Technology has completely reshaped the logistics industry in the years since the ELD mandate took effect. Companies across the space that have embraced modern solutions have quickly become more efficient, profitable and flexible. For many carriers, however, the rapid adoption of technology has sparked skepticism and reticence.
“Historically, the adoption of new technology by shippers created new or additional costs for carriers to become compliant,” Emerge SVP of Product Kyle Jepson said. “For larger carriers, this was much less of an issue than for smaller carriers due the scale of these organizations and their support roles.”
With continuing pandemic-related shortages and rising inflation rates, carriers – especially the small carriers that make up the backbone of the logistics industry – are grappling with prohibitive cost increases across their companies.
These carriers are focused on supporting their core businesses and keeping the lights on. As such, they are unlikely to embrace any expensive or time-consuming technological updates coming down from their shipper partners. Fortunately for all parties, however, the technological landscape is changing, and the burden is being lifted off carriers.
“From what I have observed over the last few years, the burden related to adoption seems to be reduced, and shippers are investing more in technologies that allow the collective network to benefit from the technology they are introducing,” Jepson said. “This is having a very positive impact on the overall attitudes towards these technologies.”
Shippers implement technologies to boost their own bottom lines, but many of these solutions also provide serious benefits for their carrier partners. With the barriers to adoption falling in recent years, these benefits are more accessible than ever.
Strong shipper technologies can benefit carriers in various ways, including:
- Creating operational efficiencies that make shippers easier to work with
- Reducing the manual efforts required by the carrier
- Providing the shipper with more accurate information, improving decision making
- Helping carriers find new opportunities with the shipper
- Compliance can result in a carrier becoming a preferred partner
“Over the past few years, shippers have really been focused on keeping costs down, and one of the main ways to do this is by being easy to work with,” Jepson said. “There are three major areas that I feel have a trickle-down effect and benefit carriers: dock scheduling, demand forecasting and inventory management and procurement platforms.”
The benefits of these types of technologies are widespread. Dock scheduling improvements help shippers make their warehouses as efficient as possible, which allows carriers to get loaded and unloaded in a timely manner. Demand forecasting and inventory management solutions help shippers provide carriers with accurate volumes in RFPs and more lead time on tenders, resulting in fewer canceled shipments. Finally, procurement platforms allow shippers to more easily run bids based on market conditions, creating new opportunities for their carriers.
Procurement platforms, like Emerge, that allow shippers to run mini bids throughout the year have become especially important over the past few years, as volatility has rocked the industry.
Emerge offers a wealth of benefits for shippers and carriers alike. The company provides an easy and intuitive procurement platform that allows shippers and carriers to work with their existing network in the simplest manner possible, while also boasting a marketplace that carriers can use to find new spot and contract opportunities.
“The spot marketplace allows carriers to interact with Book-it-Now transactions or submit bids in the event that shippers pricing is not in line with their needs,” Jepson said. “The contract marketplace is the first real contract marketplace that allows carriers to view and interact directly with shipper’s contract freight. These marketplace offerings are a great way for carriers to fill out their network or find business in new lanes that they would like to expand into.”
Ultimately, carriers are going to have to embrace technology in order to continue servicing shippers. Choosing shippers that partner with carrier-friendly tech providers can make the transition easier – and more rewarding – for everyone involved.