Echo Global rolls out Preferred Lanes, Suggested Loads on EchoDrive platform

Echo Global echodrive

Global (NASDAQ:ECHO) has enhanced the user experience and convenience of its EchoDrive web portal and mobile app with the addition of functionality that
makes it even easier for users to find and book loads, the company said.

Preferred Lanes and Suggested Loads
are designed to improve the load-booking process by assuring carriers receive
loads that fit their needs. Preferred Lanes allows carriers to set up a profile
of lanes they run regularly and get notifications when shipments in these lanes
are available.

Similarly, Suggested Loads improves
backhaul opportunities by suggesting shipments to fill empty trailers for Echo
customers. Carriers can also choose to get alerts when they do a search for
available shipments. Anytime freight becomes available that matches that
search, they are notified.

“The new functionality is focused
on simplifying the process of finding available freight for EchoDrive
users,” said Dave Menzel, president and chief operating officer at Echo.
“Our new Suggested Loads feature enables carriers to quickly see shipments that
are a good fit for them based on their criteria and our proprietary algorithms.”

Jay Gustafson, senior vice president of marketplace solutions for Echo, said these upgrades are about making it easier for customers.

“The new EchoDrive functionality
makes it easier for our EchoDrive users to find shipments that are a good fit
for them,” he said. “This should not only streamline their ability to find good
shipments, but it should also help keep more of our 50,000 carrier partners
moving their equipment with Echo.”

EchoDrive offers real-time access
to search, view and bid on available loads. Dispatchers can use the lifecycle
management functionality, which includes access to documents and invoices, to
manage loads and drivers. Drivers can submit documents through the app.

EchoDrive app
EchoDrive, which offers both a web portal and app, offers real-time access to search, view and bid on available loads. (Photo: Echo Global Logistics)

Select customers tested both
Preferred Lanes and Suggested Loads in Beta format in the third and fourth
quarters of 2019, Gustafson told FreightWaves, with the solutions rolled out to
the entire Echo customer base just before the end of the year.

Preferred Lanes uses geographical
preferences of carriers, allowing them to input their preferred or common
destinations to receive shipments in these areas. Gustafson explained that the
inputted lane preferences expire after 90 days, but a prompt will notify the
carrier of this. The profile can be changed daily if carriers prefer. Shipments
available to carriers can be found in the web portal or app, but those looking
for instant notification can use the existing “alert me” feature; as loads
become available along their preferred lanes, the system will send email alerts.

“We received feedback that carriers
wanted tools to find more shipments relevant to them,” Gustafson said. “They
wanted to get those shipments pushed to them instead of continually having to
search for them.”

Loads suggested in Preferred Lanes
will populate based on the carrier’s lane preferences — for instance, Miami to
Atlanta. Suggested Loads takes the Preferred Lanes functionality a step
further, sorting through Echo’s thousands of daily loads to find those that are
the best fit for the carrier, based on their preferences. Carriers can search
based on preferred lane, one-time alerts — in the case of a driver needing a
load in a particular area — and reloads.

“It’s shipments that are a good fit for a carrier for a variety of reasons,” Gustafson said. “It could be [shipments that match preferences or truck location]. … It’s a consolidated view of loads.”

Both features are also designed as
time-savers for busy dispatchers, Gustafson noted.

Kate Moss, a dispatcher at Yopo
Expedite, noted that in addition to saving time, Suggested Loads improves load

“This is a time-saver for searching
loads,” she said. “I no longer need to make long phone calls and now have fast,
online access to loads that I’m most interested in [and] I love receiving my
Suggested Loads alerts; this allows me to book the best loads for my needs

Currently, notifications from
Preferred Lanes and Suggested Loads are sent via email so users don’t need to
spend time constantly monitoring the EchoDrive platform. Gustafson said the
additional functionality is part of improving the experience for Echo customers.

“Given that a large portion of the
carriers that work with Echo are very loyal and give us a large percentage of
their capacity, Suggested Loads gives them [continued capacity],” he said.