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Why Freight Brokers Need to Break Out of the Inbox

The value of freight brokers for shippers is the ability to quickly make connections with carriers, find the best rates and facilitate the execution of agreements. In short, shippers count on freight brokers to make things happen quickly and efficiently and resolve any issues that arise because they know shippersu2019 needs and theyu2019re always connected to the right players.

So itu2019s ironic that too many freight brokers are still bogged down with day-to-day inefficiencies that prevent them from working seamlessly and quickly in a single system. While tech has certainly opened the door for improvement, there is still a significant number of freight brokers stuck dealing with their e-mail inbox and the tasks that come with it. And with all due respect to e-mail, which revolutionized everything including freight brokerage a generation ago, it is far too dated a technology to keep up with the demands of the modern supply chain.

Todayu2019s world offers technology platforms that allow people to see the movement of markets as it happens on multiple levels u2013 on a single screen, in real time. This kind of technology was made for people like freight brokers, who need to find available carriers quickly, execute deals rapidly and keep a constant watch on the happenings in the market.
Instead, we still have an industry in which people are:

Doing business at the speed of E-mail

E-mail is faster than a letter, and itu2019s certainly faster than the Pony Express. But itu2019s slow by modern standards. Under the best of circumstances u2013 efficient server traffic and so forth u2013 an e-mail from a shipper to a broker might get from place to place in under 30 seconds. And maybe the brokeru2019s subsequent e-mail to carriers could go through with similar efficiency. Assuming everyone is watching their inboxes at that moment, and the carriers can also get a quick reply back to the broker, youu2019d be doing great to go from request to quote to deal in 20 to 30 minutes.

But thatu2019s a lot of rosy assumptions. E-mail messages do get hung up on servers. And when multiple parties have to notice and respond to e-mails to consummate a freight deal, itu2019s no surprise when this process takes 45 minutes to an hour, or even more.
Considering how quickly things are moving in the spot market, for example, can shippers afford to wait that long?

No e-mail left behind

Letu2019s not even deal with the horror of the urgent shipper request that ends up in a brokeru2019s spam box because, even though that same shipper has e-mailed the broker thousands of times, new security protocols require that the shipper be whitelisted. Letu2019s just deal with one of the most common conversations people have in the business world these days:

u201cYou e-mailed me? I didnu2019t get it.u201d

u201cYou sure? I sent it yesterday afternoon.u201d

u201cYeah, I would have seen it.u201d

u201cI sent it at 3:42 p.m.u201d

u201cNope, er, wait a minute. What? How did I miss that?u201d

It happens every day in every industry. Weu2019ve all freaked out upon realizing we overlooked an e-mail of considerable importance. Unless, of course, we didnu2019t freak out because we never did notice it.

Doing the extra work of re-entering orders into transportation management systems. When you donu2019t use a system that integrates with your TMS, or your TMS isnu2019t specifically able to optimize this path, those orders you take and execute via e-mail have to be manually entered into the system. Even if you discount the value of the time that takes, and even if you assume no one will make a mistake manually entering this information, it is still time and effort that could have been spent better serving that client, or perhaps doing another deal for another client. Worst case scenario, you miss out on a deal entirely because someone else beat you to the punch.

Quit Playing System Hopscotch

Your e-mail system is just that. It doesnu2019t integrate with any other source of information you use in brokering freight deals. So youu2019re probably jumping between four or more different platforms to access things like load boards, TMS, market intelligence tools, phoneu2026 you get the point.

Much of this probably seems par-for-the-course for people who have worked for a while in the freight brokerage business. For 20 years or more, theyu2019ll say, theyu2019ve done all this. And theyu2019ll assure you theyu2019ve gotten very efficient at it. Theyu2019ve got it down to a science.
That may be true but theyu2019re efficient at a process thatu2019s inherently inefficient.

Todayu2019s technology offers freight brokers the ability to see pricing, intelligence tools and lane history all on a single page. It offers lightning-fast methods for finding load coverage, reaching carrier networks and leveraging capacity management tools.

Modern platforms make it easy to achieve direct integration with carriers u2013 deploying rating engines and quickly determining every kind of rate, from standard dimensioning to dynamic rating. And these same platforms give freight brokers access to real-time updates all the way to delivery u2013 on a single screen that doesnu2019t even need to be refreshed.

In todayu2019s highly challenged supply chain environment, freight brokers are too critical to keep operating under inefficiencies that harken back to the days when we breathed a sigh of relief that the Y2K bug didnu2019t get us. Brokers are here to negotiate, connect, track, optimize and resolve shipping complexity. By removing the technical debt that comes with e-mail, their value is considerably higher.

The freight brokers who dominate the field in the coming years will be the ones who get that.

See how Tai gets you out of your inbox

While there are various platforms available, Tai TMS stands out as the all-in-one solution uniquely designed for brokers. If youu2019re ready to break out of your inbox, letu2019s chat.

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