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                            Freight Recession Recovery Guide: What to Look for in a Tech Partner

                            The current freight recession has touched every company in the industry, but it doesn’t have to handicap the way an organization employs technology. But what should a company in freight look for when evaluating a tech partner? Let’s find out. 

                            During the past four years, the freight market has gone on a journey like that of a sky-piercing rollercoaster that won’t come to a complete stop. 

                            As the COVID pandemic endured from 2020 to 2022, the freight industry ratcheted up the lift hill, spurred by incredible demand from Americans who increasingly relied on e-commerce for both everyday needs and luxury goods. In trucking, thousands of new carriers entered the market to haul loads. Tender rejection rates skyrocketed, and the spot freight market flourished. 

                            As 2022 went on, and everyday life went back to something like normal, demand dried up, shippers had fewer orders to fulfill, and many of those new carriers became surplus capacity. Along with increased fuel costs and lackluster conditions in the economy at large, the freight market plunged downward. The resulting freight recession continues into the middle of 2024. 

                            However, the thing about recessions is that they are inherently cyclical and don’t last forever. While the recession has touched every company in freight, it doesn’t have to handicap the way an organization employs technology.  

                            In fact, when the market recovers – which could be as soon the third quarter of this year – companies who have invested in solutions that make the day-to-day business of freight easier will prosper faster than those who have sat by during the downturn. 

                            But what should a company in freight look for when evaluating a tech partner? Let’s find out. 

                            Solutions that incorporate real-time data 

                            We all know the saying, “time is money.” But when transporting freight or financing or brokering loads, that statement rings especially true. Reliable and effective tech partners in today’s transportation climate provide mountains of real-time data to everyone who needs to know. 

                            For example, drivers need to be apprised of current road conditions, weather warnings, and any possible detours on their routes. Additionally, those hauling freight on the road need to know the status of their drop-off point. If information is lacking or out of date, it can significantly affect on-time deliveries and jeopardize carrier and owner-operator reputations with shippers and brokers. 

                            Carriers need to know about the status of their trucks, trailers, and other assets, especially as cargo theft rises. Even if everything is safe and accounted for, carriers still have to make sure their drivers are maintaining satisfactory safety standards behind the wheel and complying with Hours of Service rules. Real-time data helps carriers make sure nothing gets through the cracks. 

                            On the broker side, real-time knowledge about loads and documents ensures optimal communication with partners and prompt payments.  

                            Innovation and utilizing the latest tech 

                            Software solutions in transportation are constantly changing and evolving. Meanwhile, the freight industry isn’t always known for being an early adopter to the newest tech. 

                            As a company in freight, committing to the newest tech solutions can help deliver cost savings, minimize time spent on manual processes, and provide important insights that improve business outcomes. They can also help you gain an advantage over fellow industry players that aren’t as forward-thinking. 

                            But just investing in tech isn’t the be-all and end-all for carriers, brokers, and even factors. A tech partner’s software can be a great fit for a freight business one year but be frustratingly out of date the next. In a freight market that doesn’t have a definitive or even likely turnaround date, a partner that is constantly developing and incorporating new ideas into its solutions is a must. 


                            Suppose a drayage-focused carrier is constantly transporting loads in and out of port yards. It needs a solution that’s going to account for the unique circumstances related to that kind of freight. For example, a telematics platform that’s designed for traditional over-the-road trucking may unnecessarily alert a carrier at specific locations or speeds. 

                            With a more customizable solution, that same carrier can set its notifications and exceptions in the way that makes the most sense for its usual type of freight. A configurable platform can potentially set up geofences for specific locations and take advantage of specially designed reports and modules. 

                            Likewise, for brokers and 3PLs, not all loads, carriers, and shippers are created equal. The documents needed to resolve payments and billing may also be structured differently and require varied data. Furthermore, customizations can help integrate data from TMS systems.  

                            Products that address various business challenges 

                            Most businesses – and especially those in transportation – don’t have one solitary pain point or challenge that needs to be addressed; they have a handful or more. The most worthwhile tech partners will not only offer solutions that address those myriad sources of concern, but they’ll also have solutions available for various roles, responsibilities, and personas throughout the industry. In turn, that tech organization will have a greater grasp of everything going on in freight than if it just made products for a very specific use case or role. 

                            Additionally, an organization who buys into tech from a well-rounded vendor won’t have to rely on several disparate solutions in its tech stack. That helps both save money and means employees using the solutions don’t have to constantly switch between platforms. 

                            Customer service 

                            Close-up of smiling businesswoman wearing headset. Beautiful female is working in office. She is in businesswear.Every B2B organization wants to close as many deals as it can and acquire all the new customers possible. But not every tech provider in logistics and freight shows the same commitment to its partners once the products are being used.  

                            A partner who will deliver the best results for a company in freight pays special attention to making sure that the necessary tech solutions are implemented correctly and in a way that works the best for the business. No 3PL, carrier, shipper, or factor operates in the exact same way as its counterparts, and tech implementation takes account of that fact when done right. 

                            Additionally, a tech provider that cares about its partners’ success will want to help if there are any issues with operating the solutions or employing them to maximum benefit. 

                            A history in the industry 

                            In both technology and freight, companies come and go – but they can also quickly turn from non-existent to household names or industry giants in the span of a few short years. But while highly funded startup operations may make the biggest splashes, it’s worth reflecting on if a tech partner truly knows the ins and outs of the freight world. 

                            For instance, a transportation tech provider that has been around for multiple decades has seen at least a few recession cycles and has navigated several eras of digital transformation. That level of change during a company’s history indicates that it both knows how to adapt and has an extensive history of creating useful solutions for the market. 

                            Partner with Transflo to ride out the rollercoaster 

                            Not all tech partners or solutions are created equal. Choosing the right partner and making the decision to invest in customer-focused solutions before the market has fully rebounded can help your business flourish once business conditions are more positive. 

                            By partnering with Transflo, your company can take advantage of all the attributes and benefits included in this guide. No matter if you’re looking for fleet management help, an app for drivers, workflow automation, or even fuel discounts, Transflo is a trusted industry leader you can count on. 

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