You’ve probably heard phrases like “digital freight matching” being thrown around a lot lately. If you haven’t heard of digital freight matching, you’ve likely heard “the ‘Uber’-ization of freight” or “on-demand trucking.”
Whatever you want to call it, they’re all referring to what is basically the same thing — an easy button for the movement of freight.
In today’s world of same day, next day, and two-day delivery, the need for a quick and more efficient way to connect carriers with shippers and brokers is becoming more urgent. That’s why right now, every player in the transportation industry is currently staking a claim on what it is, what it means to them, and how they stand out from the competition in their digital freight matching platform (if it doesn’t currently exist for them, there are promises it will soon!).
All of these various definitions of digital freight matching can seem like a lot of noise since they vary widely from one another in what they are and what they do. So, let’s start with how it’s being defined in the marketplace, and let’s end with all of the things digital freight matching actually could be.
What is digital freight matching?
Digital freight matching is the idea that a carrier can just tap and go, meaning the carrier taps to accept a load at a posted rate, and then they hit the road.
The carrier would start by setting up a profile with their list of preferences in their preferred digital freight matching mobile app. For example, they’ll select their preferred lanes, their truck’s capabilities, any additional certifications (hazmat, over-sized, etc.), and loads would come through as an alert on their phone. Drivers can choose to accept the load if the price, location, haul, and timing are right for them.
Behind what the driver sees, there is a shipper or broker posting the freight they need moved. In order for this idea of a digital freight matching easy button to work, load details must be included. Without knowing details like weight, rate, distance, and pick-up and delivery locations, a carrier can’t confidently commit to moving the load. Imagine the headache that could ensue if a carrier deadheads hundreds of miles for a load requiring a hazmat certificate. Everyone loses time and money in a scenario like that: The shipper or broker has to find a new driver, the driver lost time and money in driving, the pick-up location still needs a pick up, and the receiver is likely going to have a late delivery.
There’s a lot more that goes into making freight matching as simple as swiping left or right on a load.
An ideal digital freight matching experience should have the ability to predictively and proactively push matches out to its users. It should prioritize a user’s preferred business partners. It should have wide geographic coverage and automatically track loads so shippers and brokers know exactly where their freight is and when it is delivered.
What are the benefits of digital freight matching?
What’s great about digital freight matching is that it addresses some of the most painful parts of the freight negotiation process for both carriers AND brokers. For example:
- It should eliminate the “post and pray” approach to load and truck posting.
- It can shorten the amount of time spent between getting a load posted and having it filled by a carrier.
- It should eliminate the time spent making phone calls trying to find or book a load.
- It should automate the process for finding a qualified partner, rate, and load so users know they’re working with reputable partners.
- It should eliminate the time and effort spent in trying to fax paper documents to confirm the load.
A good digital freight matching program should be able to do more than just simplify the negotiation process. In fact, it should:
- Provide digital messaging and paperwork like invoices, contracts, etc.
- Connect partners seamlessly.
- Provide insights for business growth and profit.
- Have a quick-pay solution.
- Provide predictive matching so drivers stay loaded.
- Auto-match capacity to load for brokers.
- Integrate into a transportation management system (TMS) or on any mobile device.
If this all seems a bit like a dream, it is. No one in the current marketplace can do all of the things a complete software solution should when it comes to digital freight matching. Of the companies currently advertising “on-demand freight” or an “easy button” for connecting loads to drivers, no one is able to offer a full-service program – meaning a single platform so users can go from the initial load being posted by the broker or shipper to the pay check being deposited to the driver’s account automatically.
How is Truckstop.com joining the digital freight matching movement?
Digital freight matching is being talked about in the transportation industry as a new concept when Truckstop.com has always provided the ability to connect brokers and carriers digitally. As with any other equivalent software or app, Truckstop.com users must input a certain amount of information to connect to the right broker or carrier. It’s the tap and go part of digital freight matching that’s relatively new (and a slight oversimplification).
Truckstop.com is entering this new era of freight matching by focusing on the opportunity to provide a single, seamless solution for freight matching.
Truckstop.com users already have access to a wide variety of features like rate tools, heat maps, payment options, and load tracking (just to name a few), and we’ve spent the past year building and improving upon our suite of products with the end goal of providing a full-circle transportation software system for brokers and carriers.
In August, Jeff Allen joined the Truckstop.com team as Chief Technology Officer. With more than 25 years of experience bringing consumer technology products and programs to market, he’ll leverage his extensive experience to further develop the Truckstop.com software solutions currently available. Jeff brings an impressive record of designing, developing, and commercializing world-famous digital platforms and services for companies like Microsoft (Xbox Live), WMS Gaming, and Redbox.
We’ve added amazing companies like Grizella and D&S Factors which help position Truckstop as an industry leader in the transportation payments area. We brought industry great Roy Banks on as President of LoadPay to guide and grow our payments initiative into a leading transportation payment solution. Banks confirms that “there’s a tremendous opportunity to simplify and bring payment efficiencies to the transportation industry.” With his extensive payment processing industry experience, he’s the perfect fit to guide, lead, and grow Grizella, D&S Factors, and LoadPay.
- Grizella software (which includes SaferWatch™) focuses on data management, information sharing, and relationship building. It’s technology that supports better decision making and business efficiency by automating data sourcing and repetitive tasks like data entry. SaferWatch is the transportation industry’s leading technology for motor carrier information, risk management solutions, and compliance monitoring.
- D&S Factors specializes in factoring for truck drivers and others in the transportation industry. Factoring is when a business sells their accounts receivables to a company that funds them at a faster rate allowing the business to better manage cash flow. Factoring can be beneficial for drivers when they often have to wait 30-90 days to get paid for the freight they’ve hauled. Factoring with D&S eliminates the hassle of collecting funds due from customers since allowing more time for other business needs.
- LoadPay is a seamless payment solution for brokers and carriers. Brokers can streamline their back office and earn 2% back on every load when carriers use PayMeNow™. Carriers have a free, secure way to get paid quickly and easily since funds can automatically deposit into their account on the term date. There’s even a PayMeNow™ option for a flat rate of 2.99%.
Truckstop.com is working to smooth the noisy, chaotic, multi-system interface between freight and capacity by automating connections to make everyone involved in the movement of freight more efficient. Our end goal is a single system to manage the connections – from finding, vetting, rating, managing, optimizing, tracking, insuring, and paying.
Stay tuned in!
Truckstop.com knows that this is where the industry is heading, and as the original and first load board on the internet, we think we know a little bit about being innovative.
What will really start to separate the players from the MVPs is scale – meaning that a digital freight matching easy button is only going to work if there are a lot of shipments moving through the system, so brokers can find carriers, and carriers can find loads. If there are enough loads being posted to the platform and enough carriers using the platform to connect with those loads, you’ll have a winning system. Truckstop.com has that now with a load board the trucking industry relies on.
The future of the digital freight matching process should be able to provide more than just a “Buy it now!” ability. Rather, digital freight matching has the potential to provide a full-circle, seamless process for all users. A carrier should be able to do everything from accept the initial load to get paid upon delivering that load. A broker should experience the same simple process from posting the load to paying a carrier for delivery of that load.
Truckstop.com is a known leader with an extensive team of innovators which gives us a great advantage – no matter how many players are on the field. And we are hard at work driving innovation forward. It’s what we do, because no matter what, we are always working to find a better way.