Freight automation: 3 takeaways for your supply chain goals in 2019

Jason Traff, Co-founder and President of Shipwell, was recently featured on Dynamo VC’s Future of Supply Chain podcast talking with host Santosh Sankar about automating freight transport.

In this episode, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the founding story of Shipwell. Jason discusses his story of managing businesses and how as he got older, the trials of shipping were always a problem he dealt with.

From his days of shipping oil paintings transcontinentally, Jason noticed the fragmentation of an industry. He discusses how these frustrating, cost-prohibitive, and manual methods of freight management has factored into how Shipwell operates today.

Listen to the episode and share your thoughts on freight automation in the comments at the end of this post!  Plus, stay up to date on the latest supply chain trends and freight automation with the Shipwell newsletter.

Here are a few takeaways from his chat with Santosh.

1. Shipwell brings together freight brokering with smart technology.

Many powerhouse freight brokerage teams manually book freight, and Shipwell takes it a step further with its proprietary freight tech platform. The company has a managed services component like a traditional brokerage, but it also offers a platform that brings all involved parties to the table.

The opportunities to collect and share data skyrocket and become available to users in a centralized system.

Shipwell is making an efficient supply chain a service to shippers, brokers, and carriers.

Freight is such a data-rich industry, but most of that data does not exist inside a computer. In the analog world, the vast majority of this data is not stored and shared. So before we automate, we aggregate the data to make sense of it and solve problems in the industry. This is where Shipwell’s managed services team came in.

Coupling human effort with automation and a smart tech platform, Shipwell is positioned to elevate the supply chain to new heights.

2. Shipwell is starting from the bottom of an antiquated industry.

You may have heard the phrase, “technology is a solution looking for a problem”. We believe that technology should be only additive to a company’s process and profit. So with incentives like quick pay, where carriers can have their money in just three days, many of them use Shipwell again and again. Carriers can get paid faster, and Shipwell gets to hear feedback for what drivers would like to see improve in the app.

When it comes to making check calls to carriers to receive updates on a load, shippers and brokers would spend hours on the phone. Drivers also have to deal with providing updates that take time out of their day, too.

Shipwell realized this challenge and solved it with automated check calls powered by AI and natural language processing. From the push of a button, shippers or brokers can perform calls made from the Shipwell platform to drivers.

Drivers (even ones without smartphones) receive a call and provide an update on where they are. That’s it! The platform takes it from there to then log the call in the shipment’s activity, and makes necessary delivery ETAs as needed.

Get a sneak peek at this feature, coming to the Shipwell platform in early 2019.

Merchants are also leveraging freight shipping as a competitive advantage by offering next day or two-day delivery.

The freight industry must become more efficient in order to keep up with the demand.  

3. Shipwell is a key component of an evolving industry.

Traff talks about efficiency and how Shipwell fits into the equation: “If you want someone to be 10 times more productive, there needs to be an intermediary step where they can be 2 or 4 times more productive because otherwise, what you end up with is a very rigid system where things can only be automated if they are done in just the right way.”

Shipwell is a platform that grows in value the more that shippers, brokers, and carriers input data to share across the industry. In the “trillion dollar” freight world, Shipwell simply wants to do a good job in the space they inhabit, by empowering all parties involved in the freight process.

Santosh asked Jason why Shipwell wasn’t just a tech company selling software, but also a full-suite 3PL. Jason said because Shipwell is modular, and he wants the data from all the freight Shipwell touches so the team can provide analytics to companies.

Shipwell is the advocate for the shipper, carrier, and broker.

As for the future of freight, Jason says he sees 3PLs taking more of a consulting role as the industry defragments. By then, the data inside Shipwell will have grown to be a viable asset to the industry as a whole. If connectivity is the product, the solution is Shipwell.

To listen to the full episode, visit the Dynamo website or listen on Stitcher, Google Play, or iTunes.

Keep up with everything we’re doing at Shipwell! Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on news, product updates, and so much more.

Newsletter sign up