Like other technologies aimed at generating cost savings, digital freight matching (DFM) took off during the recent pandemic-fueled capacity crunch. Getting loads covered at the push of a button – and exercising a modicum of control over pricing – was an attractive sell for shippers and their freight brokers working hard to move massive amounts of freight without compromising their bottom lines.
Now, volumes are balancing out, capacity is loosening up and rates are dropping from their historic highs. As the market softens, shippers may not find it necessary to rely on DFM in order to get their loads covered. The shifting market will, however, give them the opportunity to reap the other reward digital freight matching has to offer.
“DFM for us has always been about prioritization. We allow carriers to have access to our dedicated freight for DFM, and our more challenging shipments are handled directly by our carrier sales team,” said Kingsgate Logistics SVP Tom Curee. “A softened market ultimately increases the speed for our DFM lanes, which provides visibility earlier to our clients.”
The benefits of hands-off load matching do not end when the market takes a turn. Brokers are always striving to increase efficiency, which means cutting down on tedious tasks like marathon phone calls and never-ending emails. By not getting swept up in negotiation talks – or worse, playing phone tag – brokers are able to cover more loads at a much quicker rate.
Digital freight matching tools – like those offered by Trucker Tools – also allow brokers to foster stronger relationships with their preferred carrier and eliminate “one load wonders,” which is valuable regardless of market conditions. Additionally, creating and maintaining these relationships will allow brokers to take advantage of better rates when the market does, inevitably, shift again.
Trucker Tools’ Book-It-Now streamlines the booking process and, coupled with predictive load matching, giving brokers keen insight into their marketspace.
Not only do DFM solutions still hold value in a soft market, delaying adoption can put brokers behind their more tech-savvy peers. This can prove especially problematic when the market shifts back in favor of carriers and competition strengthens.
“As with any use of technology, the challenge is the rate of adoption,” Curee said. “Delaying going through that process is going to delay each organization’s ability to execute their DFM strategy.”
Ultimately, brokers who have not yet embraced DFM will benefit most from getting started sooner rather than later. The first step is finding the right partner. For Kingsgate, Trucker Tools made the perfect choice because of their readiness to listen to and collaborate with customers.
“We look for partners who allow us to be influencers in the development of the product,” Curee said. “It makes a significant impact on your ability to bring carriers into the platform when leveraging their feedback to influence the product development.”