The Business Case for Digital Freight Apps

As we’ve learned over the past two years especially, the business strategies of logistics service providers (LSPs) must be tightly linked with their technology strategies. How does technology, such as digital freight apps, help LSPs achieve their business objectives? What capabilities are most important? How do their employees, carrier partners, and shipper clients benefit from these technologies? Those are some of the key questions I discussed with Brett Suma, Founder & CEO at Loadsmith, and Prasad Gollapalli, Founder and CEO of Trucker Tools, in a recent episode of Talking Logistics.  

Linking Business and Technology Strategies

Loadsmith is a logistics service provider/freight broker that thinks like a trucking company. Brett founded the company in 2019 after 20 years in the trucking business and he he brings that mentality to Loadsmith’s operations. To Brett, that means focusing on asset utilization and keeping truck drivers happy. This creates an efficiency in operations that benefits their customers.

Given this focus and approach to the market, I asked Brett how technology fits into it. Brett states that they want anything they do with technology to improve their communications with customers, carriers, and truck drivers. “Technology is there to enhance our ability to communicate with the driver directly or through the carrier or dispatcher,” he says. 

“I want technology to enhance our service offerings, make it easier for carriers to find us, on-board with us and work with us. Trucker Tools allows carriers to see our loads, match up to what they’re doing currently, book with us and track their loads. Those technologies help truckers to do the mundane tasks. And because we don’t have to call the truckers eight times to find out where the load is, it makes the trucker and our people more productive. 

“It also allows us to have a conversation with carriers about what their objectives are, how their business is performing and what opportunities exist to partner more with us.” 

The Business Case for Digital Technology

I asked Prasad if Loadsmith’s technology approach is common in the industry. Prasad says Brett’s comments are right on because, “Companies aren’t looking at technology as a tool anymore. They see technology as part of a digital strategy that can help them scale faster. Two years ago, for example, Loadsmith brokered its first load and last year it brokered 40,000 loads.

“But besides automating mundane tasks, the technology allows brokers to work with their customers and carriers to add value by improving their productivity,” Prasad continues. “This creates a network that increases their ability to scale. It melds people, processes and technology to provide better services to their shippers and carriers. The technology provides real-time information to enable immediate reaction to disruptions and the data for analysis through machine-learning and other smart tools to improve their operations.”

The Capabilities Needed for Successful Freight Brokerage

I next asked Brett what technology capabilities he was looking for to make their new business successful. He comments that, “Prasad’s comments about people, process and technology actually defines my job description. The strategy for Loadsmith is to find the right people, design the right processes and use technology to enable us to improve the efficiency of our processes and the effectiveness of our people. We wouldn’t have started Loadsmith if there wasn’t technology like Trucker Tools to provide real-time freight visibility and the ability to communicate with our customers and truckers.”

Brett went on to explain that Trucker Tools’ business model of offering productivity tools for truckers to make their jobs easier so there is high adoption of the technology, coupled with the communication and real-time data sent to brokers, is the perfect combination. The next step after getting this information is the ability for Loadsmith to make its loads visible to the Trucker Tools network of carriers to facilitate load matching.

“We’re coming out with our own driver app and carrier portal, which is great for us and the carriers we currently work with, but we know there are a lot more carriers out there. That’s why we’ll continue to partner with technology companies like Trucker Tools to have access to the broader market.”

What Is Often Overlooked? Where’s the Value?

Following up on Brett’s comments, I asked Prasad about the capabilities companies should look for that often get overlooked. I also asked Brett what benefits Loadsmith has gained from using Trucker Tools technology. Both shared excellent insights, so I encourage you to watch the full episode for all the details. Then keep the conversation going by posting a comment and sharing your own thoughts and experiences on this topic.