Connectivity has become a hot topic in the logistics industry. Shippers are increasingly embracing integrations as a way to connect with partners, save money and automate tasks. That means brokers are being pushed to up their integration game.
Bitfreighter CEO, Brad Perling, founded the company with the goal of helping brokers scale integrations and provide the connectivity shippers crave.
“I felt there was nobody out there that really wanted to help brokerages do that,” Perling said. “It is not an easy task, and it is one of those things that people forget about until it becomes a requirement. At that point, it becomes very expensive.”
Historically, brokers have reserved EDI integrations for only the shippers that absolutely required them in order to do businesses. This is because integrations tend to be priced on a transactional, per-character basis, making them expensive and inaccessible.
Bitfreighter left behind the transactional pricing model that once characterized EDI, instead opting for an “unlimited everything” approach. As a result, the company’s clients have been able to scale their shipper integrations without taking on added costs.
Not only does Bitfreighter offer unlimited messaging at a flat rate, the company also has a Trading Partner Price Lock Guarantee. That means that no matter how much freight a client moves, their integration price will never go up.
“We have taken some very large brokerages that maybe only had a handful of trading partners and helped them scale their entire networks with Bitfreighter,” Perling said.
By making integrations accessible and affordable, Bitfreighter enables brokers to enter into the once-dreaded “EDI conversation” with shippers on the front end, using connectivity as a selling point.
Leveraging integrations in client and potential client interactions allows brokers to set themselves apart and not only win more business but also improve relationships and create an innovative reputation for themselves.
In today’s competitive environment, calling companies and asking for their business is not enough. Brokers must be able to have educated conversations — and offer solutions — about things like visibility, connectivity and automated quoting.
Shipper demand for EDI integrations has been growing for several years, but the industry’s increasing focus on automation and connectivity has recently propelled API integrations into the spotlight as well.
“In 2023, not only do you have to check the EDI box, but for a lot of these clients you have to check the API box as well,” Perling said.
Several different terms — automated quoting, real-time rating and dynamic pricing — have become popular across the industry. All three refer to the ability to leverage API integrations to create real-time quotes based on load details and market conditions. These kinds of integrations became increasingly appealing to shippers that needed to access more competitive pricing during the pandemic-fueled rate spikes seen over the past few years.
Despite a current market downturn, API integrations continue to pique shippers’ interest due to the increased levels of efficiency and preparedness that accompany automation.
Bitfreighter offers clients a real-time truckload quoting API — dubbed LiveQuote — that enables brokers to send their shippers automated quotes tailored to each shipper’s expectations, capacity and requirements. This feature allows brokers to issue a virtually endless number of quotes with no extra legwork by simply setting their parameters and letting the computer do the work for them.
When combined with bitfreighter EDI, LiveQuote opens up opportunities for automated quoting, acceptance, updates and invoicing.
Demand for API integrations is expected to continue growing over the next several years, largely pushing out old-school manual quoting techniques.
“Shippers want to get creative, and they want to save money,” Perling said. “There are different ways to price check their carrier partners, and this is one of those ways. If you don’t have it, you are missing opportunities.”
In order for brokers to compete in an increasingly automated landscape, they must choose software partners that can help them connect via the integrations that are important to shippers. Getting involved with those partners now allows brokers to save money, stay ahead of the curve and influence crucial software development decisions.
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