FreightWaves 3PL Summit: Reducing workforce costs with Hubtek’s TABi virtual assistant and Colombian nearshoring

A rising tide lifts all boats, or so you’d think. The rapid digitalization of freight has forced each company in the sector to rethink its strategies. While the digital sweep has provided newfound growth opportunities for many transportation companies, other smaller logistics providers may find it difficult to compete with rising employee costs and the efficiencies of automation.

One workforce optimization solutions company, however, seeks to flip the script with its latest automated platform. Hubtrek’s latest technology solution, the TABi virtual assistant, evens the game for both large and small logistics providers alike. Hubtek’s Managing Director John McGinley discussed the company’s latest innovation in workforce solutions with FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller on an episode of “Fuller Speed Ahead” during the FreightWaves 3PL Summit on Tuesday, July 21.

Miami, Florida-based Hubtek provides process automation and staff augmentation to North American logistics companies. The company also offers nearshore staffing solutions through its offices in Colombia.

Hubtek’s mission, first and foremost, is to enable its customers to achieve efficiency and cost-effectiveness through either full or partial workforce automation. McGinley noted that for those wanting to streamline their company’s entire workflow, TABi is designed to completely automate the back office, sales and operations processes of any sized business.

Using robotic process automation (RPA) technology, Hubtek designed TABi to eliminate the need for workforces to grind their gears with time-consuming processes. Instead they now have the freedom to focus on more productive tasks. The platform provides users with automatic pricing and spot market ratings, fully processes emails and customer service requests, can track and trace freight loads, among other advanced offerings.

“TABi can be both a digital assistant with the worker or it can be utilized to be fully automated,” McGinley said. “Forty-five percent of the processes of a typical transportation company can be easily automated using Hubtek’s technology.”

For companies wanting to embrace automation but maintain a human element in their processes, McGinley suggests they consider implementing Hubtek’s Colombian nearshoring opportunities.

Labelling it “the Silicon Valley of South America,” McGinley expressed an appreciation for the city of Medellín, its virtuous tech industry, and the college-educated bilingual workforce that operates Hubtek’s southernmost office. 

Fuller echoed McGinley’s love for Colombia and its people and raved about the country’s efforts to change its image. Contrary to what most Americans think of Colombia, he acknowledged that the country has taken amazing steps to overcome its war-torn past and drug-fueled violence in recent years and has in fact made a complete turnaround.

Both McGinely and Fuller urge transportation companies of all sizes to consider the benefits of full or partial workforce automation. While it may literally sound like a foreign concept to employ a workforce in Colombia to broker your company’s freight as well as track and dispatch your fleet, nearshoring coupled with an automation platform like TABi can result in significant savings for a logistic company’s bottom line.

McGinely explained that the majority of the freight industry is fragmented and made up of small businesses in which 97% of the fleets operate 20 trucks or less and the vast majority of freight brokers employ only a handful of brokers.

“They’re going to have to compete with some of these big entrants like Uber Freight that have taken large chunks of market share in such a short period of time by applying technology,” McGinley said.

Fuller agreed and added that the digitization or “Uberization” of freight is going to compress margins over time, making the market ever-more competitive. He suggested that the only way that logistics providers can survive is to move into niche logistics sectors or find other ways to drive down a company’s cost factors. According to Fuller, adding an efficient and low-cost workforce to your company combined with automation is a win-win solution.

“There’s a lot of talk about the digitization of entire workflows,” McGinley said. “Those 20-person operations don’t really have a solution in place, but now they do with Hubtek.”