freight brokerage

Leveraging Technology to Improve Transparency and Communication in the Logistics Industry

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Matthew Schore

A freight broker in the pre-digitalization days may have left the office with a pager so he could be alerted if there was a problem with a load. While he was at a local watering hole blowing off steam, his pager would go off and he would have to find a pay phone to call in. His only documentation in hand may have been a load number or dispatcher’s contact information scribbled on a bar napkin.

Certainly technology has revolutionized every industry, including logistics. Pagers and pay phones have gone the way of the pocket protector. Still, there are a host of challenges with transparency and communication between links in the supply chain.

“Poor communication is one of the biggest roadblocks to an efficient supply chain,” Nick Schwalbach, director of product management at SPS Commerce, wrote in a commentary for CSA. “Without the channels to facilitate strong communication, issues can’t be raised quickly enough, leading to a waste of products and materials in addition to a build-up of backlogs.

“Ultimately, this means demand isn’t being met.”

The State of Communication and Visibility in Logistics

Logistics industry leaders have always known the importance of communication. But establishing foolproof communication channels has been out of reach for many companies.

Last August, Dorothy Li, then Convoy’s CTO, wrote in a blog post on the digital freight brokerage’s website: “When it comes to communicating in the freight and logistics industry, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has long been the established method. However, as we look closer at communication protocols and modern API technologies, it becomes evident that there are nuanced considerations to explore. While modern web APIs offer significant flexibility and advantages, the absence of established standards for communicating about freight requires us to examine the need for similar standardization efforts that have benefited EDI over the preceding decades. By learning and building on the experiences and lessons from decades of work on EDI, we can unlock the potential from recent advancements in web development for the logistics industry.”

Convoy shut its doors in October and Li’s LinkedIn profile shows her leaving the company that month. She’s now a corporate vice president at Microsoft.

Convoy obviously had a talented C-suite, executives who know that manual processes in logistics – including pricing, booking, tracking, delivery, and billing – are time-consuming and error-prone. Employing technology to transform a logistics company’s operations, however, can be extremely difficult.

Three Technologies Improving Transparency and Communication in Logistics

Logistics providers thriving in today’s volatile freight market are relying on transportation management systems, visibility and tracking technologies, and workflow automation. A.N. Webber Logistics has successfully compiled all three to form a technology stack to meet its customers’ unique needs, ensuring reliable freight management no matter the size or scope of the operation.

  1. Transportation management systems (TMS): A trustworthy TMS reliably handles everything from EDI connectivity to real-time tracking and accounting tasks and improves operational efficiency, in part, through real-time data access.

  2. Visibility and tracking technologies: Load monitoring and tracking software enables users to view, predict, and communicate the status of any shipment at any time. API connectivity allows for real-time, dynamic, and predictive shipment tracking.
  3. Workflow automation: Software automates repetitive, time-consuming data-entry tasks to drive efficiency and improve personalized customer service. Technology also makes tendering and monitoring spot shipments easy.

A state-of-the-art tech stack, like that offered by A.N. Webber Logistics, can harness the power of technology for efficient and reliable management of its customers’ freight.

A.N. Webber’s Tech Stack Arms Customers With Powerful Tools

With a network of more than 12,000 contract carriers and a highly experienced team with an average tenure of 16 years, A.N. Webber simplifies complexity with technology, which is tailored to optimize customers’ operations, enhance transparency, and streamline freight management throughout the United States and Canada.

A.N. Webber’s offerings include logistics expertise, whether it’s for a single shipment or management of an entire supply chain; catered rates for all modes, from dry van to heavy haul, flatbed, step decks, and rail; operational know-how backed by technology to offer the best solutions for clients in the appliance, automotive, chemical, food grade/distribution, industrial, manufacturing, paper products, and steel industries; a fleet of Peterbilts with an average age of just 2 years old; and 750,000 square feet of warehousing space conveniently located about 60 miles south of Chicago.

A.N. Webber’s technology has advanced by leaps and bounds since it launched its logistics services in 2005, and it’s incredibly easy to get in contact with the team. In fact, it takes just seconds to fill out an automated quote request. Give it a try.  


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