For freight brokerages, top-line revenue isn’t as impressive as it sounds. Profitability is the key, and the profits are all derived from gross margin. It’s the difference between what a freight broker charges a shipper and pays a carrier that brings in the cash flow to keep the lights on and the brokers earning commission checks.
Here are three tips that will help all freight brokerages expand gross margin dollars and drive value to the bottom line on their P&L sheet by increasing freight broker profit.
Like stock market or real estate brokers, freight brokers must have the most current and reliable market insights to succeed. In other words, detailed freight market intelligence about load volumes and trucking capacity in as near real-time as possible is crucial. By using the best freight market data available, freight brokers can not only win more business from their competitors, but also increase freight broker profit by expanding margins.
Data platforms like FreightWaves SONAR provide the freight market data needed to win more business at higher gross margin. With daily load volumes and truck capacity data, freight brokers can now measure volatility in 135 freight markets across the U.S. to better forecast both short- and long-term trucking rates.
When freight brokerages handle freight on the same lanes for their customers day in and day out, they build an expertise on pricing and servicing these truckload shipments. This is called building a niche. When freight brokers build a dense enough transportation network, a competitive advantage is formed. It’s when freight brokers build a competitive advantage that gross margins really expand.
How is network density built? It includes the same fundamentals as building a niche. For geographic density it involves working with customers shipping truckload volumes on the same lanes. This allows freight brokers to build a carrier network for these volumes. The more loads moved, the denser the network, the stronger the service, and pricing expertise builds up over time.
That upshot leads to an even greater expansion in gross margins and expertise yielding freight broker profit.
Once the freight market intelligence and network density is in place, then it’s time to focus on expanding gross margins for freight broker profit even further. Automating as many processes as possible boosts productivity and increases profitability across the freight brokerage business.
What should be automated? Start with what’s the easiest to implement and then go from there. Remember it is boosts in productivity that increase freight broker profit. The easiest tasks to automate most often involve the mundane manual tasks like data entry, document processing, and billing. Often this doesn’t mean reducing head counts, but frees up current employees to work on higher value-add tasks.
From there, carrier management and freight matching are challenging, though both offer the biggest bang for the buck. By automating booking loads and negotiating freight rates, the best freight brokers can focus on generating new business that adds even more density to its network.
That effect, in turn, leads to increased productivity and profitability.
FreightWaves SONAR provides the fastest freight market data in the world driving freight broker profit, across all major modes of traffic. The SONAR platform is the only freight forecasting and analytics platform that offers real-time freight market intelligence driven off actual freight contract tenders.
SONAR has proprietary data that comes from actual load tenders, electronic logging devices and transportation management systems, along with dozens of third-party global freight and logistics-related index providers like TCA Benchmarking, Freightos, ACT, Drewry and DTN.
Whether you’re working from the office or from home, SONAR can provide you the data and intelligence you need to stay ahead of your competitors.
Find out more about FreightWaves SONAR for brokers.
You can find more information on freight brokerage and carrier sales on the popular FreightWaves sales show, Put That Coffee Down.