In the latest episode of McLeod Insights, we sat down with our team members, Keri Hodnett, Product Owner of PowerBroker, and Dacia Gulledge, Product Owner of Interfaces. Keri gained experience working with both large and small brokerage companies before transitioning to her current role. Dacia came to McLeod from a web design and development background, which led to her involvement with interface integrations.
They discussed technology’s evolution in the freight matching process, freight matching from the broker’s point of view, and how to use technology to improve your company’s relationship with carriers.
What Is Freight Matching?
Freight matching is the process of pairing a shipper with a carrier that’s a good fit for them. Most people who have performed freight matching tasks have done it through the use of load boards. But with McLeod’s PowerBroker software, there are multiple tools included with the system. One of these tools is a Digital Freight Matching (DFM) API that allows users and third-party vendors to connect and leverage the data that’s already in their systems. This allows them to get their data out to a larger audience and ultimately expand their carrier base.
“As a broker, if I’m thinking about these freight matching and visibility concepts, I always think that freight matching, as a whole, is a toolbox with lots of little tools inside of it to be used,” Keri says.
In the past, even as recently as 10 years ago, tools were drastically different. Keri says it was a more manual process overall, whereas today, it’s possible to get what you need with one click.
“The idea that we have multiple ways to interact with our carrier bases, whether it be from these internal search tools to an integrated search to integrated postings, it has just changed the way a broker can cover their freight,” she says. “Really, it has cut the time in half, which as we all know, leads to bigger margins.”
Leveraging Technology to Streamline Processes and Improve Carrier Relationships
One of the biggest challenges in freight matching is finding capacity. Technology tools, both internal and external, make this process more streamlined. According to Keri, internal tools are meant for transportation teams to leverage data that already exists in their system. External tools extend data from the information within the software, out into the marketplace.
In the past, load coverage was a more manual process. These days, brokers can enter their top five most important criteria into one search, then run it automatically once the load has been entered. This reduces the time required to conduct searches. Additionally, load boards are now more visible than in the past.
“Tools like McLeod’s Digital Freight Matching API can extend your reach by quite a bit without requiring you to increase your staff,” Dacia says.
All of these tools work together not only to streamline the process, but also to shorten the time to connect with vendor partners.
Software enables companies to offer their technology solutions to their carriers. According to Keri, carriers are typically more likely to work with a company for a better rate, if there’s a streamlined process and a relationship established.
“When you’re offering carriers payment options and digital booking options, that takes away the hassle and the stress for them. All of that builds trust with the carrier, which in turn builds your carrier base, and helps your margins tremendously,” Keri says. “They all come from the tools you’re leveraging within the system and the automation that you’re putting behind it. All of that builds together and helps you strengthen those relationships with those carriers.”
Transportation companies can significantly improve their process and relationships through Digital Freight Matching. According to Dacia, companies should focus on their short- and long-term goals when evaluating new technologies for their businesses. Getting input from other vendors and brokerage companies can be beneficial.
Keri says that before implementing new technology, companies should evaluate what goals they have in mind for the software solution, what their expectations are, what users’ expectations are, and how much the new tools could change the user experience. This process will ensure a smoother transition overall.
To listen to the full episode featuring Dacia and Keri, click here.