More than one hundred members of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) attended a recent "lunch and learn" webinar focused on adopting digital tools to deliver greater value to the carriers and shippers they serve. According to industry reports, the penetration of US freight brokerages in the total freight market is steadily increasing. Integration of technology is a key driver of this growth. As a result, tech-enabled services offer immediate opportunities for freight brokers to provide transformational value to customers.

"Brokerages today are bombarded with a raft of technology choices," said TIA in an abstract describing the event to its members. "It’s important to keep up with changing technology. But more so, any technology choice has to support how you improve operationally in four areas: visibility for customers, engagement with carriers, efficiently securing and booking loads. And, most importantly, properly training brokers and helping them shift from old to new workflows to fully realize the benefits of technology and enable your growth goals.”

Leonard’s Express, which operates approximately 600 trucks, 1,000 trailers, and a brokerage division with 12 offices located across the United States, was recognized by TIA as a company that “walks the talk” by embracing technology across all of its business units. For example, Leonard’s Express is working with Trucker Tools, which sponsored the webinar, to adopt new digital freight management apps, driving lower costs, superior customer service, and a reputation with its carriers as a broker of choice.

TIA Chairman Mike Riccio, who also serves as Chief Marketing Officer of Leonard’s Express, was the featured speaker. Joining Riccio on the webinar was Prasad Gollapalli, CEO of Trucker Tools, which sponsored the event. “Mike Riccio is not only a very good friend but an amazing leader in our space,” said Gollapalli. “A lot of people, like me, look up to him for guidance in this industry.” Riccio has thirty-four years of experience in the transportation industry.

When asked how successful brokers are using tools like automated 24-hour booking and load confirmation, Riccio said, “Right now, everything is urgent. Everything is imminent. Everybody’s hair is on fire regardless of whether you’re hauling a load of strawberries that you have to get to market at a certain temperature or a load of pens that are not that critical to get there at a certain time. Because everyone is 24-7-365, having automation allows carriers to be more productive and spend less time negotiating and engaging in non-revenue producing activities. Whether that be for a carrier or a 3PL provider, it allows workers to be more productive and more selective with their time.”

The webinar covered various best practices that brokers seeking to adopt technology to scale quickly and grow profitably can apply. Among the topics discussed were:  

·       Preparing for a changing marketplace; how to build and sustain a better brokerage

·       Reducing expenses while still increasing revenue – broker productivity through technology

·       Keys to digital freight matching and how brokers can master it

·       Automated 24-hour booking and load confirmation with carriers

·       Top tips for leveraging digital tools to deliver sustained value to carriers and shippers.

Reflecting on the need to set realistic expectations for what technology can and cannot do, Prasad Gollapalli concluded, “We live in a world where everybody wants a magic wand. There’s no magic wand. It takes every day commitment. Having perseverance and doing little things every day that set you apart, in a month, in a year, in a couple of years, you can really set your brokerage up for huge success.”