What To Look For In Freight Brokerage Software
Choosing freight brokerage software can be a daunting task. There are many packages out there, many with varying feature sets and price ranges. You can spend anywhere from $200 to well over $20,000 for a system. What are the core features that you need to keep in mind while sifting through the offerings?
Here are a few thoughts:
Your freight brokerage software should be server based, your agents should be able to access it via the internet from their home or office computers. Stay away from “solutions” where each of your remote locations has its own server, and a “dump” has to be completed at an interval to sync the data.
See if the software provider has an ASP or co-hosting option. ASP typically encompasses a setup charge, then a low monthly fee, rather than a software purchase. Co-hosting is where they host the server you purchase for you for a monthly fee. This eliminates the need to maintain the server, or have a high bandwidth internet connection.
Carriers should have a secure web site that they access to view loads you have available, request them, enter equipment statuses, submit load documentation, invoice you for loads they’ve delivered, and the like.
Likewise your customers should have a secure web site that they can access to tender you loads and view equipment / load statuses.
Your freight broker software should have full EDI send and receive capability, meaning at minimum transaction sets 204 (Load Tender), 990 (Response to Load Tender), 214 (Carrier Shipment Status), and 210 (Carrier Freight Invoice). It should not require you to utilize a VAN (Value Added Network, who charges a transaction fee), but allow FTP or emailed transactions.
Not only should you be able to accept loads from your customers via EDI, you should also be able to tender loads to your carriers. Careful on this one – many software packages are only able to receive 204s, not tender them.
Ease Of Use
The truck brokerage software should be intuitive enough that new agents you bring on need limited training before they can start producing revenue for you. This is an often overlooked part of the software search, but is probably one of the most important. Make sure there’s a decent manual available (preferably integrated into the software itself), and contact references to make sure that customer support provided is prompt and knowledgeable.
Your truck broker software should have an upgrade option available to track leased/owned assets. Who knows what the future holds, and having to scrap your existing system to bring on a couple leasers is an expensive adjustment.
Ensure the freight brokerage software is more than just a database. It should function as another group of employees, constantly and tirelessly monitoring load statuses, carrier qualifications, and other criteria your agents should not have to do themselves.
Ensure the freight brokerage system is available 24/7, check the company’s references to verify any claims the software provider makes to this effect.
Make sure the company has been around for awhile. I couldn’t count on both hands the number of companies we have dealt with that have entered and exited the market in the span of a year or two.
In short, a little more homework prior to the purchase will pay off in spades in the long run. Check out TruckMaster’s Freight Brokerage Software for all of the above, and of course much more.