For a long time in the third-party logistics (3PL) industry, brokers have been seen as a key component of connecting shippers to carriers. These middlemen have been seen as having the information and experience required to facilitate shipment options. However, with the advent of new technologies, brokers are starting to become a thing of the past. To see how the 3PL industry is evolving in this regard, we’ve looked to the case of AssetCo Freight. Look below for an overview of how the company is crafting new solutions for customers tired of the inefficiency of old methods.
About the company
AssetCo Freight connects shippers to carriers across the U.S. through the use of its proprietary transportation management system. That system allows customers to directly see where and when transportation options will become available near them. With this information, shippers can become more empowered to craft transportation strategies that work best for them. The tech also allows customers greater control over shipments once they are underway. Overall this amounts to a focus on flexibility for customers that has been previously been difficult to achieve in a more traditional broker-based logistics model.
This paradigm-shifting business plan is nothing new for the company’s founder, Luis Lopez. With a long history in the 3PL industry, the company head has often been singled out for his willingness to go against ingrained industry practices to provide higher levels of service offerings to customers. An early example of this was the manner in which he provided customers with greater flexibility when dealing with hazardous materials. This work, completed through one of his first logistics undertakings, allowed customers to set same-day pickup for hazardous material shipping, which had previously been rare in the cumbersome hazmat management business. He now brings that same innovative spirit to the 3PL industry at large.
One of the ways in which the company’s technology provides flexibility to customers is through its carrier tracking model. The company’s transportation management system tracks carriers in a customer’s area and allows them to see a number of important metrics to help them decide on a shipping partner. These metrics include a reliability rating, safety score, and customer service analysis. The company’s software updates these ratings in real-time as new information is available, allowing customers to feel confident that they are getting the latest evaluations pertinent to making their decision.
This tracking tool takes care to work with an extensive network of carriers to ensure that there is a carrier type for every customer need. This means that owner-operators and fleets of all sizes are included in the software’s database. Carriers are incentivized to participate in the system’s network through fast pay solutions and a powerful backend dashboard that helps them manage their shipments quickly and easily. The power that results from this technology-focused approach is beneficial for both shippers and carriers, resulting in a network that far exceeds the critical mass necessary to offer comprehensive 3PL services. At present, the platform’s network of carriers number over 50,000 and serves all 48 contiguous states.
Though full truckload shipping solutions can often be the most efficient when a customer has a large number of goods to transport, there are many times when a customer’s needs are smaller than what would fill an entire truck. That’s why the 3PL company also offers a range of less-than-truckload (LTL) options in addition to their truckload solutions. These options allow customers to combine their goods with other shippers so that they are not required to utilize all the space in a single truck, resulting in a cost savings for all involved.
LTL solutions offer a comparable level of technology-enabled assistance to the company’s full truckload offerings. This includes real-time tracking via an in-app live map. It also allows customers to schedule shipments in a manner that best meets their schedule. This can be accomplished days or even weeks in advance and can also be set up as a recurring pickup and delivery option. The service also provides direct communication between shippers and drivers, allowing customers to call drivers with additional information once an order is placed. Once again this helps to create a higher degree of flexibility for customers so they can ship according to whatever unique needs they may have.
While much of the 3PL industry is geared towards transportation, AssetCo Freight also offers warehouse storage solutions to complement its customers’ shipping needs. The company maintains a network of more than 1000 warehouses across the U.S. and connects companies who are in need of additional warehouse space with carriers through its software platform. This can be accomplished through its on-demand warehousing solutions, which connect customers with available warehouse spaces in real-time as they are needed. The service is offered entirely through the company’s software environment, meaning customers can utilize it without picking up a phone and speaking with a warehouse directly.
Warehouse providers are required to have insurance and assume liability for loss or damages of goods that they store. Fees for storage are also communicated upfront and never incorporate hidden charges on the back end. Taken together, these policies help to combine the company’s notoriety for flexibility with an approach that allows customers the peace of mind to use any warehouse provider in its vast network. The company’s software helps customers track goods through unique IDs in its warehouse management system, adding an additional level of security to every transaction.
While brokers have been an often used method for connecting customers and carriers in the 3PL industry, some companies are starting to recognize the inefficiency of such a method. To help solve this problem, AssetCo Freight is utilizing a technology-driven approach to trucking and warehousing that helps to directly connect customers with providers through its management systems. This approach provides greater flexibility and access to services while also keeping fees transparent. For businesses that are looking for an easier and more reliable shipping option that comes at a reasonable cost, this approach holds plenty of promise.