Inside the World of FreightWaves with Craig Fuller

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It’s not every day we get to speak with a founder that’s innovating an entire industry. We were lucky enough to pick Craig Fuller’s brain learning all about the FreightWaves founding story.

We found out that Craig’s dad started U.S. Express, which Craig’s brother runs as the CEO with 10,000 + employees. Craig ended up working with his dad at one point on a payments venture which caused tensions within the Fuller family.

Craig got interested in markets day trading and came up with an idea to start FreightWaves by creating a data product and then covering topics in the freight market to give context to their data.

Craig’s dad initially didn’t invest in FreightWaves, but it came full circle when Craig got to interview his father Max on Fuller Speed Ahead. There’s a ton of learnings in this episode as Craig is a true pioneer in the logistics industry.

3PL Systems Team

Mastering Sales with Richard Harris

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In this episode of 3PL Live, host Jeremy Thone speaks with Richard Harris™ of The Harris Consulting group about the art of mastering inside sales.

Richard is one of the most influential sales leaders in the software industry with clients such as Google, Visa, and SalesLoft. He teaches sales reps how to ask the right questions at the right times.

We talk about impostor syndrome, sales automation programs, and mental health. Thanks for listening. We appreciate the support, and please share, like, and comment if you enjoyed it.

3PL Systems Team

3PL Systems Employee Spotlight on Blake Rangell

At 3PL Systems, we make Transportation Management Software with a lot of moving parts. We hire talented U.S. based technical support representatives to support our client base.

We appreciate the contributions of our team. In this episode of 3PL Live, we turn the spotlight on our staff and speak with Blake Rangell about supporting our clients with EDI 204, 210, 214, and API tracking/tracing.

We also talk about some popular integrations, including Hubtran for process automation and DAT onboarding.

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Solving a Driver Shortage with Tristan Bordallo

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3PL Systems is excited to share a founding story in the transportation community.

In this 3PL Live episode, we speak with Tristan Bordallo of Iamfr8 INC about leaving a comfortable role at Covenant Transportation to starting an asset-based trucking company with no financing, trucks, or drivers.

Tristan realized that one way to fix the driver shortage in the industry is to pay the drivers fair wages; his drivers make 75k a year. Iiamfr8 treats drivers so well. Tristan has more drivers than trucks, with 4 more drivers wanting to come on board.

If you like entrepreneurship and salesmanship, this is a great story worth checking out.

Click here to listen to the episode.

3PL Systems Team

Rise Transportation with Chris Wilson

At 3PL systems, we enjoy highlighting entrepreneurs in the supply chain and their founding stories through our podcast 3PL Live. 

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In this episode of 3PL Live, Chris Wilson from Rise Transportation shares his entrepreneurship story about bootstrapping a 3PL right before the pandemic hit!

Chris shut down his freight brokerage for two whole months during the pandemic but weathered the storm. Rise Transportation is expecting a strong Q4 with several hundred shipments in the books.

We talk about entrepreneurship, marketing, and running a small business.

If you’re in the freight brokerage business, having a reliable partner in Transportation Management Software (TMS) can increase your revenue potential.

FreightWaves

Check out our Marketing Manager, Jeremy Thone’s segment on FreightWave’s “What the Truck?” with hosts Dooner and The Dude. At 30:38, Thone plays it forward with a self-composed tune leading into speaking about the innovative culture 3PL Systems’ CEO is building with his team of engineers. Be sure to catch the bit about ShipMind. This integration can automatically advance a shipment through rating, choosing the carrier, dispatching the load, and pushing through to invoiced.

TMS UTILIZATION — YOUR COMPETITION IS USING A TMS, AND YOU SHOULD TOO

A recent article out of Logistics Management had something very interesting to say about TMS adoption in small-to-medium-sized companies (which includes most freight brokerages).

Here’s what the article had to say:

“Historically, TMS adoption rates for smaller shippers have hovered in the 10% range, according to De Muynck, while about 25% of medium-sized firms and 50% of large organizations used the application to manage their freight activities.

“These adoption rates are now rising thanks to the fact that most TMSs are now available in the Cloud and on a subscription-based model. ‘Recently, we’ve seen about 15% growth in TMS usage within the small- to mid-sized businesses market.’”

If you’re a new freight broker trying to break into the industry, or even if you’re an experienced broker who’s always hovered around the small-to-medium market, this means that the competition is starting to gain a technological advantage, and they’re doing so quickly.

Cloud TMS services, like our flagship product, BrokerWare™, allow the little guys to get a leg up on the competition. It used to be the case that small brokers were basically competing with each other on the basis of customer service — there just wasn’t a big difference price-wise or quality wise between different freight brokers.

