Several critical issues in the context of visibility within the trucking ecosystem stem from the excessive fragmentation within the freight industry. As shipping processes continue to get expedited in conjunction with consumer expectations within the retail market, it is critical for trucking stakeholders to gain efficiencies to improve service levels.
Los Angeles-based automated logistics platform ZUUM Transportation is working to create such efficiencies within the industry at large — by bringing shippers, brokers and carriers together under one platform. Matt Tabatabai, the COO of ZUUM Transportation, explained that the startup was looking to provide partners tools that would help them work seamlessly and automate recurring operations.
The co-founders ideated ZUUM after realizing that the trucking industry was antiquated and saturated with unitary solutions that fragmented the market even further.
“We saw these pain points and looked at what was done in other industries. In comparison, the trucking industry remained outdated and fragmented, while being such a vital and huge industry,” said Tabatabai. “With ZUUM, we created a platform that brings the three parties together, which we believe results in ultimate synergy by resolving the fragmentation in the space around technology, data and capacity.”
Tabatabai explained that unlike digital freight marketplaces (DFMs), ZUUM empowers brokers by giving them software for free, helping them digitize. “The DFMs in the market have a hard time getting adoption with the carrier because unless you give them the load, they aren’t going to use your software. We’ve created solutions that make the main parties daily users of our software,” he said.
ZUUM calls it the collaboration model, in which it partners with businesses that would typically be considered competitors. Tabatabai contended that the central idea behind ZUUM is to bring people together within the industry and solve problems with all hands on deck.
The startup’s basic framework came from the time the co-founders spent interacting with the different stakeholders — including spending time in truck cabs to understand driver pain points. The extensive communication with potential users resulted in an intuitive interface, irrespective of the individual’s technology experience.
“We believe that the way you solve fragmentation issues — by bringing these three parties together, by understanding their pain points and building solutions that they need, not what they tell you they need, but going and understanding what they really need,” said Tabatabai. “The exceptional service levels have brought us hypergrowth in our customer base. We have over 250 customers of different sizes, from small and mid-tier businesses to enterprise shippers, while having thousands of carriers hauling through our platform.”
When COVID-19 broke out, it drastically shifted the market as essential goods saw a lot more movement than nonessential goods, which brought chaos into supply chains. However, Tabatabai pointed out that this crisis helped accelerate centralization within the industry, as stakeholders demanded more control over their data and visibility over demand and capacity.
“This is where we come in. ZUUM, as a company, believes that our unique selling proposition lies around defragmenting this market through collaboration and partnership,” said Tabatabai. “The digitalization of the back office, data centralization and visibility of what’s going on in the supply chain become very critical going forward.”
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