• ITVI.USA
    12,649.840
    -133.150
    -1%
  • OTRI.USA
    27.930
    -0.300
    -1.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,598.890
    -131.290
    -1%
  • TLT.USA
    3.230
    -0.060
    -1.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.890
    0.260
    9.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.930
    -0.150
    -4.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.280
    0.100
    8.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.000
    -0.210
    -6.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.750
    0.120
    7.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.280
    -0.080
    -2.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    121.000
    1.000
    0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    12,649.840
    -133.150
    -1%
  • OTRI.USA
    27.930
    -0.300
    -1.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,598.890
    -131.290
    -1%
  • TLT.USA
    3.230
    -0.060
    -1.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.890
    0.260
    9.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.930
    -0.150
    -4.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.280
    0.100
    8.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.000
    -0.210
    -6.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.750
    0.120
    7.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.280
    -0.080
    -2.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    121.000
    1.000
    0.8%
Less than TruckloadNewsTrucking

FreightWaves Carrier Summit: Tread carefully with new technology (with video)

With all of the push to digitize the supply chain, Chad Crotty, the vice president of sales for North America at DDC, issued a cautionary tale.

The message: Don’t get too far ahead of your customers. 

“We recommend carriers take a measured approach between technology integration and applying practical knowledge,” Crotty said in a FreightWaves Carrer Summit interview Wednesday with Zach Strickland, FreightWaves market expert and analyst. 

DDC FPO is a business processing outsourcing firm that says it processes 30% of all LTL bills in North America. It lists its other activities as freight rate auditing, track and trace, carrier onboarding and customs brokerage data capture.

Many carriers are looking at API integration to “share data among the supply chain and raise visibility,” Crotty said. But it’s not all that easy.

“The problem with that is that there are a lot of moving parts in the supply chain,” Crotty said. “Not everybody is invested to the same level.”

The end result is that a lot of practices in the supply chain are tethered to old technologies. “You end up with still a lot of manual processes, requiring resources for inbound and outbound calling, tracking shipments, things like that, which require a lot of time, effort and cost,” Crotty said. 

Given those limitations, “it’s a perfect time to engage with an outside expert to guide you through the process.” It’s an activity that DDC specializes in. “We help carriers maintain the balance between initiatives like this all the time,” Crotty said. 

Even initiatives that seem like an obvious solution aren’t always easy to pull off, Crotty said. For example, in-cab scanner technology allows a driver to scan invoices and other paper documents to get them in a digital format. “We see more and more of that,” Crotty said. “The problem with that is that the image quality can be poor.”

And a poor image can reduce productivity by up to 20% in some cases, according to Crotty. 

There is no “silver bullet” to fix these issues, Crotty said. That’s why DDF has “teams of people who focus on nothing but the freight back office and have done so for the past 15 years.”

Strickland, an LTL veteran, noted in the beginning of the interview that LTL pricing had held steady and that there had been “no major shakeouts” as a result of the pandemic. Crotty said that freight volumes had been up for “most of our customers.” 

“Consumer spending is relatively high despite unemployment, and government stimulus may help as a stopgap,” Crotty said in reviewing the market. “But there is always the risk that something unforeseen could impact freight volumes.”

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.
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