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  • Kurtis Tryber

Finding Truck Capacity Is More Than Location Data: The Carrier Intelligence Game

Updated: Aug 23, 2019




Starting with Location Data

Creating a carrier system of records and intelligence system will be the first step towards freight brokerage digitization. What is carrier intelligence and why is it so critical for a freight brokerage to implement? A robust carrier intelligence system uses a mixture of data sources that crosses multiple data sets, multiple systems of record like a Transportation Management System (TMS), a Carrier Management System (CRM) and other valuable information pools like government safety records.

Brokerages must think of an alternative data source outside of tribal knowledge to procure high quality and profitable carrier capacity. One possibility, real-time location data, is a viable information source that can prevent or inform of delayed delivery. However, to find carriers that are the best margin, lowest risk, and most likely to accept your freight, requires analysis across multiple data sets and systems.

Relying solely on location data for carrier intelligence comes with its own limitations. For instance, real-time location data cannot predict which direction the freight is headed, or whether a load is already booked on a specific truck, freight preferences, etc. Location data should still be used, regardless of its origin (coming from a mobile app, cell-tracking service, an ELD system, and so on) as a data point that feeds into your TMS and carrier intelligence system, especially for visibility and load execution purposes.


Carrier intelligence is more than location data

Carrier intelligence is not just about finding capacity; it is also about creating a real-time flow of intelligence to guide carrier procurement decisions around boosting relationships, creating optimal margin, and reducing carrier risk .

Unlike static carrier systems, which are created based on location data and manually-entered lane preferences, a dynamic carrier intelligence system is based on carrier profiles which update in real-time every day for all carrier partners interacting with the organization. Dynamic profiles evaluate additional data sources, such as historical load data and emails, carrier interactions, tender acceptance, execution history, FMCSA inspection data, and more. A powerful carrier intelligence system will assist in predicting capacity availability as well as identifying high-quality and high-margin carriers to accelerate rep decision-making and quality.



Carrier intelligence systems get smarter with time

When a brokerage collects more carrier data, a carrier intelligence system can help with the following (and more):


  • Providing a personalized carrier experience

  • Finding and predicting capacity

  • Driving targeted conversations

  • Improving margin

  • Creating in-network reutilization


With additional carrier data adding to the self-improving feedback loop, brokerages can reduce the time they spend in collecting and structuring data, comparing carrier price points, and identifying the lowest risk carrier. Simply put, location data alone cannot operate in a silo to help brokerages meet their goals. Instead, brokerages need a wide-lensed approach to build an intelligent brokerage. This strategy comes with a fundamental understanding that location data has to be combined with multiple data points for optimum decision-making.

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