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The freight and trucking industry has always focused on successfully and efficiently transporting goods from the shipper’s location to their final drop-off.
Shippers and trucking companies are adopting technology-based solutions (or trucker tools) to meet the logistics challenges in the shipping and trucking industry. An example of such a solution is digital freight matching (DFM).
But what exactly is DFM?
Digital Freight Matching (DFM), or digital load matching, is a process where web and mobile-based platforms match shippers with the right carrier (mostly trucks).
This system connects the two parties in real time based on the shipper’s available freight load and the carrier’s available capacity.
In a way, a digital freight matcher is like Uber but for freight transportation!
To fully understand how digital freight matching works, let’s discuss the key stages involved.
Here are the main stages involved in the digital freight matching process:
The DFM process is pretty simple if you understand how the application works. Plus, using digital freight matching services has its advantages.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
Using digital freight matching platforms over a traditional 3PL or load board is much more beneficial to shippers and carriers.
DFMs use automation to streamline booking, matching, and administration processes, making freight transportation more efficient and less time-consuming. Carriers and shippers can immediately secure their loads or capacity.
It also allows shippers and carriers from across the globe to connect through one platform, thus increasing the opportunities for logistics companies to expand their trade.
Think about it, a freight forwarder in North America could easily find truck drivers in Portugal to complete the last-mile delivery. There’d be no need for a middleman.
This means that shippers and carriers can access a diverse range of jobs.
Digital freight matching platforms provide real-time notifications and visibility into available loads and capacity. This lets shippers and carriers make informed decisions based on current freight marketplace conditions.
Certain digital freight matching services also let shippers monitor the progress of their freight shipment and obtain accurate arrival estimates, leading to improved customer service and operational planning.
Companies that utilize a digital freight matcher can expedite manual processes, saving time and reducing costs.
What does this entail?
Most freight matching platforms allow users to automatically generate freight shipping documents like invoices, contracts, and the Bill of Lading (BOL).
Digital load matching platforms also help optimize transportation costs. Shippers can find carrier companies offering competitive prices, while carriers can identify profitable loads that align with their capacity and preferences.
The extensive shipper-carrier network offered by DFM platforms allows both parties to manage their resources and adapt to any market changes or trends easily.
For instance, shippers can quickly book loads based on their specific requirements, while carriers can find suitable loads that fit their available capacity and schedule.
Most digital freight matching systems today apply Artificial Intelligence and machine learning in their matching process. The AI collects and analyzes data from a shipper’s past matches (load capacity, shipment destinations, etc.), market trend predictions, and carrier performance.
It then produces in-depth reports and offers better carrier options in future matches.
DFM sites also offer in-app payment options or integrations with selected payment gateways. This allows for straightforward and quick transactions.
These platforms may also have built-in documentation functions and integrate with specific freight forwarding software, making it easier for shippers and carriers to keep track of their business.
In short, DFM platforms bring multiple advantages to shippers and carriers in the freight forwarding industry. It also helps users make critical decisions based on data-backed reports.
Interested in giving digital freight matching a shot?
Let’s look at some things to ponder when looking for one.
With a plethora of DFM and trucker tools available today, you should consider several aspects before committing to one.
These aspects include:
Once you’ve narrowed down your perfect digital freight broker or provider, you can immediately implement it into your business.
But what if you need more than just a DFM platform?
Then, try Shipthis!
Shipthis is a freight forwarding solution that allows businesses to integrate a digital freight matching tool with their logistics operations. The app uses open APIs to connect your operations to a digital freight matching services provider.
But here’s the thing:
To protect customer data, the tech team at Shipthis will need to conduct a safety evaluation of your selected DFM software.
Let’s say you want to integrate Uber Freight platform’s digital freight matching service. Shipthis’ team will review whether their tool is secure before allowing the integration.
Once they’ve cleared the DFM platform, you’ll be able to integrate the platform to Shipthis’ freight forwarding solution. This extra security layer prevents malicious apps from stealing sensitive customer data.
And that’s not all!
With Shipthis, you can:
Still need some clarification about DFM?
Let’s answer some FAQs to help you understand it better.
Here are answers to some common questions you may have about DFMs:
A digital freight network is an internet-based freight marketplace that connects shippers, brokers, and carriers on a load-matching basis. Here, shippers look for the right carrier with the transportation capacity to carry their products.
Think of it as an online meeting hub for shippers and carriers to conduct their business.
Digital freight brokers can be traditional freight brokers or third-party logistics providers (3PLs) that arrange freight brokerages that connect shippers with truck drivers via an application.
They provide digital freight brokerage services by matching freight shipments based on carrier truckload capacity.
Both digital freight matching and traditional third-party logistics companies, 3PLs provide the same services — connecting shippers with truckers based on their load capacity. The main difference is how they approach the load matching process.
DFM uses a technology-first approach, meaning every process involved is done through the DFM platform, from available load capacity postings to invoice generation. Thus allowing better data sharing and reducing the chances of miscommunication through the supply chain.
3PLs use a human connections first approach by combining the modern load board with real-life contacts. They employ teams responsible for contacting carrier companies and negotiating prices for the shipper — pretty much acting as a middleman between the two.
This means 3PLs would first connect shippers to truckers or trucking companies they have connections with. Plus, there’s a higher possibility of human error or miscommunications happening.
Digital freight matching is currently on the rise due to how easily shippers and carrier companies can connect.
It brings plenty of benefits to the whole supply chain, like saving overall costs, providing wider networking opportunities, and simplifying data handling.
However, a DFM platform alone may not be enough for freight forwarders. You should pair it with reliable and robust freight forwarding software that also offers a transportation management system like Shipthis!
Schedule a demo to experience the capabilities and benefits of our freight forwarding software!