Digital Freight Matching (DFM), also called digital load matching, is an “on-demand” freight service that uses automation to match shipments with carriers. These platforms take the concepts developed in the sharing economy, through companies such as AirBnB and Uber, and apply them to freight. Software technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics are used to reduce the need for manual processing. A digital freight matching platform is also run on through a web or mobile interface that can be accessed from nearly any device.
As technology continues to enable freight management efficiency, many companies have begun to seek out alternatives to traditional 3rd-party logistics (3PL) services. In this post, we will present 4 major benefits of digital freight matching that make it an excellent choice for both carriers and shippers. Freight brokers and shippers are constantly looking for carriers to move their goods while carriers need to fill their fleet vehicles to maximize profit. Many of these benefits contribute to a reduction in operational costs and the time required to move freight. A digital freight matching platform also eliminates the need for additional parties and allows the software to make the necessary connections.
1. Improved Carrier Matching
One of the main benefits that digital freight matching provides is a more reliable connection between carriers and shippers. Because these systems use modern technology with a centralized software platform it is easy for users to identify important shipment details without the need for manual processing. Many carrier matching systems also use AI to enable predictive matching which allows the software to handle much of the work previously done with phone calls and emails.
Both carriers and shippers can simply browse the listings in the system and accept or assign freight jobs for anything from cross-country shipping to last-mile delivery. These secure platforms have radically streamlined the process of filling trucks based on the freight loads that are available in each location at any given time. Matches between shippers and carriers will also improve over time as the system learns from user preferences and assignments. These efficiencies alone can help improve profitability and free up resources to address tangible issues and manage other operational priorities.
For this system to function well, it’s crucial to ensure that all vehicles in a fleet have readable, compliant rating plates or nameplates that include essential information such as the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), gross combination weight rating (GCWR), and gross axle weight rating (GAWR). Choosing durable rating plate materials such as Metalphoto® anodized aluminum ensures that rating plates and nameplates remain readable even after exposure to harsh outdoor conditions, allowing carriers, shippers, and supply chain partners to quickly and easily confirm that a fleet vehicle can carry the required load and remain compliant on the road.
2. Process Automation
Software programs that operate digital freight matching services provide a safe and secure environment for finding qualified freight partners. A high degree of process automation means that there is a reduced need for manual entries and freight assignments. Many 3PL carriers still rely on phone calls and faxes to identify, confirm, and schedule freight loads. With digital freight matching, shippers and carriers can make assignments with greater confidence and customize the experience to improve the relevance of matches. Many digital freight matching services can also be integrated with an existing Transportation Management System (TMS) to provide a complete logistics solution for your business.
3. Streamlined Communication
Communications within a digital freight matching platform can be done through integrated messaging services without the need for phone calls or emails. This reduces the time required for freight planners and logistics personnel to confirm shipments. A digital freight matching program can also be used to organize freight details and design a schedule based on unique shipment requirements.
Maintaining all the important freight information in a single system makes it much easier to track shipments and coordinate deliveries on a global scale. Many digital freight matching services also support digital invoicing and contract management for streamlined order and contact management. These tools can be used to complete all major transaction steps through a single software program.
4. Digital Freight Services
Another benefit of digital freight matching services is the ability to construct shipments in real-time. When shippers access the system, they can view competitive rates from available carriers and send jobs to preferred vendors or providers that match their needs. Carriers can view the available freight loads and review detailed specifications for each shipment. All shipments can also be integrated with freight tracking services. The goal of this software interface is to save time for both carriers and shippers while reducing delays and downtime throughout the entire logistics loop.
Today’s digital freight matching services are quickly becoming a preferred method for organizing freight shipments. With access to a very large network of carriers, shippers can utilize these platforms to schedule pickups in an automated and streamlined way. As customer needs continue to push for faster and more responsive shipments, we are likely to see a greater reliance on automated services such as digital freight matching. Carriers and shippers who take advantage of the benefits that digital freight matching provides can create a more diversified and reliable logistics network to support their businesses.