How Freight Management Technology Can Enhance Processes and Relationships
Technology should enhance your transportation experiences, not replace trusted relationships with experienced agents who can strategically deploy technology to ensure that shipments progress smoothly and provide help when necessary.
Q. For shippers, where does freight management technology excel and where does it fall flat?
A. When managing freight, using technology, such as a transportation management system or a real-time shipment visibility and tracking app, is a great way to save time and increase efficiencies for everyone involved in a shipment. However, when unexpected events happen, relying on technology alone often comes up short in troubleshooting issues and assuring the customer that the situation is under control.
An experienced freight agent using good old-fashioned personal communication is critical in getting the shipment back on track.
Let’s face it, managing freight is never easy and rarely goes according to plan. Requirements often change and unforeseen obstacles arise. That is why experienced agents armed with the latest technology are best at navigating the complexities and challenges of managing freight.
Q. Should technology be a consideration in choosing a freight transportation company?
A. As transportation solution providers, it falls on us to explain, or better yet, demonstrate why the people behind the technology are as important as the tech itself. For a shipper, the right technology will increase shipment visibility, improve response times, and facilitate better overall communication.
For a freight management company, technology can be strategically deployed across the shipment lifecycle to help run the business more efficiently and improve customer service.
Q. What should shippers know about the technology their transportation company uses?
A. Technology should not be a replacement for an experienced freight agent. It should enhance the agent’s ability to quickly access information and make better decisions. Ideally, the internal tools linking dispatchers to shippers and drivers should foster more streamlined communication, enabling all parties to react quickly with the most up-to-date information if a shipment encounters a problem.
The same applies to customer-facing technology—it should enrich communications between the shipper and the freight management company by providing improved access to information and overall shipment visibility. It should not be used as a replacement for person-to-person contact or add additional work for the customer.
Successful freight agents make customers aware that transportation management technologies are often a combination of proprietary and/or off-the-shelf industry software. A shipper should understand how the transportation company integrates and deploys its technology and what it can expect from their customer experience to meet its specific needs.
More often than not, technology saves time and money, but, as the saying goes, there’s an exception to every rule. That’s why it’s critical for customers to understand that technology should enhance their transportation experiences, not replace trusted relationships with experienced agents who can strategically deploy technology to ensure that shipments progress smoothly and provide help when necessary.