Here we are at the start of a new year and much like years past, the one thing that we can expect in the freight industry is change. As we head into 2024, there are some key trends that are shaping the industry and impacting the bottom line of freight brokers and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) alike and should get the attention of organizations. Here are the top five trends that I think are worth paying attention to.
Automation and AI
The use of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more prevalent in the freight audit and invoicing process. Automation helps reduce errors, speed up payments, and improve data quality. AI also analyzes invoices and detects anomalies. By being more accurate through automation and AI, this will lead to improved customer and carrier service.
One research report showed that using automation and AI can reduce freight audit costs by up to 80% and increase accuracy by up to 99%. Given these numbers, the use of automation and AI will continue to grow in the freight market.
Data Analytics and Visibility
Data analytics and visibility are essential for any freight broker or 3PL to optimize their operations and performance. By collecting and analyzing data from various sources, such as invoices, shipments, carriers, customers, and market conditions, freight brokers can gain valuable insights that can help them make better decisions, improve service quality, and increase profitability.
Data analytics and visibility can also help freight brokers identify opportunities for improvement, such as reducing errors, streamlining processes, and negotiating better rates. According to a report by
Sustainability and Social Responsibility
Sustainability and social responsibility are becoming more important for both shippers and carriers in the freight industry. Shippers are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact and carbon footprint, while carriers are looking for ways to comply with regulations and standards.
Freight brokers and 3PLs can play a key role in facilitating sustainability and social responsibility by offering green solutions, such as choosing eco-friendly carriers, optimizing routes, and reducing emissions. Freight organizations can also demonstrate their social responsibility by supporting causes that align with their values and mission.
Customer Experience and Loyalty
Customer experience and loyalty are the ultimate goals of any freight broker. By providing excellent service, quality, and value, freight brokers and 3PLs can build long-term relationships with their customers and retain their business.
Customer experience and loyalty can be enhanced by using technology, such as automation, AI, blockchain, smart contracts, data analytics, and visibility, to deliver faster, more accurate, and more personalized solutions. Customer experience and loyalty can also be improved by offering incentives, rewards, discounts, and referrals to loyal customers.
As I work with our customers, I continue to see firsthand how the freight audit and invoicing process has evolved over the years for both freight brokers and 3PLs. In 2024, there are some key trends that are shaping the industry and impacting the bottom line. Those organizations that embrace these trends and implement them into their organizations will be the ones that continue to grow and do so profitably.