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FreightTech enables brokers to work smarter, not harder

The digital disruption of freight has created something of a Catch-22 for brokers: New technologies have made it possible to do more with less, but instead of alleviating their day-to-day stresses, the propensity to do more has spurred brokers to work even harder.

McLeod Software understood that in a faster freight environment, the brokers with digital freight matching tools will always have an advantage. So, to best equip its broker customers, the transportation software provider partnered closely with Parade in developing the interface, resulting in Parade becoming the first capacity management platform supported by the McLeod PowerBroker TMS.

“Our digital freight matching API tool allows customers to interface with our certified partners who offer DFM solutions, allowing them to connect into their systems to access available loads as well as their preferred carrier lists,” said Dacia Gulledge, McLeod product manager of interfaces.

McLeod’s PowerBroker software solution delivers the functionality that every brokerage needs, including brokerage dispatch operations. Its carrier search engine not only helps brokers find the right carrier faster but also the best carrier for each load.

After 12 years of continuous double-digit growth and building a customer base of over 1,200 companies, Gulledge attributes McLeod’s success to its willingness to listen to its customers, understanding their needs from a practical business and economic standpoint.

“McLeod is constantly looking for ways to address the pain points of our customer base,” Gulledge said. “We’re constantly talking to our customers and even prospective customers to find out what their pain points are, what their opportunities are, and what challenges they’re facing in the marketplace to figure out innovative ways to address them.”

As FreightTech continues its rapid expansion, the only way to keep pace is to remain at the digital forefront. And what that requires of brokers is to manage capacity effectively.

Enter Parade’s capacity intelligence. McLeod added an interface to PowerBroker with Parade’s data analytics and artificial intelligence in 2018, giving brokers the ability to expand their capacity networks, effectively manage carrier relationships and automate load bookings.

“Any customer that chooses our digital freight matching API with a Certified Integration Partner like Parade is taking advantage of next-level [automation],” Gulledge said.

Parade’s capacity management platform drives load booking automation and builds carrier network, using a combination of PowerBroker and Parade criteria to scan available loads and qualified carriers to form preliminary matches that are best suited for the broker.

Gulledge said the ability to access a wider net of carriers with Parade has been a game changer. The integration provided McLeod’s customers with additional flexibility to scale their existing capacity and the ability to put freight booking on “autopilot.” 

McLeod notes that the integration allows brokers to respond to carriers automatically with new load recommendations and allow individual carriers to book freight themselves via email, web or third-party apps. What’s more, machine learning allows Parade to analyze carrier booking patterns to ensure that automated load assignments are sent out on time.

Gulledge said the two software providers have enjoyed a partnership for several years now, adding that Parade was McLeod’s first certified digital freight matching partner.

Both McLeod and Parade foresaw the need for automation in the earliest stages of the digital disruption. Gulledge said that many companies were slower to adopt such technologies as automation in an applicable sense was difficult to conceptualize.

“They hadn’t quite yet seen how that would allow them to shift their people and resources from doing these sorts of mundane tasks to being able to actually take care of their relationships,” Gulledge said, explaining that brokers today are realizing the importance of better customer service in maintaining carrier relationships.

Automation technology in recent years has also proved itself in the trenches of repetitive tasks. And with the capacity market remaining tight, those equipped with Parade and McLeod are positioning themselves with a strategic competitive advantage.

Click for more FreightWaves content by Jack Glenn.

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