As explained by Todd Dills of Overdrive, the use of LTL shipping apps is experiencing a boom. While the industry has grown complacent with TMS, the next wave is mobile. The next wave is the introduction and widespread use of LTL shipping apps, and shippers need to know what it means for their future.
Why Aren’t More Carriers and Shippers Using LTL Shipping Apps?
The primary reason LTL carriers and shippers have evaded LTL shipping apps is simple; they may not trust technology or lack the resources necessary to develop such apps. Primarily, the challenges in using LTL shipping apps go back to data and costs, asserts Kate Abrosimova of Yalantis, including:
- Lack of access to information.
- Poor data quality.
- Data that is outdated.
- Inaccurate shipment data.
- Reduced dispersion of technologies to track data in trailers and trucks.
- Higher cost of technology.
- Disruptions to productivity.
Unfortunately, there are a few challenges in the realm of LTL shipping apps for carriers and shippers. Apps under development will require advanced review of driver records, evaluation of freight value, purchasing of cargo insurance, delivery guarantees and penalties and much more. There is a whole arena of new fears, like lack of trust of Uber Truckers, poor truck and personal security and payment processing concerns, explains ProDrivers.com.
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LTL Shipping Apps Change the Game for Carriers and Shippers Alike
The LTL shipping industry is moving away from pen and paper documentation, and many shipping capabilities can now be handled from any smart device. Even carriers that lack devoted LTL shipping apps can still make freight management easier with mobile-optimized websites and platforms. Mobile LTL shipping apps are expected to flourish as mobile technologies grow in capability and scale. On average, the storage capacity of a mobile device doubles every two years, and today, mobile apps can manage inventory through 1D and 2D barcode scanning, update GPS coordinates for a shipment, track miles and hours driven and more. Mobile technology will be a defining factor in the future year for Less than truckload freight management.
Benefits of LTL Shipping Apps
LTL shipping apps offer significant benefits for shippers, carriers and truckers alike. Some of these benefits include:
- Access to a broader network of carriers. More carriers will naturally mean more competition, but it also serves to give small and mid-sized carriers an opportunity to gain value and become real players in the market. For shippers, this means better LTL freight rates and continued development of technology for use in LTL shipping.
- Less paperwork for carriers and shippers. Technology and app-based systems will inherently reduce the amount of paperwork necessary in moving product, and paired with ELDs, shippers and customers can finally gain the end-to-end visibility necessary in modern freight shipping.
- Better use of space in backhauls. Better connection with available drivers, shippers and carriers will help reduce deadhead, essentially doubling the value gained per trip. The opportunity also exists in backhauls that are not near capacity, so filling the LTL van to its max before a return trip will also save money and time.
- Better spot LTL freight rates. The combination of the above benefits will help ensure better spot LTL freight rates, and on-demand services within an app will help shippers that receive orders outside of traditional shipping times, including weekends, nights and even holidays.
- Fewer overhead costs for carriers. Since app-based systems, specifically, Uber Freight, put the burden of finding, paying and retaining truckers in the hands of a third-party, carriers can save significant resources. In turn, costs of shipping will decrease, or at the very least, shippers will see the introduction of new services and capabilities that add value and not just more fees to shipments.
What Does It All Mean?
The state of LTL freight is changing, and even those using computer-based, cloud-based platforms will start to lag behind those that offer an app-based solution. Until all LTL carriers get on board with this idea, mobile-optimized settings in a TMS or other web-based platform will act as a safeguard for connecting shippers to carriers through mobile technologies. Of course, the continuing Uberization of Trucking will further push the industry toward app-based management capabilities, and if the astounding funds raised by Convoy are any indicator, growth of LTL shipping apps may become a reality for more shippers, carriers and freight brokers throughout the coming year. Essentially, the industry is evolving, so up next, we’ll dive further into how LTL transportation networks are changing through the use of new technology and systems.