Even 10 years ago, dealing with a TMS, the management of which and the implementation of which could be costly, time consuming, and of unclear value to the few small brokers who could afford it, was just not something that made a whole lot of sense.

Even in the mid market, you just didn’t see it very often — the price was high, training was a nightmare, and unless you had a huge list of recurring clients, it wasn’t even something you really needed.

That’s all changed now thanks to cloud-based TMSs.

TMS UTILIZATION ISN’T AS DIFFICULT AS IT ONCE WAS

Nowadays, many smaller freight brokers are adopting TMSs, often before they even get up and running, which allows them to be highly efficient from the get go and to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Now, I do want to take a step back here and make it clear that this only applies to paid TMSs — free TMSs just aren’t robust enough to help you set yourself apart.

That being said, one of the biggest factors that used to keep small-to-medium-sized businesses from adopting a TMS was the need for training — day-to-day TMS management just wasn’t something you could pick up easily, the systems were clunky for a long time, and getting buy-in from staff could be a nightmare, especially as you got towards the mid end of the small-to-mid market.

But it’s not 2003 anymore — we’ve come a long way, and

Simpler is better, especially if you already have a lot of employees. The last thing you want to do is to have to undergo weeks or months of training sessions, which not only can cost you up front, but which also costs you in lost productivity.

The truth is, a quality system, especially a cloud-based system that isn’t going to require a huge investment upfront, is going to be easier to implement. When it comes to a TMS, management needs to be as simple and straightforward as possible, and the less you have to manage on-site (and the more your TMS provider is managing on their end), the fewer problems you have to worry about.

A TMS DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM THE COMPETITION — BUT SOON IT WILL BE REQUIRED FOR BUSINESS

As it stands now, a TMS is something that can really set you apart. For most freight brokers, it’s difficult to compete on price, it’s difficult to compete on quality, most of your customers view you as a commodity, and even providing excellent customer service can be just enough to keep people from hating you.

It’s sad, but it’s the truth.

All of this means one thing — you need to be as efficient as possible in order to make a buck.

A TMS is one of the few ways you can really achieve higher levels of efficiency. Many brokers find that they can reduce staffing levels by using a TMS.

They also find that they can more regularly achieve higher profit margins because the TMS quickly and efficiently compares clients and carriers.

Add to that auto-generated paperwork and a reduction in the amount of data entry required (which reduces errors), and you can see why more and more brokers are adopting TMSs.

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW SIMPLE IT CAN BE TO IMPLEMENT A TMS IN YOUR BROKERAGE

If you’re ready to become a more efficient and effective broker, we’d love to help.

Contact us today to find out how our TMS BrokerWare™ can help you jumpstart your business.

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IMPROVE YOUR LTL CAPABILITIES: AUTOMATICALLY DISPATCH TRUCKS FOR LTL LOADS

When you’re managing a business that operates primarily with Less-Than-Truckload shipments (LTL), you’ve already got a lot on your plate to manage multiple shipments.

From finding them, handling documentation, providing quotes, booking the shipment, to the invoicing – it’s a lot to keep on top of for effective shipping.

Plus, there’s the obvious: dispatching.

DISPATCHING IS AN ENTIRE JOB ROLE ITSELF.

Managing all the loads your business handles often means you need an entire position dedicated to scheduling all of the loads you’ve taken on.  When you’re overseeing a hundred loads or more a month, keeping them all straight isn’t easy.

That’s where the ability to automatically dispatch your LTL loads becomes so valuable – something that BrokerWare™ offers along with the other technology capabilities that help manage your brokerage.

You can increase your capacity to manage LTL loads without having to hire more dispatchers.  Instead, they’re able to dispatch trucks without having to call or email multiple points of contact to coordinate the loads.

This leaves your human dispatcher to work on thornier problems, such as customer support or complex shipping routes.

If you’re a smaller business, you may not have a dedicated dispatcher on your payroll.  Utilizing automatic dispatching can help you increase your capacity enough to grow your business to afford one – and take on more shipments each month.

BREAK DOWN THE SILOS IN YOUR BUSINESS THAT ARE THE BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION.

The biggest problems in running a freight brokerage are often the communication issues between the load finders, dispatchers, and truck drivers as they manage the shipments you book.

Utilizing a comprehensive Transportation Management System (TMS) like BrokerWare™ improves communication throughout your business.  Your team doesn’t have to log in to multiple tools to dispatch, invoice, get quotes, or find loads.  Instead, it’s all in one place – making it easier for the entire team to work together effectively.

