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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.

 

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:

  1. Strong relationships with trustworthy and reliable carriers. Connecting shippers to carriers and fulfilling orders is a freight broker’s full-time job. Over the years they have built strong, dependable relationships with carriers all over the world. In an industry as deeply complex and heavily regulated as the transportation industry is, this is so important. Turn on the news this week and I’m sure you’ll hear about shipments gone missing and cargo lost forever. It’s a reality all too true in the world of logistics and transportation, which is why you need someone with a good, trustworthy network of carriers that will get your shipment where it needs to be, when it needs to be there without having to worry about it getting lost or stolen along the way.
  1. Relieves the headache of back-office overhead. Leave the logistics of coordinating to a freight agent – you have enough on your plate. While you may think it might be cheaper to work directly with carriers, the time spent evaluating quotes, costs and transit times, selecting a reliable carrier, arranging pickup, monitoring transit and delivery, and ensuring accurate and timely payments to carriers – not to mention troubleshooting any issues – isn’t worth the cost. Freight agents have this process down like a well-oiled machine and will be able to help you cut costs and expedite service.
  1. State-of-the-art logistics technology you can depend on. Whether you need less-than-truck load (LTL), truckload (TL) or expedited shipping, smart freight agents have the right technology in place to meet your needs. The best freight brokerage firms allows them to negotiate the best possible rates with the most reliable carriers and automate processes related to shipping and payment, ensuring you a speedy and safe delivery. Real time dashboards give freight agents complete visibility into every aspect of the journey, including current weather patterns, fuel stops, and traffic to ensure trucks are quickly filled and orders are delivered on time. GlobalTranz is one example of a freight brokerage that is leading the market in innovative technology.

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.