At the Transportation Intermediaries Association conference last week, freight marketplace Truckstop.com announced that it was promoting general manager and vice president of customer success Trent Broberg to chief operating officer (COO).
Broberg spoke to FreightWaves about his new role and the direction Truckstop.com was moving in the future, especially following the large investment in the business recently made by ICONIQ Capital. Broberg has been in the transportation and logistics industry for about 15 years, beginning at Swift Transportation, where he served in a variety of roles including financial analyst and director of marketing. After a stint at DB Schenker, Broberg joined Truckstop.com in 2014.
“As GM of Truckstop, my role focused on elevating our product, bringing subject matter expertise in-house, and really fostering the connectivity between our broker and carrier customers,” Broberg said. “I jumped into creating our customer success initiative and department, which focused on empowering our customers.”
As COO, Broberg said that he will be responsible for overseeing the operational side of Truckstop.com’s mergers and acquisitions while continuing to run support and customer success divisions.
“One of the things I am and will continue to be focused on is operational excellence in everything we do across the whole enterprise,” Broberg said.
ICONIQ Capital’s recent investment in Truckstop.com does not fundamentally alter the company’s roadmap, Broberg said, but will accelerate product development and M&A.
“The investment shortens the timeframe we will need to bring products to market,” Broberg explained.
ICONIQ was particular excited about Truckstop Payments.
“Aimed at reducing friction in the payment process between brokers and carrier,” Broberg said, “Truckstop Payments empowers the carrier to be paid when they want and how they want. They can choose to factor all loads, or only those that they need for cash flow purposes. On the broker side, the Truckstop Payment network reduces security risk, creates virtually no friction in the transaction — think Venmo or Apple Pay — and can eliminate paper checks.”
Broberg discussed Truckstop.com’s fundamental mission of connecting carriers and brokers to improve the profitability of owner-operators and small fleets and making brokerage operations more efficient at the same time. At a time of increased interest in and development of digital freight-matching technology, many of the connections and efficiencies that Truckstop.com is trying to enable are dependent on data flows.
Freight brokerages have different business models, of course, and have designed their freight- matching engines to optimize for different key performance indicators (KPIs). Some brokerages concentrate on minimizing their cost, while another broker may want to find the price that has a 95 percent probability of getting a “high-quality” carrier to accept the load. Yet another brokerage may have optimized its platform to maximize its carriers’ asset utilization.
Understanding a brokerage’s business model is key, Broberg explained, saying that some transactional carriers optimize for cost, while other third-party logistics providers (3PLs) handling sensitive, critical freight with a high-touch, white glove service, care far less about cost but require superior performance from their carriers.
“When you start thinking about the behavior of carriers,” Broberg said, “it’s about leveraging whatever data they provide, whether it’s searching behavior or posting behavior, projected time of availability or remaining hours of service, and allowing that to flow seamlessly into a broker’s [digital freight-matching] solution.”
Truckstop.com believes that 15 percent to 20 percent of truckload moves can be completely digitized with no human touch, but the rest will always need people to manage processes and solve problems.
“Our philosophy is not to eliminate telephone calls or emails, but to reduce them,” Broberg said. “We’re really trying to help brokers where they have gaps in their data, increase efficiency and throughput with the data and connectivity that we provide.”