Your brokerage may offer unmatched service, but keeping business afloat requires forward thinking.
We started a tech-based brokerage startup last year, raised venture capital, and moved freight for high-volume shippers. Even though our technology proved to be immensely effective, we weren't catering to enough players in the industry, so we left the brokerage business to help other brokerages.
As a startup, we're constantly looking for new ways to improve efficiency, provide better customer support, and increase customer margins. We set out to apply tech thinking to the trucking industry with those values in mind. Here are two approaches we take to help our customers up their game:
Running your Brokerage like a Startup
1. Cut Mindless Admin Work.
There's a principle in coding called DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself). Anytime you find yourself going through repetitive tasks, don't accept that it just "comes with the territory." Are you constantly making check calls, sending emails, and filing BOL's? Why?
Affordable solutions already exist that can save you operational hours every single day, and those hours add up. When you avoid repeating tedious, administrative tasks you get more operational bandwidth. More operational bandwidth means more time available for attracting new business and offering a better customer experience. A better customer experience means more repeat business, more freight, and more revenue. Be on the look out for ways to automate your mindless tasks, and remember:
2. Use Real Data
Have you been offered something along the lines of "real-time visibility" via EDI or other means? Did you believe them? We've been able to acquire new customers simply by proving that most brokers are lying about their data.
A large portion of tracking providers enter data manually. Not only does that mean bad data for your customers (which damages your relationship and reputation over time), it also means more human labor spent on mindless admin work!
Don't make decisions based on guesses. Don't make more work for yourself. Using real data saves you time (and money) in the moment, and it saves you time (and money!) down the line. Avoid detention fees by knowing exactly where your trucks are in real-time and easily resolve disputes by accurately auditing your loads. Real data means real confidence in your capacity.
Life is full of surprises, your loads don't need to be one of them. Use technology that offers real data, data with integrity, for you and your customer's sake.
The bigger they are...
Being a smaller brokerage has its benefits because you can adapt faster. If you're looking to give your business an edge and remain competitive with the billion dollar brokerages taking over the market, try out the two approaches above. Don't just think like a startup, act like one too. There's always room for improvement.
The Long Haul is written by Parade, exploring the evolving relationship between technology and the transportation industry.
[Photo: Flickr user Heisenberg Media]