freight broker software
April 10, 2024

Collaborative Tools for Freight Brokers: Enhancing Communication Across Stakeholders

Axle Team

In his book, “How to Make a Few Billion Dollars,” XPO Logistics founder and Chairman Brad Jacobs wrote, “The truck broker who uses information most efficiently will get a load to its destination with the fewest empty miles, most fuel efficiency, and lowest cost.”

Communication is key in the freight brokerage industry. And freight brokers need to be armed with collaborative tools to improve communication among stakeholders – and help them make more money.

🔁Communication for Collaboration: Freight Broker Software for Peerless Collaboration

Jacobs wrote that when XPO was launched in 2011, “most truck brokers were still doing the bulk of their business over the phone instead of digitally. I could envision a time when everyone involved in these transactions – truck owners, drivers, dispatchers, retailers, manufacturers, and others – would demand digital service.”

That time is now. If a freight brokerage can’t efficiently provide real-time information, that brokerage is going to be replaced by one that can. Certainly, promising effective communication throughout the supply chain – from load booking to payment – is easier said than done, and most brokerages don’t have the technology war chest Jacobs did when he was building XPO.

Truckstop said a freight brokerage’s technology needs include a load board to find freight and connect with carriers, tools to find the best rates, a transportation management system (TMS), and customer relationship management (CRM) tools.

Freight brokerages that do not have multimillion-dollar tech budgets still can achieve real-time communication, shared visibility, and load assignment and tracking by partnering with a stellar provider of collaborative software tools, like Axle Technologies.

Implementing innovative tech solutions can pay dividends for freight brokers.

“Ten years ago, zero percent of XPO’s truck brokerage loads were created or covered digitally,” Jacobs wrote. “Today, 96 percent of loads tendered by RXO – the brokerage business we spun off in 2022 – have a digital component, and many of them are touchless transactions through direct digital connections with customer systems.

“We transformed the traditional brokerage business model by capitalizing on the intersection of two big, advantageous trends: the shift toward using truck brokers as middlemen, and the efficiencies of automated services in an industry where that was not yet the norm.”

Real-Time Communication

Armstrong Transport Group said, “To do their jobs effectively, freight brokers require maximum visibility into real-time data. Shippers want to know that their load will be picked up at Point A and delivered to Point B in the agreed-upon time. Carriers want to know when they can pick up a load and, upon completing a delivery, when they will get paid. The ability to proactively provide relevant information – such as carrier availability and load status – significantly increases a freight broker’s value to shippers and carriers.”

Axle provides a platform for real-time messaging and collaboration among brokers, shippers, carriers, and other stakeholders. This facilitates instant communication, enabling quick decision-making and problem-solving.

Shared Visibility

Axle offers tools for sharing visibility into shipment status, schedules, and documentation among all involved parties. This shared visibility enhances transparency and trust, allowing stakeholders to stay informed and aligned throughout the transportation process.

In fact, we designed our Beacon software to deliver the automation, speed, and accuracy that freight brokers need.

Task Assignment and Tracking

Axle enables brokers to assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress across different stakeholders. This helps streamline workflows, ensures accountability, and fosters collaboration by providing a centralized platform for managing tasks and responsibilities.

Beacon software automates the load-building process, meaning no more manual data entry. It also integrates with existing systems so brokers don’t have to bounce back and forth between solutions and user interfaces.

📢Communication is Key in the Broker Back Office

An EY report, “Embracing the automation revolution in trucking,” released in October 2023, said there may be no lights on in brokerage back offices in the not-so-distant future.

In that scenario, back-office functions “aren’t outsourced, offshored or nearshored – they are ‘no-shored.’ All company data sits in core systems, loaded into an AI solution. Information is fully available to executives through a type or voice prompt. Transactions are settled seamlessly and automatically, with matching happening at the same skill as a human reviewer,” the report said.

“The employees that remain are able to spend their time on higher complexity tasks, such as customer acquisition, growth strategies and competitive defense.”

For freight brokers, the EY report said, automating back-office operations allows them to “maintain a competitive edge over entities still adhering to conventional business methodologies.”

💰Axle’s Collaborative Tools Can Help Brokers Make More Money

“The transportation and logistics sector needs to be prepared for the strategic challenges and opportunities that will arise as a result of technology innovations,” the EY report said. “The benefits seem obvious, but successful transformation still requires a strategic mindset that balances the risks and the opportunities and gathers perspective from a variety of stakeholders.

“Technology is here to stay, but the policy and regulatory environment governing these technologies is uncertain. Logistics companies have a key role to play in both preparing for alternative technology scenarios and helping to determine which automation and AI scenario will share the future of trucking in the US,” it said.

Axle was founded in 2022 with the idea that the more networks of data can interact with each other, the more everyone will benefit.

At Axle, our mission is to make it easier to use data to build a better future of transportation and logistics. Our universal data platform combines data from hundreds of disparate sources from telematics providers, sensors, and more to enable new technologies in the critical freight brokerage industry.

In his book, Jacobs recommends “automate everything you can.” But it’s not necessary to recruit a CTO and build a transportation management system from the ground up. Axle has done the work for you.

Axle’s Beacon software automates workflows with AI to help freight brokers increase capacity by 30% to 40%, reduce errors, and bolster customer relationships. Beacon plugs directly into customers’ email inboxes and transportation management systems to automate data entry, scheduling, track and trace, and more.

Utilizing Beacon, freight brokers can rely on:

  • Integrated quoting for instant and accurate freight rates, load building, and appointment scheduling. Our integrated approach combines quoting and appointment scheduling, streamlining communication among freight brokers, shippers, and carriers. This integration minimizes errors in providing accurate quotes and ensures seamless coordination, reducing delays in the entire supply chain.
  • Real-time tracking and visibility, providing immediate load statuses. This transparency enables timely decision-making, reducing the chances of errors and enhancing the overall reliability of the freight logistics chain.
  • Appointment scheduling to set deliveries – and adjust them if necessary – seamlessly. This automation frees up freight brokers for other tasks.
  • Smart replies, which promise enhanced customer engagement and thus a better customer experience.

At Axle, we are focused on clearing freight brokerage chokepoints and ironing out kinks in the entire supply chain by building core infrastructure that enables innovative solutions. Our suite of solutions leverages the latest technology to help our customers harness the power of their data and build lasting customer relationships.

Book a demo to learn how Beacon can revolutionize your back – and front – office. Maybe you’ll make a few billion dollars too.

Written by
Axle Team

The future of transportation is built with Axle