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Paul HowardProduct Marketing Manager, FourKites

Participating in a real-time visibility network is becoming increasingly common for drivers throughout the supply chain and logistics industry. Even as this trend continues to increase, however, there are many drivers, carriers and owner-operators who are still weighing the benefits, or who are even hearing about real-time visibility networks for the first time. No matter where you are in your journey with this fast-growing trend, this post is for you.

A real-time visibility network is a shared ecosystem where drivers, carriers, shippers and brokers can track operational insights, promote collaboration and optimize the shared supply chain. As data plays an increasingly important role in logistics, networks that can bring that data into a single pane of glass are playing a greater role than ever before.

These networks offer tremendous advantages for drivers who know how to use them, regardless of region or industry. Skillful use of a real-time visibility network can create opportunities to drive your own rates up, strengthen relationships with customers, and win more freight for your business. Here are a few tips for how you can make the most of the networks you’re in.

1: Use Your ELD to its Fullest Potential

Historically, many drivers, brokers and carriers relied on cell phone tracking to get real-time location updates on their loads. In addition to privacy concerns, these technologies suffered from deep-rooted and systemic performance issues. Since the ELD Mandate took effect in 2019, nearly all drivers now have access to far superior technology, right there in your cabs and trailers.

It has been proven that the GPS-based connectivity provided by most onboard electronic logging devices (ELDs) creates a stronger and more consistent connection than traditional cell phone tracking. It also tracks only the truck itself, which eliminates many of the privacy concerns voiced by drivers in the past regarding cell phone tracking. So since you probably already have one in the truck, why not use it to your advantage?

Connecting your ELD with a real-time visibility network like FourKites is as easy as entering your ELD credentials within our self-service portal, signing in, and getting started. Some providers will require truck or trailer equipment as well to verify the connection, but once you’ve entered that then you’ll be ready to go.

2: Promote Your Connectivity to Potential Customers

List your ELD provider and visibility network participation in the signature of your email. This not only adds credibility to emails, but also shows current and prospective customers that you are already connected to the visibility platforms they use, making you a more attractive candidate for their freight.

Good visibility is good business in today’s logistics landscape, so don’t stop at your email signature when it comes to promoting your company’s visibility capabilities. If you have a website, use it to offer a list of your technology partners. Logistics is increasingly a team sport, and technology providers are an integral part of the connective tissue of modern supply chains. All of this boils down to the fact that the more people you have on your team, the stronger your business looks.

3: Show Your Value With Case Studies

Let your experiences tell a story. Shippers are looking for partners who can help them address the supply chain challenges their own businesses are facing. So, if you’re already solving those problems, then why not show it off?

You will quickly find that by leveraging a platform like FourKites, proactive visibility can reduce manual check calls, detention and dwell time, location labor costs and much more. Real-time visibility improves ETAs, helps with appointment management, and improves on-time performance — and these are all things your customers want as much as you do. As you have loads that go the extra mile, write them down. Those are the stories that your customers want to hear about, and it will reward you in larger payouts and stronger customer relationships.

4:  Articulate and Negotiate

Quick, simple comments about why you are a high-performing carrier make a difference. Many negotiations can be impacted by the value you deliver — and it’s your job to make your customers aware of how you’re adding that value. When you remind customers of the extra value you can deliver as a carrier with strong visibility, they may be more likely to pay a little more.

This is where the rubber meets the road. If you craft your value and can quickly articulate how it makes you better, it will make you stronger in the eyes of your customers. Each load is unique, so think about the ways you leverage technology to improve your customer service. With each conversation and passing load, your business grows and your track record can improve. Use that process over and over to build your brand.

FourKites is committed to helping carriers improve efficiency and grow their business. We love to hear your stories of success and champion them to the trucking community. Together we can drive supply chain success. If you have a story to share, email us at [email protected].

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