One of the biggest time drains for brokers across the board is carrier selection — the carrier selection process, depending on how you’re doing it, can be quick and easy, or can be long and painful…
Or worse, long, painful, and expensive.
You see, selecting carriers without a TMS is often pretty difficult. Of course, for most brokers who are just starting out, you’re going to be (usually) locked into working with a handful of carriers with whom you have a relationship.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can definitely limit your options — which in turn limits what you can provide to your customers.
If your goal is to provide excellent customer service, you need the ability to provide your customers with as many carrier options as possible. They won’t care why you’re not able to fulfill their needs if you don’t have a carrier who can help them — they’ll just remember that you weren’t able to get the job done.
However, many quality TMSs give you several ways around this problem, allowing you to not only choose between a wider range of carriers, but to also do so in an efficient and timely manner.
A good TMS is going to simplify the carrier selection process by giving you access to all the major load boards.
Now, maybe you’re thinking “Wait, I already have access to all the major load boards!” After all, you can create log ins and visit each load board separately.
I’m sure you do — but the question is, can you easily (and quickly) sort through all those options, all in one window on your computer?
A good TMS will let you do that.
What a lot of your customers may not understand is that, just because a carrier is available right now, doesn’t mean that carrier is going to be available in 10 minutes, or in an hour, or in 6…
Carriers need to stay on the move to stay profitable — nobody wants to sit around idling unless they absolutely have to.
And you know this. You know that load boards can change and update quickly. You know that, sometimes, you have to grab the available carrier and go — you don’t have time to compare options.
A good TMS will compare those options for you — and quickly.
Without a TMS, you may find that load boards are a last resort, something that you only turn to when you have no options.
But, if you have a powerful TMS, load boards suddenly become useful again, a tool that isn’t necessarily going to give you bad options — that may actually give you some seriously competitive prices.
But load board integrations aren’t the only way to leverage your TMS in the carrier selection process to increase efficiency.
The truth is, your carriers aren’t always going to have the best rates for every shipping lane — it’s often the case that a better rate can be found if you look hard enough.
However, that’s extremely time consuming, and outside of load boards, it can be difficult to connect with other carriers to find out what their rates are in a reasonable amount of time. You often have to go to carrier websites (quite a few of them) and enter in the same information over and over. Not only that, but it all depends on the relationships you’ve cultivated with those carriers.
And, by the time you’ve racked up a number of quotes, some of those carriers might have changed rates or taken other jobs, and you might be left having to explain to your customers why you can’t help them.
And nobody wants that.
Instead of manually working your way through the carrier selection process, the smart broker employs a TMS with a feature like RateShare™, a feature that allows you to access carriers you don’t have a contract with, to sort through all available carriers, and to quickly see, in one screen, how the rates compare.
All by entering the required information in a single place, rather than across a dozen windows on your computer.
With software like that, the carrier selection process suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
Brokers live on the margins — oftentimes, all it takes is a bad month or two, and those slim margins of the previous month become unable to sustain the current state of affairs.
No one wants that.
Brokers who employ as much automation as possible are able to cut costs severely, allowing them to stick it out and make it through the lean times until they can drum up more business.
Load board integrations and features like RateShare™ help you become more efficient and save money by reducing, eliminating, or automating repetitive tasks. This often allows brokers to reduce staffing costs as well.