You can still segment how your sales team sees customer data (you can assign specific access through the salesperson portals that BrokerWare™ allows), but the rest of your team needs the ability to see the big picture to effectively manage your shipments.

One system, all of the information you need in one place.  Transportation management made easy.

JUST WHAT IS THE AUTOMATED DISPATCHING CAPABILITY ABLE TO DO FOR YOU?

As an integral part of the operations of your brokerage, the dispatching ability of BrokerWare™ includes booking, tracking, quote generation, notation, and document storage.

From the portal into the software, it starts with generating a quote – something you can permit your customers to do on their own as well [link to customer portal blog].  For shipments outside of your usual shipping lanes, you can also enable and utilize the RateShare capability.  Learn more about RateShare by reading through our past blog discussing it in depth [link to RateShare blog], as it can be an easy way to add a new revenue stream to your business!

Once an acceptable quote is generated, the customer or your team can move directly into booking that shipment. If the customer isn’t ready to book right that second, you can also save the quote for later.

Thanks to our integration with MacroPoint, you can automatically  track and manage the loads from within the BrokerWare portal. No need to log in to multiple tools – just a simple click of the mouse and you can see the information you need for each shipment.

Additionally, the ability to add notes or documents to specific shipments is a valuable time saving tool.  Bills of lading, invoices, labels – all of that can be located within the shipment details.  You or your team don’t need to hunt for the information a customer needs on their shipment.

Plus, it’s all synced up with QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online, so your accounting team is fully up to date on the status of each account.

CUSTOMIZED REPORTING OPTIONS COME STANDARD, TOO.

Anything recorded within BrokerWare™ is data that you can generate a report on.  Number of shipments, carrier data, revenue, you name it, you can generate a report.

Your salespeople can even see reports on what their expected commissions are each month, providing incentive for their efforts.

From dispatching to operations management, there’s not much that isn’t made easier when you use BrokerWare™.

Want to see it for yourself?  Enter your information below to see a demo:

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FREIGHT BROKERAGE SOFTWARE — EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO MANAGE YOUR FREIGHT BROKERAGE

Freight brokerage isn’t what it used to be — thankfully, neither is freight brokerage software.

One major thing that has changed is simply the way the term “broker” is used. I’ve seen how a lot of shippers refer to brokers, especially in comments online — it’s not always very nice.

That being said, there is definitely a difference between what a broker does and what a full-on third party logistics provider is able to do. It’s one thing to be able to manage random shipments for random companies — it’s quite another to offer an entire suite of services and basically take over supply chain management for entire businesses.

That, of course, should be the ultimate aim — if you’re a broker and you want to set yourself apart from all the brokers out there flooding the market, you can’t just be lean, or efficient (although that should absolutely be a major goal of yours) — you have to be more than that.

The right tools and software, like BrokerWare™ with RateShare™, can be the difference between you being a small team scraping by week to week…

And growing into a full-fledged 3PL.

BROKERWARE™ IS EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO MANAGE YOUR FREIGHT BROKERAGE

A freight brokerage has a lot of moving pieces — freight brokerage software is what keeps those pieces moving together harmoniously.

And the best part about it is its ability to reduce overhead: you simply need less people because you’re no longer wasting incredible amounts of time on repetitive, low-value tasks like data entry or document creation.

Now I don’t want to take jobs away from someone any more than anyone else, but, the truth is, automation is very much a fact of life — it’s here, it works, and it’s extremely efficient…

Most importantly, everyone else is using it.

Frankly, most freight brokerage businesses don’t have a choice. They can either adopt a TMS (transportation management system) somewhere along the line…

Or they can get run out of business by the other brokerages that invested in the software.

FREIGHT BROKERAGE SOFTWARE — LOAD BOARD INTEGRATIONS AND CUSTOMER PORTALS ARE JUST THE BEGINNING

One of the major wastes of time in freight brokerage is the time spent researching carriers and rates.

Not only can this take up a large amount of time, but every minute that passes brings with it a danger — that a carrier offering a particular rate is going to be snatched up by someone else (or that a load is going to get picked up by someone else).

Time is critical, and anything that can reduce research times is a gift. A robust piece of freight brokerage software is going to be able to display a large number of rates along with other pertinent data to you simultaneously. It will also integrate with load boards and pulling in those carriers as well.

Having a customer portal where your repeat customers can login and create orders, orders that go directly to you and are ready to go without the hassle of emails or phone calls back and forth, is something most customers love.  This is especially true if they can easily track shipments, but it’s really just the beginning.

A robust TMS is also going to have a sales portal, allowing sales reps to create quotes, dispatch loads, and track shipments for their own accounts. Not to mention – their commissions can be automated as well.

Well, you can start to see the value.

