Transportation companies big and small share the common dread of dealing with their back offices. While most would understandably rather focus on the front-end of the business, HubTran is dedicated entirely to automating and streamlining the critically important processes that function behind the scenes.
HubTran’s cloud-based Software-as-a-Service-based (SaaS) platform automatically processes invoices, bills customers, manages documents and factors funds. The company states it can reduce back-office work by up to 80% for brokers, third-party logistics providers (3PLs) and forwarders.
In November, HubTran earned the No. 22 spot on the 2020 FreightTech 25 list announced at FreightWaves LIVE in Chicago. The awards recognized the companies considered the most innovative and disruptive in freight today. One-hundred companies were nominated; the FreightTech 100 was winnowed to the top 25, and those were judged and ranked by an expert external panel with voting conducted by accounting firm Katz, Sapper & Miller (KSM).
HubTran CEO Matt Bernstein stated that until recently the back office has been an industry-wide afterthought and that most companies are unaware of how costly, inefficient and error-ridden these “pain points” can be.
“The back office is broken,” Bernstein said. Fragmentation among the thousands of transportation, logistics and factoring companies interacting with an endless list of shippers, 3PLs and brokers has created a chaotic environment of document sharing. Exchanging freight amongst this multi-party structure requires multiple players and countless document transactions, many of which are handled and entered into internal systems manually.
“It’s very hard for all companies to converge on a single standard,” Bernstein said. “If everybody did things identically this problem would’ve been solved a long time ago.”
But even as we enter an ever-increasing paperless world, documents still remain the record-keeping standard in transportation and logistics today. HubTran is at the forefront of the digital push for automating the back office.
According to Bernstein, HubTran is designed to do three things – interact in a very intelligent way with documents, interact intelligently with other machines, and interact in a reasonable way with human beings.
HubTran uses optical character recognition (OCR), machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) that gains an increased understanding of your system with each unique document it scans.
Not only does the application learn with time, but it’s also able to communicate with other systems as well. HubTran was designed to be pre-integrated with major transportation management systems (TMS) and factoring applications.
Bernstein noted that although it does all the heavy-lifting, HubTran gives users the ultimate control of the data. “HubTran automates, but it gives users an understanding of what’s happening and allows them to override and review its decision making,” Bernstein said.
HubTran also offers a mobile document scanning app that simplifies the often complicated process of sending documents to factors. Some of its features include automatically detecting and cleaning up document images as well as the ability to scan without network access and uploading when a connection is available.
“HubTran’s core value propositions are to allow our customers to automate, validate, integrate and simplify their workload and processes,” said Vice President Joshua Asbury.
Asbury noted the abundance of companies in the industry that specialize in document management solutions but added that none of them have the machine learning capabilities that HubTran possesses such as the ability to integrate with almost every TMS.
“Nobody else is doing what we do,” said Asbury. “It’s not to say that we don’t have any competition, but there really isn’t anyone else that does it nearly as well as we do it.”
Asbury attributes HubTran’s unique trailblazing mainly to the fact that most investments in technology have not focused on untangling back-office kinks. However, Bernstein and Asbury both agree that industries are slowly beginning to shift attention towards fixing these problems.
“People are starting to look at the back office and say, ‘we spend a lot of time and money here and it’s really inefficient and inaccurate,’” said Asbury. “If we’re going to grow as a business, we need to take those people and their time and move them into growth-centered activities as opposed to simply processing documents.”
He continued, “The problem that HubTran solves is really interesting to me in that no one’s focused on the back office yet and this is such a ripe thing. People are really beginning to take notice.”
Since its founding, HubTran has amazingly thrived having only one salesperson. Flying under the radar has seemed to work well for the company, however. Bernstein attributes most of HubTran’s growth to word of mouth endorsements.
“When we started just a few short years ago we had only a handful of brave pilot customers,” Bernstein said. “Now we have 300 customers and we’re doubling every year.”