There has been a tremendous focus in recent years placed on improving and updating the technologies involved in shipping freight.
Companies have invested heavily on the digital marketplace, websites, connective devices, etc., and this is to be expected in a rapidly digitized marketplace. The IOT (internet of things) is real.
People can conduct every manner of a transaction from the investigation phase through delivery of a shipment without ever speaking to a human being if that is their desire. New technologies in the shipping industry allow us to electronically follow shipments from start to finish. We send bills of lading and rate confirmations via computer, fax, or phone images.
We are able to advertise freight, cover loads, and vet carriers – all without ever potentially having to talk to anyone if we really desire so. But there needs to be a balance.
There are many conveniences within the “new” marketplace. There are electronic tools for almost every phase. But still – a human touch is necessary.
3PL’s, Brokers, Shipper’s, Forwarders, and Agents of all kinds will never be completely replaced by technology. Every load is nuanced and every shipping circumstance is different. Every customer’s personality and needs are different.
Few things in this industry are completely cut and dry. As many companies move more heavily into technology, they need to remember to also invest more in the human capitol that is the backbone of their organizations.
It is the personal relationships that are formed between individuals in different organizations that powers the freight industry – not the shiny lights and static cursers of the technology age. Technology is a tool we use, but people are the real assets. Our industry must remain focused on people and their needs, even as we move into a more digitized future. In the end, it will always be people who grow industry.