Freight Brokers’ Tech Transformation: The Human-Technology Balance
It doesn’t take long to come across news stories focusing on the rise of digital transformation and its impact on the transportation industry. Tech-forward thinking is not only necessary to survive but to thrive in today’s volatile environment. Digitalization in transportation is introducing new opportunities, but not without hesitancy. Some brokers resist technology, fearing losing sight of the human touch, while others take the plunge and automate all processes to ensure agility. Fortunately, there is a way to strike a balance.
Lindsay Watt from Parade, 3GTMS’ JP Wiggins, and FreightWaves expert Zach Strickland, took time to discuss how brokers can reasonably balance technological innovation while maintaining a laser-focused personalized experience for the customer.
The panelists began the discussion with a definition of digital transformation and what it uniquely means to 3PLs and freight brokers. The conversation led to the much larger question of whether a broker can maintain the personal touch necessary in the transportation industry while also introducing new technology. The three panelists agreed that digitalization is inevitable. “When you go digital, you can respond to shipper’s needs much more quickly,” stated Watt. However, Strickland reminded the audience that while brokers will automate many repetitive processes, they will not eliminate manual processes entirely.
The experts were asked what types of brokers are most suitable for digital transformation. They agreed that it is challenging to wrap criteria around suitability. As the conversation progressed, Strickland emphasized that not every broker will have the same circumstances, but digitalization “allows you to rethink everything you do at each step of the lifecycle.” The common theme is that digital tools help brokers and 3PLs sharpen their operations.
The session ended with Wiggins ensuring the audience that digital transformation does not need to be over-complicated. Strickland and Watt shared their tips on how to begin the digitalization journey and emphasized that digital frameworks will make you better long term.
You can watch the webcast replay for the complete discussion here