What Can Freight Brokers Do When It’s Tough To Find Load Coverage?

Freight brokers are on the front lines of the trucking industry. They act as an intermediary between shippers and carriers, which is not an easy job. Plenty of freight brokers claim to have been under pressure from their shippers because they could not find trucking companies who could provide them with quality service in a timely manner.

What do freight brokers do when it’s tough to find load coverage? What should they consider before hiring new carriers?

The Problem

A scenario where a broker gets a call from their shipper complaining about truck drivers is not uncommon. Perhaps the trucker was late, handled the freight poorly, or was even impolite.

The consequences of this issue are evident – the shipper will not want to work with the broker again. The next time a customer has freight that needs to be moved, the broker is forced to scramble for available and reputable carriers. This problem could lead to an even bigger issue – lack of load coverage, which means increased wait times for their customers’ shipments.

Carrier Sourcing

What are the best methods for finding reputable, high-performing carriers? Carrier sourcing is one way to begin this process.

Referrals

Arguably the easiest and most effective way to find carriers is through referrals. Ask other licensed freight brokers you come in contact with if they have any carriers they would recommend.

A list of recommended carriers can also be compiled based on past experiences, for example, how long it takes for their shipments to reach the destination, what was done with the freight during transit, and whether or not they were on time.

Load Boards

Load boards are online places that provide brokers with a way to list their available loads and find carriers capable of moving that type of shipment. If the broker is not looking for anything in particular or has open slots on their trucks, load boards allow them to take bids from potential carriers interested in working with them.

This method is beneficial because it allows brokers to compare rates and customer feedback about carriers interested in their loads.

Using software with integrated load boards is a great way to streamline the process of finding carriers. Software is one way in which a broker can save time when looking for new carriers, but they should always double-check references before signing with a new company.

FMCSA Data

Although it is presented as a viable option for finding carriers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) data should be used with caution. Some brokers are wary about the information reported in this database because there have been cases where shippers or drivers report false grievances against competitors to take business away from them.

Other Options

Social media and Google are not the best options for finding carriers, especially when a broker is under pressure to find load coverage quickly.

If a load is posted using such services, drivers who are only close by and on social media may assist you. A Google search will not provide a broker with an accurate picture of the available carriers.

Pinpointing a Good Carrier

Once you find a viable carrier option for your next load, it is important to know what you are looking for to make the right choice. What makes a carrier high-quality?

Being on time is one of the most critical factors when determining if a carrier will benefit your brokerage business. Being late can cause many issues that could create problems down the line, such as missed connections and unhappy shippers.

Are they insured? What types of loads do they typically carry? Will there be enough room for other items you need to transfer, or will they need to be transported on a different truck? What is the carrier’s payment policy, and what is their online reputation like?

Focus on these points as a way of finding carriers who are high-quality.

Price Points

Understandably, no one wants to go for the most expensive carrier, but, keep in mind, quality services come at a price.

Be sure to find out what the cost of the load will be before you choose which carrier to use. Low-paying loads typically come with low-quality drivers. There are exceptions to the rule, but they are not the norm.

There is also a chance you may have to pay more than what was quoted if unexpected charges or fees are involved in transporting your shipment.

High-quality carriers charge higher than average rates for their services, but they also typically provide better customer service and have more experience behind them.

Being a Reliable Broker

You will obtain better odds in finding good-quality carriers for yourself and your customers if you establish yourself as a trustworthy broker.

What is it that makes a broker reliable?

One factor would be how often you offer your services and the types of rates and charges you give out. If there are constant changes or difficulties in getting payments from clients, this can make it harder for drivers to trust you as a broker.

One of the most significant factors is respecting the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. HOS determines the number of hours truck drivers are allowed to work, the off-time they need between shifts, and how long they can drive.

As a broker, it’s your responsibility to know these regulations so you’re not giving out loads to carriers who will be breaking them or giving impossible deadlines. If you do this, it won’t be easy to find good-quality carriers who are willing to work with you and your brokerage business.

Speeding Up Your Processes

Lastly, as a broker, choosing an appropriate carrier can be difficult if your process slows you down.

What can be done to speed up your workflow?

The first thing is utilizing your resources and contacts as much as possible. They will most likely know the best carriers around and may even have worked with them before. Existing relationships can also make it easier for drivers to trust brokers with whom they work frequently.

Having a designated system in place is also essential to ensure that you aren’t wasting time and energy with tedious and inefficient workflows. Having your schedule, invoices, contracts, etc., all set up in one place can help you access them quickly when needed.

Transportation management system (TMS) software helps brokers implement automatic processes by creating an organized structure that makes it easy for drivers and carriers who you work with to access information.

Conclusion

Finding efficient, timely, and responsible carriers can be tricky when you are in the freight brokerage business.