Freight brokerage software like BrokerWare™ does all of this and more – and it can take you from broker to top-tier third party logistics provider more quickly than you can imagine.

IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY, SIGN UP TO HEAR IT FIRST — WE HAVE SOMETHING COMING OUT SOON FOR NEW BROKERS

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TIA 2017: HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF ATTENDING THE SHOW

This year, the TIA conference is taking place at the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It’ll run April 5th through April 8th, and the trade show floor is completely sold out – meaning a packed conference for all attendees.

If you’re attending, you might be wondering the best way to get the most out of your time at the conference.

Since this is the largest gathering of broker-based 3PLs, you should show up prepared to network, learn the latest trends and technologies available, and of course, potentially gain new business partners.

10 THINGS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE SHOW

  1. Spruce up your LinkedIn profile ahead of time. Make sure your profile picture is up to date, and that you’ve got up to date information on the page as well.  Add the LinkedIn app to your phone now, before the conference, so you have a few days to learn how to use it.If you meet a vendor or attendee who’s a great match, you’ll be able to easily look them up and add them on LinkedIn.  This will make it easy to follow up with them after the conference, and will make you memorable for having reached out.
  2. Bring at least twice as many business cards as you think you’ll need. The last thing you want is to run out halfway through, and not be able to give one to a prospective partner or client that you want to connect with.
  3. Attend the show with a specific goal or goals in mind. Rather than wander aimlessly around the conference floor, look through the floorplan ahead of time.  Map out which vendors are likely to have solutions you’d like to check out (or who might be announcing something new), and visit them first.By the end of the show, a lot of names and faces may run together, so meeting with the high priority vendors first will help you stick out.  Utilize that recently refreshed LinkedIn profile to connect with them then and there on the show floor – and then follow up again after the show has ended!
  4. Attend the seminars – and make sure to sit in the front row. Not only does it make it much, much easier to hear and follow along, but you’ll be easily visible to the speaker, too.  Connecting with the speakers can be a smart career move, or provide you with more opportunities after the show.
  5. Also while at the seminars, make sure to talk to the people around you before the speaker reaches the stage. The entire reason you’re at the conference is to network, right?  So keep your cell phone in your pocket, and try shaking hands and talking to the attendees around you.
  6. Be prepared for chance encounters with industry leaders – check out the influential people on LinkedIn, and have a few easy, personable questions ready in case you run into someone at the coffee maker. Don’t jump immediately into a sales pitch; instead, ask about the latest project they worked on or an article they published recently.  It’s a great way to connect and leave a great impression, rather than attempting to sell them on what you offer.
  7. Show up early – to everything! It’s a great way to meet the speakers, vendors, or other motivated attendees.  The early bird gets the worm – and the easy access to thought leaders.  Simply showing up early to a seminar might mean you get to talk with someone who’s normally inaccessible in a crowd of interested attendees.
  8. On the same note, avoid “hovering” – if you’re going to talk to someone, walk right up and say hello.  Nothing makes a speaker or industry leader more nervous than seeing a possible stalker nearby, even at a logistics event.  It makes you seem nervous, and by the time you do work up a strategy to say hello, the person you’re trying to talk to has probably already thought of their exit strategy from the conversation.If the person is already talking to someone else, walk up and stand within conversation range while you wait politely for a chance to jump in.  If it seems like a personal conversation, walk away and find someone else to say hello to.  Either start up a conversation, or don’t – just don’t hover!
  9. Don’t forget to pack your essentials: things like water, breath mints, a hair brush, or eyedrops can become more valuable than you ever realized. Stay hydrated, and keep up on breath mints rather than sticks of gum.  Chewing gum when you’re trying to talk can be extremely off-putting to the other person – and you want to leave a good impression.  The same goes for staying well-groomed and smelling pleasant.  Don’t bathe in your cologne or perfume, but have it handy for a quick spritz mid-afternoon if the convention center has gotten warm.
  10. Follow up with the people you want to maintain contact with after the show each night. Send an email or LinkedIn connection request at the end of the day you actually met the person.  This helps cement who you are in their mind, and sets you apart from other attendees who wait a week or more after the show to reach out.  It’s more work, and you’ll be up a little bit later than you might like after the happy hour drink specials, but it can have a major impact on how the other person perceives you and your business.

    DON’T FORGET TO SWING BY THE 3PL SYSTEMS BOOTH!

    Of course, while you’re at the TIA conference this year, don’t forget to swing by our booth and say hello.  We’ll be showcasing the next big thing for Transportation Management Systems, and you won’t want to miss it.

    Weren’t able to make it to the show?  You can still see what we have to offer by entering your information below:

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