Visibility is a hot topic across the logistics industry. Most of the conversation around visibility solutions focuses on how these tools benefit shippers and end consumers. Carriers are often overlooked — or considered only in terms of lagging compliance — during these discussions. This has left some carriers wondering what, exactly, is in it for them.
Carriers do benefit from providing accurate and timely tracking updates to their broker and shipper partners. Visibility software can all but eliminate annoying check calls, help carriers access better freight and keep trucks loaded.
“Carriers really hate check calls.Those calls are not just annoying, they are also a safety issue. Being forced to take phone calls can distract drivers from the road,” Trucker Tools CEO Prasad Gollapalli said. “With visibility software, brokers and shippers can see where the load is in real time without having to call the driver when they are driving or sleeping.”
When carriers use these visibility tools, check calls only happen when needed to address abnormalities or provide assistance during a crisis.
Compliant carriers also tend to gain advantages in the market and attract higher-quality freight from brokers. As visibility continues to become more of a non-negotiable to shippers, this will only increase.
“When carriers engage with visibility software, they are building trust,” Gollapalli said. “When brokers or shippers have worked with one dishonest driver in the past, they tend to see all drivers as dishonest. Transparency proves this assumption to be false, increasing the trust factor and helping carriers maintain credibility.”
When carriers are able to make a name for themselves as trusted partners, brokers become more excited to work with them, increasing their chances of scoring the most valuable loads. Additionally, this reputation can help carriers secure their spots on shippers’ requests for proposal (RFPs) and even give them a leg up over their less tech-savvy counterparts in contract rate negotiations.
Not only do visibility solutions reduce dangerous phone calls and increase access to great freight, they also help carriers keep their trucks loaded.
“The other advantage of visibility is proactively using that information to put the carrier on the best possible load when they are empty,” Choptank Transport CEO Geoff Turner said. “We can help them select better, closer freight opportunities. This helps deliver more high-quality freight to them more efficiently and prevents them from having to do any legwork.”
Keeping trucks loaded poses direct benefits for both carriers and brokers. While carriers are able to increase revenue and avoid empty miles, brokers are able to continue utilizing that carrier, securing capacity and building the relationship further.
It is clear that visibility solutions provide several advantages for carriers, not just brokers and shippers. It is also clear that visibility isn’t going anywhere, so companies across the supply chain should embrace these solutions now if they hope to remain competitive over the next several years.
“Visibility is the first step in a lot of future automations. If someone wants to automate loading and unloading, visibility helps. If someone wants to really improve retail space, visibility helps,” Gollapalli said. “It is the underlying current that can provide a lot of value to the supply chain. In many ways, we are the first quarter of this game.“