Leveraging Digital Freight Tools to Build Carrier Loyalty

It’s no secret that the pandemic and its aftermath have created a very constrained transportation environment. There are about seven to eight loads for every truck available. So, what does it take to secure reliable and consistent capacity in today’s market? How do you build carrier loyalty? What is the role of TMS, freight matching and real-time load visibility technology in this process? Those are some of the key questions I discussed with Omar Singh, President, Surge Transportation, and Prasad Gollapalli, Founder and CEO of Trucker Tools, during a recent episode of Talking Logistics.  

Building Carrier Loyalty and Consistent Capacity

Given the tight capacity in today’s market, I asked Omar how brokers and customers can build carrier loyalty to secure repeatable capacity. Omar says, “You have to treat carrier sales like customer sales. A lot of brokers focus their structure and workflows around customer sales, but we don’t think we can give customers what they want without an equal focus on the carriers. This includes ease-of-use, ease of on-boarding, proper 24/7 staffing to respond to carrier needs, prepaid or quick-pay processing to help with their cash flow, and the technology for digital connections to support drivers and carriers.”

Prasad adds to Omar’s comments by pointing out that over 90% of freight is moved by smaller carriers who are looking for a reliable partner in a broker who can keep their trucks filled and moving on a consistent basis. And they want transparency to build trust. “Trust is so important,” Prasad says.

Supporting Carriers with Technology

Surge was already using a commercial TMS when they sought out additional technology to help support their carriers. Omar notes that with the landscape changing so rapidly through digital transformation, they looked at what they needed to do to stay relevant in future years. 

Omar says they began with real-time freight visibility and tracking with Trucker Tools so they know the location and status of all of their freight and available capacity. They then progressed to digital freight matching to remove the labor and phone calls associated with doing it manually. “With our growth, we can’t staff up fast enough to handle the carrier interaction manually,” he says. “With Trucker Tools’ Book-it Now technology we can post a load with a fair rate and the carrier can book it without having to listen to our telephone on-hold music. That’s the most important investment we’ve made this year. All of our carriers are happy with it.”

The Benefits for Shippers and Carriers

I asked Omar what benefits both shippers and carriers are seeing from the digital transformation and technology like that from Trucker Tools. 

Omar notes that as a result of the chaos caused by the pandemic, many shippers are now leveraging the spot market more, not just due to higher tender rejection rates from contracted carriers, but because they want to stay in sync with market conditions. When the market is down, they can reduce costs by securing lower rates. When the market is up and capacity is scarce, they can secure capacity from the carriers with whom they have built up loyalty through the programs mentioned above. The preferred carriers are willing to provide this capacity because of the consistent freight the broker has given them in the past. In either case, these real-time bookings are dependent on the load-matching technology provided by Trucker Tools.

Selecting a Technology Partner

As you move along your digital transformation journey, selecting the right technology partner will be critical not just for the initial implementation, but throughout the lifetime of its use. Prasad shared five key considerations for this selection process, as well as his thoughts on future innovation. Omar shared Surge’s future plans as well. Therefore, I encourage you to watch the full episode for all of their insights and advice. Then post a comment and keep the discussion going with your own thoughts and experiences.