Watch Now

CIO’s previous roles at Echo reflect drive for innovation

Jecklin draws from experience in finance and strategy in developing technical road map

Zach Jecklin to lead technology initiatives as chief information officer at Echo Global Logistics. Image: FreightWaves

Roles in finance and strategy at Chicago-based Echo Global Logistics prepared Zach Jecklin to lead technology initiatives as chief information officer.      

The leading freight brokerage and technology-enabled transportation service provider named Jecklin as its CIO in December. Jecklin, a 14-year company veteran, made his mark as a financial analyst before ascending to vice president of finance and later senior vice president of strategy. 

He credits his broad set of roles and responsibilities at Echo for giving him a strong sense of what drives success and innovation in an ever-evolving industry. When special projects called for trying something new, his unique understanding of the business from operational, financial and technical standpoints allowed him to be a cross-functional asset for Echo. 

As CIO, Jecklin is leading the execution of the strategic road map he helped develop over the past four years. He expressed confidence in his team’s ability to make significant progress with the technical road map, adding features and functionality that will create more value for shippers, carriers and the internal users of Echo’s proprietary technology.  

“Understanding where we want to be as an organization — how we approach the digital freight marketplace, how our people can become more productive — that is what I’ve been focused on for the last four and a half years,” Jecklin said. “As time has progressed, almost all of that comes back to technology.” 

Jecklin counts himself lucky to build on the momentum of another great year for Echo. He looks forward to expanding the digital freight offerings for both shippers and carriers and leveraging Echo’s extensive data science capabilities deeper into its TMS platform. 

But making internal improvements is also a key focus. He said that improving the EchoAccelerator platform will shape a better Echo team, increasing productivity, efficiency and ultimately the ability to do more with less while experiencing high growth rates. 

EchoAccelerator encompasses Echo’s entire technology suite. The platform, which Jecklin describes as a service-oriented architecture on a microservices framework, includes EchoShip for shippers, the EchoDrive web portal and mobile app for carriers, EchoTMS for managed transportation and internal employees, and EchoConnect for direct integrations to shippers, carriers and third-party providers for automating everything from quoting to sourcing, dispatching and tracking.

EchoShip allows shippers to instantly book and receive quotes for truckload and LTL freight without manual intervention from an Echo employee. The platform has seen tremendous growth among smaller shippers, which Jecklin hopes will continue this year. He said that plans are in the works to make EchoShip faster and easier to use as well as more competitive for shippers. 

EchoConnect, Echo’s application programming interface (API) and electronic data interchange (EDI) integration solution, is also on Jecklin’s radar this year. He said that Echo plans to roll out more API integrations this year, hoping to capitalize on the increased use of Echo’s API connections among shippers and carriers over the past few quarters. 

“We’ve seen substantial growth in our spot business,” Jecklin said. “We’ll continue to onboard more and more clients to the EchoConnect API so that they can get instant quotes for truckload spot freight in real time.” 

Imagine a large shipper that moves 400 spot loads a day. Jecklin said that without such API connections, it would be impossible to manage this quantity of manual quotes without having to staff a substantial number of employees to make the necessary calls and responses, let alone have someone sift through historical data to find the best price for certain lanes. 

“What we’ve built with this API connection is the ability to use data science and algorithms to quote all 400 of those loads in real time within seconds and send those quotes directly to the shipper,” Jecklin said. “We give our sales reps the ability to manage the margin setting at a macro level, without having to quote every single load. Even if we’re winning a small percentage of the freight, the increased ‘at bats’ and more accurate cost estimation is leading to substantially more spot freight for Echo than if we were trying to quote every load manually with a salesperson.” 

With EchoDrive, carriers can search for, bid on, book and manage shipments on a single platform. Its web portal and mobile app interfaces allow dispatchers and drivers to stay in touch no matter the location. This, in turn, makes finding the right freight and getting paid a lot easier too.   

What’s more, carriers don’t have to worry about making phone calls to check Echo’s load availability, as the complete open board of freight is available within EchoDrive for carrier partners. 

“The EchoDrive platform learns what freight the carriers like,” Jecklin said. “It knows their favorite lanes and displays those options for them front and center. They don’t have to search for it if they don’t want to, as notifications of available loads are sent directly to the carrier.”  

Whether a carrier wants to try a new lane or continue using one of its favorites, EchoDrive tees it up effortlessly. 

“It’s a one-stop shop for carriers to be able to find freight from Echo in a self-service way,” Jecklin added.

Click for more FreightWaves content by Jack Glenn. 

More from Echo: 

What are RFP expectations for 2022? 

Technology combined with relationships form ultimate transportation solution 

Managed transportation takes complexity out of logistics

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.