As the logistics industry continues to plow millions of dollars into digital freight matching (DFM) technology that pairs shippers and carriers, there is a clear difference of approach between third-party logistics providers (3PLs) that seek to minimize the “human element” and those that embrace the combination of automation technology and teams of skilled logistics professionals.
The use of mobile trucking apps is on the rise and has the potential to become a $35.4-billion market by 2025 in North America, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.
App-based digital-freight matching companies like Convoy and Uber Freight seek to minimize human interaction by relying exclusively on technology. However, some logistics companies attribute their continued success to investing in new technology, while also retaining skilled employees to address customers’ needs.
GlobalTranz Enterprises Inc. said that technology alone is not the be-all, end-all solution because freight brokering and transportation management is a complex operation. Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, GlobalTranz is a cloud-based, technology-driven freight management solutions provider.
“Traffic, equipment problems and other unforeseen circumstances happen out on the road,” said Greg Carter, chief technology officer of GlobalTranz. “You still need real people backing up your automated service offerings because at the end of the day, things happen and human intervention is needed.”
As with many of the digital brokerages, Carter said GlobalTranz will continue to focus on automating repetitive tasks for which humans aren’t really needed in its logistics operations, but that it will continue to invest in its people, too.
“We see technology as absolutely critical to the modern supply chain, but we also see the experts – the people who know how to wield that technology and have a deep understanding of the nuances of transportation and logistics – to be every bit as important,” Carter said. “A world-class logistics operation understands the importance of balancing people and technology, which is a potent combination.”
Freight-hauling is big business as trucks haul nearly 71 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation. The industry accounts for approximately $676 billion in freight business, or nearly 80 percent of total revenue earned by all transport modes, according to the American Trucking Associations.
Digital freight-matching apps like Uber Freight and Convoy are designed to haul loads from point A to point B but may not be suitable for more complex movements. Shippers want people working behind the scenes to ensure these loads are seamlessly delivered, Carter said.
“At GlobalTranz we are developing digital freight matching solutions that serve the increasingly complex needs of enterprise-level shippers,” he said. “By maximizing automation and self-service capabilities, GlobalTranz can drive down costs and reduce risk for even complex movements. We will continue to support our customers with the expert assistance that only seasoned logistics professionals can provide.”