Historically, large shippers have outperformed small and midsize shippers in terms of technological advancement and digital offerings due to their long-standing partnerships with legacy tech companies. As more technology providers enter the logistics space, however, these same types of technology have become available to shippers of all sizes. While access to high-tech solutions will certainly help even the playing field between shippers, this onslaught of new entrants has not entirely eliminated smaller shippers’ reliance on manual work and disparate systems.
“There has been a lot more choice in terms of the tools available to create efficiencies,” FreightPOP Chief Technology Officer Brad Perry said. “The issue is that they may solve only one problem and not integrate with the other tools around them. If they are not communicating with other tools, you still end up with some inefficiencies in the process.”
When shippers are using several cobbled-together solutions with hit-or-miss integrations, they miss out on opportunities to optimize their business practices and workflows. One challenge with those disparate technologies is the inability to bring data together into a single platform to access comprehensive analytics. While each set of data can be valuable on its own, its impact increases significantly when married with other important data points.
Tech companies have realized the strain being caused by disparate systems, and many of them are becoming more aware of the need for multi-use tools and simple integrations. At FreightPOP, a significant focus has been put on building more tools in-house so customers can enjoy multiple important functions without having to worry about integrations.
“Today, we offer the ability to get rates and quotes and help produce and procure shipping orders. We also do all the tracing of the shipment across platforms,” Perry said. “After the order has been completed, we have tools that allow us to reconcile order quotes with the actual cost to make shipments. This often ends in shippers getting a portion of their money back on the transaction.”
FreightPOP also makes necessary integrations simple by utilizing open APIs and having standard integrations with common tools found in most offices, like popular accounting systems. This reduces the amount of work customers have to do to get their solutions up and running together.
“Our tools are very customizable for each customer’s shipping processes,” Perry said. “All shippers are different. There are a lot of different workflow processes our shippers want to put in place. We look at how they are running their business and then match our tool to them, not the other way around.”
Perry predicts that the need to bring disparate solutions together will only increase as consumers continue to embrace e-commerce at higher levels, making it necessary for shippers to send out smaller loads more frequently in order to meet turnaround expectations. In a changing environment rife with inefficiencies, reducing them internally is crucial to thrive.