There’s little doubt that freight brokers need software to make every stage of their business processes more efficient. A transportation management system (TMS) can improve functionality and optimize areas such as freight load boards, customer relationship management (CRM), and even more general accounting automation software.
Freight brokerage software allows companies to automate much of the process, streamlining booking and other areas of the business, saving a significant amount of time on manual operations, and freeing up valuable time and space to focus on other more profitable areas of the business.
With this in mind, below we have detailed five of the very best software solutions for larger freight brokers, identifying how they can help you to make their practices more efficient and where savings can be made. But before we list the top five, it’s worth taking a closer look at how freight brokers work, the challenges they face on a daily basis, and how operations can be streamlined to run more smoothly.
There are several specific challenges that freight brokers face in securing the best freight rates and partners for shippers.
Perhaps the first and most obvious is gaining quotes from the various available carriers. Experienced brokers may have good working relationships with multiple carriers but as each shipment is different (and owing to external factors such as driver shortages) rates can vary. Obtaining quotes for specific shipments from various sources can be time consuming if done manually, especially as only one carrier is generally used in the end.
The way rates are charged varies. Contracted rates are those agreed upon for certain cargos in terms of distance or volume. Spot rates, on the other hand, and negotiated on a load-by-load basis. Knowing when to use contracted rates and when to use spot rates is one of the core decisions made by brokers and can make the difference between profitability and loss.
Brokers will often work with the same carriers on a repeated basis and will need to maintain connectivity and good working relationships and ensure any contracted work is kept in date and on terms suitable to all parties. Managing all the paperwork around this can be time consuming.
You need to be able to select the most cost and time efficient routing to avoid delays and maximize fuel consumption and do so in a way that does not involve a huge amount of time.
Paperwork is a big part of the freight industry, with items including broker agreements, insurance certificates, rate confirmation notifications, and multiple other vital pieces of information. Handling, collating, and storing all of these manually is a major operation.
Every shipment requires an invoice, as well as payment, in order to keep cash flow moving in both directions.
Ultimately, the fundamental goal of any freight shipment is on-time delivery, and it often falls on the freight broker to ensure this happens, as well as dealing with any load status issues encountered prior to delivery.
The larger the business, the more complex and complicated brokerage operations become. The greater the amount of admin hours required, the more worthwhile and necessary an investment in a comprehensive transportation management software system becomes.
Dealing with freight management and all the related administrative tasks can be very time consuming, data heavy, and complex. Which is why using a dedicated freight broker TMS is so important. Investing in a TMS or other relevant software does not come cheap and requires a significant amount of training and comprehension. However, the rewards of choosing and optimizing the right software (or combinations of software) can help to streamline operations, reduce manual admin, and increase profitability in multiple areas of the business – from quotes and billing to routing and driver retention.
Software management solutions can also add an element of data analysis that provides a much clearer and easier to understand overview of how the business is operating and what areas can be targeted for improvement.
As the only freight solution embedded across multiple ELD applications, FleetOps offers a seamless interface to connect market loads to carriers that’s trusted by some of America’s largest freight brokers. Data and machine learning are core features of this freight broker software, providing analytics and insights to help you understand how your business is developing. Free load posting, shipment tracking, and automated freight bookings with Book It Now features also ensure streamlined operations for brokers, with a engaged audience of owner operators, drivers, & dispatchers to ensure all types of load can be easily organized.
· Free load posting
· Carrier visibility for instant shipment tracking
· Automated bookings
· Data analytics and insight
· Large community of compliant carriers
This all-in-one load board software is the industry leader and is used to pair carriers and shippers. The tolls are automated and easy to use, designed to accelerate workflow and close deals faster. Truckstop can integrate with several major TMSs as well as accounting and CRM software, and it also includes several financial and management features such as invoicing, credit limits, and onboarding.
· Load management
· Carrier vetting and onboarding
· Real-time updates
· Truck/lane searching
Prices start at $75 per month.
A major customer relationship management (CRM) software option for larger businesses, Salesforce provides a complete view of shippers and consignees for brokers. There is real-time visibility throughout the entire process, and it is scalable to grow with your business.
· Manage quotes and prices
· Streamlined workflows
· Tracking updates
· Targeted marketing functions
Prices are customized according to needs.
A great choice for large brokers and 3PL, this is an easy-to-use system that features top level accounting, document imaging, and load tracking options.
· Manage invoices
· Streamline your carrier settlements
· See finances in real-time with accounting automation software
· Performance analysis
Prices start from $100 a month.
One of the most popular TMS software options on the market for freight brokers. AscendTMS is full of innovative features to help make brokerage easier and more efficient. The software shows you live load sources all on one single screen, allowing you to manage all the aspects of your operations with just one system.
· Complete load and dispatch management
· Accounting tools
· Automated workflow
· Financial and profit monitoring
Basic services are free for fewer than three users, premium is $69 per month per user.
Choosing the right freight broker software for your business is an important decision as it can influence the way you work, interact, and manage all your business relationships. It can help you to significantly reduce time-consuming paperwork and allow you to spend time on areas of your business where it is really needed. The right software (or combination) can provide you with all the right tools to integrate workflows and automate processes – helping you to grow at the right speed and in the right direction.
Smaller businesses may be able to make use of more simplistic software options such as free load boards or accounting software options such as Quickbooks. However, larger businesses may need more specialized software options to be able to automate and integrate larger sections of the business.
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