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Anytime is the right time to perfect your technology stack

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically disrupted the transportation industry. During a time when many companies opted to hunker down amid great uncertainty, some saw this as the perfect time to try something new.

The pandemic challenges proved to be too much for the antiquated transportation management system that Concept Logistics had in place.

Desiring to better manage capacity with increased visibility and automation technology, the Buffalo, New York-based nonasset freight brokerage turned to the leading capacity management platform Parade and Tai Software to chart its digital future.

In a recent case study, Parade and Tai showcase how Concept Logistics perfected its technology stack during the height of the pandemic, proving that anytime is perfect for a technology upgrade.

Greg Finnerty, VP of operations at Concept Logistics, wasn’t interested in making a lateral move with his next technology investment. Rather, he wanted a solution that would actually help the company reach its full potential.

“I don’t just want to automate; I want to elevate,” Finnerty said.

Concept Logistics’ seamless transition to Tai TMS, a web-based transportation management system designed for both truckload and less-than-truckload shipments, immediately provided end-to-end automation — from posting to booking and dispatching to tracking — that the brokerage needed to navigate the changing freight landscape. 

The timing couldn’t have been better, as supply chain disruptions proved to be most turbulent from 2020 through 2021. Concept Logistics knew that through these uncertain times, the ability to maintain trust between its partners and customers would be paramount. So, in 2021, it added Parade’s capacity management platform to its tech repertoire to further automate the brokerage’s freight matching, carrier outreach, quoting and booking.

Brokerages have traditionally honed their relationships with shippers, but smart brokers know that strengthening ties with carriers is also important, as carrier relationships provide more access to capacity and perhaps even better rates.

The case study notes, “[When] Concept’s team can offer shippers better rates while delivering fair rates for their carriers, it’s a win for everyone.”

With Parade and Tai, Concept Logistics has enabled one of its customers to be almost completely self-sufficient. An individualized client portal into the TMS allows shippers to book their own loads through Tai since available carriers are sent directly from Parade to Tai.

Concept Logistics’ reps can now interact with carriers more smoothly than before, as carrier profiling used to involve pen and paper and the strength of the broker’s memory. But with Smart Rules, Parade’s automation makes it easy to keep track of a carrier’s preferences and networking capacity, allowing Concept Logistics’ reps to share carrier insights to help book better loads.

With the capacity insights that Parade funnels through Tai TMS, Concept Logistics’ reps have access to a broader view of capacity that allows them to cover loads earlier and keep more off the spot market. They can easily see rates from Parade in their TMS, allowing them to compare data between systems to find issues early to ensure each load is rated properly.

“Rather than making 50 10-second phone calls to try to get a load covered, reps can make one 15-minute call where they connect with the carrier and learn where they’re going to have trucks later and not just right now,” Finnerty said.

As a user of Parade, Concept Logistics can review its analytics to confirm its strategy is on track.

Recent data shows its reuse rate to be 60% over the past 90 days for carriers hauling more than four loads. What’s more, the brokerage has 746 carriers that take 20 or more loads per month.

Concept Logistics weathered the worst part of the pandemic well and has managed significant growth since, recording 54% growth last year alone.

“It’s cool to see the growth in shipment volume you get when you take an extremely well-run organization like Concept and add the innovative technology partnership of Tai and Parade to help maximize the in-house talent of their brokerage,” said Sean McGillicuddy, Tai’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Those guys have a great team; Tai and Parade together have empowered Concept to scale their most talented team members.”

The brokerage anticipates 60% growth by year’s end, with similar results predicted in 2023 even as projections call for a softer freight market. Regardless of the ever-changing freight landscape, Concept Logistics believes it is well equipped to take on any freight challenge with Parade and Tai — and perhaps strengthen broker-carrier relationships along the way.

Click for more FreightWaves content by Jack Glenn.

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