Freight brokerages, including many labelled as digital marketplaces, find that while capacity is tight, matching shipments to carriers is often executed by human labor.
The employees making these choices, usually carrier representatives, find themselves dialing carriers they have worked with in the past, or interacting with new, unvetted and often risky carriers in order to meet the increasing demand from their company’s shippers.
This situation often occurs because while a broker’s job description emphasizes building long-standing relationships with carriers, it finds itself playing with market data and public load boards to hastily build a transactional relationship to cover the load.
Noam Frankel, founder and CEO at FreightFriend, is attempting to solve the problem to the dual benefit of brokers and shippers. “FreightFriend is designed for brokers and shippers who believe that relationships matter and are willing to help manage their people to start to drive and manage relationships rather than just posting loads on public load boards,” said Frankel in an interview with FreightWaves.
Related article: Automated freight matching won’t be enough when capacity tightens
The company uses tools known as Capacity Guru and Freight Guru to enable brokers to leverage technology that will help them optimize their human talent. Freight Guru, the carrier engagement tool, uses carrier and public data to make load suggestions to carriers through the FreightFriend’s platform or through email communication. Based on carrier feedback, the tool makes adjustments for future load references.
“Just using load history to judge carrier preferences has its limitations,” said Frankel. “When you take carrier load feedback, ELD information and posted truck data, and start to intelligently blend those datasets and put algorithms around it, you can really start to understand carrier preferences, driving the carrier’s engagement.”
Frankel explained that carriers can choose which parties they want to share their capacity information with, eliminating the multiple calls they receive from load boards from shippers or carriers they prefer to not work with.
“Once carriers start engaging on our platform and share their capacity or their ELD information, they know it’s not going to be the same experience as posting that information to the load boards,” Frankel said. “They don’t want a bunch of random people calling about that capacity, they only want to share it with the brokers and shippers they choose to share it with. I think this concept really pushes the brokers and shippers to create a mutually beneficial relationship with the carriers they want to work with.”
“We strongly believe that expecting random carriers to digitally engage with you and book your freight without having a relationship is a strategy that has just never proven to be effective,” said Frankel.
Capacity Guru, the procurement routing engine, leverages the carrier engagement capabilities of Freight Guru to guide shippers and brokers in load tendering decision-making. This real-time data eliminates the need for phone calls that are often used within these brokerages to manage their load tendering operations, said Frankel.
“Unfortunately, there is a large percentage of the industry that are calling carriers repeatedly or just post the load to public load boards because that’s just how they normally [cover loads],” he said. “Instantly, [Capacity Guru] makes these operations much more efficient and productive because the reps can book more loads as it’s designed to significantly reduce their dependence on public load boards, giving them lots of information on what carriers actually want.”
With this technology, carrier representatives can now build proper relationships with the carriers they manage, making phone calls less transactional and more focused on collecting information to add to the system’s robust carrier profile.
On Monday, FreightFriend released the full roll-out of its 2.0 version of its platform, which enables carrier representatives and their managers to get reporting on how representatives are providing more information for the system to improve its routing intelligence.
“Reporting really targets how [carrier representatives] are engaging with carriers,” Frankel said. “It is there to help our clients manage people based on their carrier’s click rates, the feedback added by them and how often carriers are opening their emails. It shows you the ROI of carrier engagement.”
Connecting carriers directly with shippers
While FreightFriend provides a solution for brokerages, Capacity Guru can also be leveraged by shippers to give them direct access to the same pool of carriers that commonly work with brokers.
“I think the static routing that shippers use is going to be tested, especially as carriers refuse to follow contracts,” said Frankel. “We believe providing them with dynamic routing tools allows them to flow from contract to spot easily without having to rely on brokers for that service.”
With the newest release, shippers will have the same access to enhanced tools provided to brokers including a proprietary geolocation identification of carriers and an intuitive carrier search function that allows users to find carriers with very little parameters entered into the search engine.
“We are trying to teach [the industry] about building relationships,” said Frankel. “We are not trying to provide transactional pricing; that execution comes from APIs from the TMS. …Our marketplace has become a real differentiator because it’s based on building mutual friendships, and sometimes the best way to figure out what a carrier wants to do is to just ask them.”