Constructive disruption: Brokers focus on carrier experience in digital age

Article Brought to you by Trucker Tools

The face of the freight brokerage industry has evolved over the past several years, and veteran brokerages have been forced to rethink their technology strategies in order to keep up. Just like carriers, third-party logistics (3PL) companies have to find the right tech partners to help ease the transition into the digital age.

Kingsgate Logistics has been around for nearly 20 years. Tom Curee, vice president of strategic development for Kingsgate, addressed the company’s tech strategy.

“We had to determine what digital freight brokerage looked like for our company. We found a lot of digital freight platforms are solely transactional. That’s a commodity, and our customers don’t want that,” Curee said. “We wanted to find a digital brokerage solution without losing the heart of who we are as a company, staying true to our culture and philosophy, and without diminishing the value of relationships and our expert knowledge.”

When Kingsgate was deciding on a tech partner to help propel it into the digital space, it started with a thorough vetting process of all the options on the market. Curee said the team even considered building its own digital freight portal. At the end of the day, however, the company wanted something quicker and more sophisticated than it could create on its own.

Kingsate also wanted a tech solution that would allow it to extend its carrier network. This made Trucker Tools a natural fit. The Trucker Tools mobile app has been downloaded by some 800,000 truckers – largely owner-operators – to date. 

“Leveraging Trucker Tools opened us up to a vast new pool of capacity – these owner-operators were already on it so bringing them into our network was simple. It’s our go-to app for carriers,” Curee said. “We could partner up to bring load availability across tens of thousands of loads to these small carriers and provide them with a better experience in dealing with us.”

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In most brokerages, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to get a load covered. The Trucker Tools matching software automates most of that process with its Book-it-Now feature, reducing that variable cost by more than half. That also can significantly reduce the amount of time brokers spend on the phone chasing a truck. 

“As we’ve launched the Book-it-Now feature, our clients are equally excited. They see the value of expanding our reach,” Curee said. “Book-it-Now allows us to extend beyond our current network and identify new potential carriers who want to be part of this type of program and are a fit with our network on a historic basis. Some of the other digital freight solutions, while good, are limited to only those carriers set up in their network.”

Brokers are well-versed in addressing their clients’ needs, but it can be more difficult for them to work with carrier’s needs because they typically have less control of their experience. Curee is impressed with the user experience Trucker Tools provides for carriers. 

“Digital freight brokerage is only possible when you have a good experience from the carrier perspective. If the carrier has to call, text, email or otherwise expend extra effort, they won’t be interested,” Curee said. “Trucker Tools is known for building an app for drivers first. Their focus on the carrier and driver experience is what will allow brokers and 3PLs to become effective players in the digital space.”

As the industry continues to evolve, Curee said it is the brokers and tech providers focusing on the driver experience that will be the most successful.