Speeding up your processes also plays a role in how quickly you can find suitable carriers to provide reliable transportation for loads. This means having an organized system that makes it easy to access the necessary information when needed. Additionally, using TMS software will make sure everything runs smoothly and efficiently.

If you’re interested in checking out freight brokerage software that will revolutionize your business and help you find load coverage in no time, contact us at Tai Software for more information. We’d be happy to help you out!

 

What Should Freight Brokers Look for in Their TMS Software?

Freight brokers are a major aspect in the business world, who make sure that cargo is delivered on time and without any issues. Freight brokers need TMS software that will help them increase their efficiency and provide a return on investment for the freight brokerage. TMS software needs to be able to do everything from order tracking, customer service, and accounting in one place. Before choosing any TMS software, freight brokers must ensure that it includes a variety of TMS capabilities in order to maximize its use and get the most out of it.

TMS software should allow the freight brokerage business to handle many, if not all, tasks in managing their company. That may include truck dispatch, driver billing/payroll, route planning, GPS tracking of vehicles, and more.

Consider the different types of TMS software that will cater to your needs. For example, for a small organization of freight brokers who are only responsible for facilitating one shipment between two manufacturers (and not considering many other points), there may be less need to dedicate resources or features towards procurement management.

What Will The Right TMS Software Do For Your Freight Brokerage Operation?

The TMS freight broker software should have the right features including access to various carriers, detailed cargo tracking and reporting tools for load pickups, and delivery status updates. That being said, there are several reasons why businesses might need something more freight industry-specific than traditional TMS.

A freight brokerage company will have the opportunity to save time, money, and resources for its clients. In other words, it will act as an outsourced shipping department for companies by providing them with value in the form of business cost savings.

It’s for this reason why the TMS freight broker software should not only cover TMS features but also customer-specific needs. That said, there are several common features that all freight broker-specific TMS systems need to have. Among these, we can include the following:

Matching Specific Freight to the Right Carriers

One of the most important TMS features that freight brokers need to look out for is the ability to match specific freight with carriers. Aside from basic freight matching, the TMS software also needs to be able to identify which carrier will offer the most cost-effective solution for a given shipment or modes of transportation and provide an accurate estimate of delivery times and costs associated with each option.

A TMS system should also allow freight brokers to set up their preferred shipping options and carriers. If they need to ship refrigerated freight, for instance, the TMS platform should be able to consider the needs of the shipment and present only carriers that offer refrigerated trucks.

Carrier Pricing Comparisons

Freight brokers need to be able to compare prices so that they’re always getting the best available deal for their customers – even if this means shipping with a less popular carrier at times because it will offer rates that are better than the alternative.

In addition, the TMS freight broker software should allow for more than just a simple price comparison. It’s also necessary to have access to carrier information such as operating guidelines and hours of service. The TMS freight broker software should also provide real-time carrier rates constantly updated throughout each day or week.

Automation Capabilities

TMS freight brokerage software should also be able to automate many of the day-to-day tasks associated with managing a logistics business.

For instance, most transportation management software comes equipped with automated functions like shipment creation and tracking; these are features that make life easier for busy brokers who don’t have time to worry about minor tasks.

In addition, TMS freight broker software should come equipped with its own electronic document management system that can be accessed from any device. This helps manage the work efficiently and is especially handy when a professional freight broker needs access to documents or reports while on location at an airport terminal, for example.

The TMS freight management software should also track and integrate with the TMS of customers, vendors, carriers, and trucking companies.

Integrate with Load Boards

Another essential transportation management software feature that’s important is integrating with load boards and other freight brokerage software. The majority of freight brokers will have to use load boards such as DAT, TruckStop.com, LoadSmart, or 123LoadBoard, among others. Such a freight board acts as an online marketplace where freight brokers can find loads from competing carriers.

TMS freight broker software should be able to integrate with these load boards and other common freight brokerage operations such as FTL load booking and trucking freight rate quotes – all of which are a part of the lifeblood for any successful freight broker business. This will allow brokers to source their load coverage from a single platform and update their listings across multiple load boards as necessary and from a single, centralized location.

Direct Carrier Integration

Direct carrier integrations are TMS features that allow freight brokers to have access to carriers’ systems from their own TMS. Freight brokers need to match pricing and availability data with carriers to make informed decisions on what is best suited for their customer needs. The connection can be made through an application programming interface (API) and electronic data interchange (EDI) integrations.

This TMS freight broker software is crucial because it can provide access to the full range of carrier data, including rate quotes and customer information. It also provides a way for freight brokers to update their customers on delivery status without manually logging in or making phone calls.

The TMS should also support EDI integration because this will allow them to send and receive shipments electronically instead of via faxes or paper copies that are inefficient. This is necessary because it provides a secure connection between the two parties involved in the transaction.

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