• DTS.USA
    5.320
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  • NTI.USA
    2.800
    0.000
    0%
  • NTID.USA
    2.760
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    -3.5%
  • NTIDL.USA
    1.940
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    -4.9%
  • OTRI.USA
    6.190
    0.010
    0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,391.500
    -166.900
    -1.3%
  • DTS.USA
    5.320
    -0.013
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  • NTI.USA
    2.800
    0.000
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  • NTID.USA
    2.760
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  • NTIDL.USA
    1.940
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  • OTRI.USA
    6.190
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    0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,391.500
    -166.900
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A modern approach to logistics demands flexibility

‘We want to make sure that Echo has an offering for any type of shipper or carrier out there’

Transportation has seen a tremendous influx of new technologies after the pandemic exposed its weakest links. Now the industry is competing on a rapidly growing digital playing field.

But as shippers and carriers begin to fully utilize digital freight technology, it’s evident their needs are becoming more nuanced. 

Simply having technology is no longer an advantage. Just as shippers and carriers vary in size and complexity, so too should the technology that automates their processes.

“The technology that we offer shippers and carriers isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Zach Jecklin, chief information officer at Echo Global Logistics. “There’s different levels of integration efforts, different levels of sophistication and maturity within the technology space. We want to make sure that Echo has an offering for any type of shipper or carrier out there.”

Jecklin spoke recently with FreightWaves chief economist Anthony Smith at the company’s “Future of Supply Chain” event in northwest Arkansas and dove into Echo’s unique approach to scalable freight technology.

For starters, Echo understands shippers and carriers are built differently and have varying automation needs. So it built technology specifically for each through the EchoAcclerator, the core of its technology suite that houses its shipper, carrier and transportation management systems.

Today’s shippers need to quote and book shipments faster. Small to midsize shippers can do just that with EchoShip, the company’s complete quote-to-payment platform. More than five years of research went into Echo’s application programming interface quoting by perfecting its truckload cost algorithms.

“They’re able to directly connect with our API and get quotes instantaneously for truckload freight across the entire country,” Jecklin said. “That’s meaningful for them because in the past maybe they waited for a sales rep to log into a load board to enter quote after quote after quote. Now we can do hundreds and hundreds of quotes in a split second.

“But if you think about a large Fortune 100 shipper, they don’t want to enter load by load into our platform. They want to integrate via EDI (electronic data interchange) or API [and] they want our rates directly embedded into their TMS [transportation management system] or their ERP [enterprise resource planning],” Jecklin said. “So we have those types of offerings as well for the larger shippers that would rather us to come to them rather than them to us like a small shipper might want.”

That’s where Echo’s Managed Transportation offerings, where smaller shippers can outsource some or all of their transportation network, come into play. 

“[And] for those that use an off-the-shelf TMS, we’re directly connected with four to five different TMS offerings so they can get access to those same quotes through the platform that they’re already using today,” Jecklin added. 

He switched gears to also touch on why more carriers are partnering with Echo. For starters, the company is offering many ways to integrate directly with carriers so they can manage much of the transportation on their own.

The biggest draw, however, is EchoDrive, the web portal and mobile app that provides carriers real-time access to search, bid, book, manage, track and get paid on freight hauled with Echo.

“We have thousands of loads at any given time on our open board,” Jecklin said. “Through an API connection, these large national fleets can see all of the available freight, see what price we’re offering and can go ahead and place a bid or just book the freight directly through the API integration. That’s many phone calls that they don’t have to make.”

However, Echo is mindful not to take the human element entirely out of the freight-booking process. Jecklin said it’s all about finding the balance between people and technology that satisfies both shippers and carriers.

“We’re trying … to make sure the technology experiences that our shippers and carriers have are great ones,” Jecklin said. “But if and when things go wrong … we have sales reps that own the relationship that are going to be there to help solve their problems.”

After all, Echo’s motto is “technology at your fingertips, experts by your side.”

Click for more FreightWaves content by Jack Glenn.

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CIO’s previous roles at Echo reflect drive for innovation

Technology combined with relationships form ultimate transportation solution

Jack Glenn

Jack Glenn is a sponsored content writer for FreightWaves and lives in Chattanooga, TN with his golden retriever, Beau. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business.