond that. People trust people, not brands, and this should be something you keep in the back of your mind as you establish yourself as a freight agent.

Communication and transparency are key; technology is just there to make it easier for you to achieve those goals. Customers don’t want to spend too much time on the phone trying to deal with an issue, and they certainly don’t want to be consumed dealing with nonsensical policies that make doing business difficult or impossible. As you build your freight agent business, think about how you can weave communication and transparency through every step of the customer journey – from the resources and information located on your website and marketing materials, to how you answer the phone when a client makes an inquiry or complaint. These are all important things to think about.

Customer loyalty can change in the blink of an eye. But with the right technology and communication protocols in place, you can rest easy knowing your clients will continue to depend on you to move their shipments because you’re someone they can trust.

If you want to know more about building your freight business, check out our blog post “7 Tips for Freight Agent Marketing.” If you really want to take your freight management business to the next level and are not already affiliated with GlobalTranz, take a few minutes to explore the benefits of our freight agent program or reach out to one of our specialists who can help you implement the right technology and programs to boost your business and customer success today.

[1] “Customers 2020: The Future of B-to-B Customer Experience Report,” Walker Research

 

There is a transportation industry crime fit for The Grinch this holiday season: fraudulent carriers. Fraudulent carriers know how to take advantage of shippers during a particularly vulnerable time of need – last minute order fulfillment during the holiday season.

Cargo theft reportedly increases by 40% during holiday weekends as more freight shipments are on the road to meet the anticipated rush of holiday shoppers. Black Friday and the weekend after Thanksgiving often see record levels of freight theft. However, many of these shipping scams aren’t the traditional cargo heists you see in the news – they are much more sophisticated. With fake paperwork, an MC number and a truck in tow, these fake carriers look like legitimate businesses. But you’ll soon come to realize you’ve been scammed and your freight is nowhere to be found

Here’s a holiday demand fulfillment nightmare some organizations know all too well:

A retailer is out of your product, and you need to get it back on the shelves as soon as possible. Otherwise, your competitors are going to fill your section and take a slice of your holiday pie. Here’s the rub: your last-minute shipping request can’t be fulfilled by your trusted carriers; they’re booked through the New Year. But suddenly, a holiday miracle appears. You find a carrier that can take the order. The rates are higher, but that’s okay. You’ll do whatever it takes to restock those shelves and reclaim a piece of that coveted lemon meringue.

You breathe a sigh of relief and let out a holiday cheer, but the celebration doesn’t last long. Your worst fear has come to life. The order never made it from your warehouse to the destination. Just as The Grinch stole presents from the citizens of Whoville on Christmas Eve, your cargo is gone without a trace. But in this story, The Grinch doesn’t find joy or compassion and return your load. The freight is stolen, and the police are left with very few leads to go on as the truckers ride off into the snowy night.

Cargo thefts skyrocket during the holiday season. According to FreightWatch International, there were 193 cargo thefts in the third quarter of 2016, and that number is expected to rise. Last quarter, CargoNet received 447 reports of theft incidents and of this number, 309 involved theft of a motor vehicle, 201 involved theft of cargo and 35 were incidents of fraud. Thefts go beyond your traditional high-value products, like electronic devices. Food and beverage thefts, like nuts (which accounted for 35% of thefts in the third quarter of 2016!) are becoming more and more desirable because they cannot be traced by a pin, RFID tag or serial number.

There is only one way to protect your organization from risk this holiday season, and that is meticulous due diligence on your end.

Desperate times should not call for desperate measures. Compliance standards and protocols should not be ignored in the name of fast shipping. Con artists are patiently waiting to attack, which is why we can’t over stress the importance of strict carrier compliance standards.

At GlobalTranz, we take compliance very seriously. In fact, we have some of the strictest carrier compliance standards in the industry.

To mitigate risk and keep your shipments safe year-round, you must develop stringent requirements for your carriers. Before moving any of your freight, be sure to carefully select your carrier based on these pre-defined qualifications. Make sure they practice safe and careful practices when transporting your load to ensure nothing is compromised along the way.

Do your homework – validate their DOT or MC number and insurance information. When your trucker and carrier arrive, inspect the vehicle, interview the driver and record all information about the truck, driver and cargo load. Fraudulent carriers are creative and sneaky. They will create fake companies, doctor up insurance information and secure a license – making it more difficult for you to spot a scam. Verify the accounts and conduct a proper background check to make sure the truck driver and the carrier company is legitimate and trustworthy.

If you’re just too busy to take on this due diligence yourself, work with a reputable freight brokerage company like GlobalTranz. We have a trusted set of carrier partners who have been thoroughly vetted, and we have the logistics technology and team to actively monitor your freight shipment from pickup to safe delivery.

Don’t let fraudulent carriers rob you of your holiday cheer – and profits! Use extra caution when booking freight shipments over the next few weeks. If you’re looking for reliable, trustworthy carriers or a full-service freight brokerage, reach out to the GlobalTranz experts. We can manage your LTL, TL or expedited shipping needs through our in-house team or our nationwide network of top freight agents.

Safe shipping and happy holidays!

 

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.

#4: Unpredictability

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.

Tools to Manage Omni-channel Logistics Challenges

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.