Jones Logistics moves over 150,000 open-deck loads a year, but the specialized
nature of the work made it labor-intensive. Even with modern technologies that
allowed for simple digital booking capabilities, Jones found each load still
required the involvement of a sales representative.
The issue was its transportation
management system (TMS). It’s not that the system was bad, it just wasn’t
customized to the unique needs of Jones Logistics or its customers. So when
Parade launched its Book Now feature in
March 2019, Jones felt a solution was at hand.
“We saw that we could automate
almost all of the booking process with Parade’s Book Now, but we would still
require one of our representatives to manually generate and send a rate
confirmation to that carrier — we knew we could take the automation one step
further,” said Tim Blackwell, vice president of technology for Jones Logistics.
Working with Parade, an artificial intelligence-powered freight workflow platform, Jones came up with that solution through a custom integration. The result is that loads in key lanes in the Jones Logistics network can now be booked automatically, with all aspects of the loads handled through the Parade integration with Jones’ existing TMS.
“After acknowledging the
limitations of our TMS and exploring options, we eventually figured out that we
already own a product that allows us to schedule workflow tasks and that could
handle our rate confirmations. We just needed to modify it a little,” Blackwell
said. “It became a matter of identifying the key pieces of data, asking the
right questions within the SQL server, and then connecting it all to the email
server to send out.”
Carriers can find matched loads and
submit quotes on Book Now through Jones’ Partner Page with Parade, then the load is automatically assigned into Jones’ TMS via
Parade. Carriers automatically receive trucking rate confirmations through
Jones’ custom workflow powered by Parade’s secure automation.
“If a driver or carrier can book
the load themselves, then our reps can spend more time talking to the customer,
allowing us to focus our energies on meeting all of their needs and
challenges,” said Alex Maurer, director of operations for Jones Logistics.
Carriers and technology providers
are jumping into the digital brokerage arena, seeing significant savings in both
time and cost as a result. In 2018, venture capitalists poured nearly $3
billion into freight tech companies, many of them building digital brokerages.
Consultancy Frost & Sullivan has predicted that digital freight brokerage
will generate revenues of $54.2 billion by 2025.
For Jones Logistics, the answer was
finding a partner that understood its unique needs.
“We’ll have 300 loads get booked
and then canceled or diverted immediately,” Maurer said. “We talked to a lot of
other tech providers who would try to assign the van model to Jones Logistics,
and it just wasn’t going to work.
“You have to find somebody who is
innovative, who’s willing to stick with you and work with you through the
process,” Maurer added. “We don’t house our own TMS, we didn’t build our TMS,
so we have to work within what the TMS provides. The fact that we work with
vendors who are creative and innovative allows us to be successful.”