buytruckload.com announces its arrival into the truckload brokerage market
February 26, 2013 - LM Editorial
In a market that has literally thousands of entrants, a new one is now on the scene. Earlier this month, a new Web-based player entered the truckload brokerage market, Chicago-based buytruckload.com.
Headed by John Labrie—former president of CRST Expedite, president of Con-way Freight, EVP of Strategy and Enterprise Operations at Con-way, president of Con-way Freight Western, vice President of Operations at Con-way Freight Western—and Sean Devine—former Vice president of Strategy and Transportation Purchasing at Echo Global Logistics, vice president of Pricing and Engineering at Con-way Freight, vice president of Enterprise Engineering at Con-way, vice president of Consulting at Emptoris (now IBM) and vice president of Products and Services at CombinetNet—buytruckload.com is a sibling company of Partage LLC, a wholesale truckload brokerage that provides transportation resellers, 3PLs, brokers and forwarders with low-cost transactional truckload capacity through a web site that provides automated pricing and on-line booking.
The company has two main service offerings for shippers of all sizes—a carrier search and a transportation procurement survey.
The carrier search is comprised of a database of every carrier and broker in the country, with carriers identified by equipment type, size, location, safety performance, and authority, among others. Carrier lists, said the company, can be downloaded to Excel and used to create carrier lists for RFPs.
And the transportation procurement survey provides what buytruckload.com said is a framework for reviewing existing transportation solutions from a strategic design standpoint. This offering requires about a ten-minute self-assessment by a shipper, or transportation buyer, of their current situation and allows participants to compare their results to industry peers and offer immediate feedback.
“We are focused on providing on what we think are some pretty unique services for shippers to help them reduce their transportation costs for free,” Labrie said in an interview with LM.
In regards to the survey, Labrie said it enables shippers to look at things from a few different aspects of how transportation may function for different groups. The survey is broken down into various segments, he said, including: performance management; sourcing and negotiation; supplier qualification (which includes questions on systems and processes, organizational design, and expectations around payment terms) which help buytruckload.com gauge what is of most importance to its customer.
“This helps them walk away with a clear understanding of how they are positioned in each of these things,” Labrie noted. “It also relates to their strategy and what state of change they may be in with the approach to those functional areas. And because the feedback is immediate, shippers can walk away and come to conclusions about how they approach each of these areas, which is very much in line with our strategy. What we do does not always seem to be in sync with what a company that is pursuing a strategy we are pursuing overall would normally do. It is very good about helping somebody understand if they are misaligned in any of those particular areas.”
This process, he said, is not to say a certain process or approach is right or wrong, as much as it is a barometer for what most companies are attempting to pursue in regards to a specific strategy in a certain instance, which helps shippers to better understand if they are misaligned in a particular area.
When asked about the current state of truckload capacity, which, anecdotally, appears to be loosening, Labrie said that things are somewhat typical for this time of the year, with January fairly strong from a demand standpoint compared to a normal January, whereas February has been somewhat more vulnerable or choppy.
“We have seen that play out from a capacity standpoint, and things can get tight on any particular day, but it is also pretty lane-specific,” he said. “In certain pockets of the country, you can see relative tightness and relative increases in capacity. There is nothing we have seen that feels unusual about the first quarter.”
The carrier search component of buytruckload.com contains a search tool that Labrie said his company maintains is more robust than any other in the market, along with having the ability to access every carrier and broker in the industry.
Carriers and brokers can be identified by things like proximity to location as an example. So if a large shipper is running a sourcing event and has a truckload bid, it can invite carriers within 50 miles from every major shipping location in the shipper’s operational network and also invite any carrier located within 50 miles of the destinations a shipper is making deliveries to. Labrie said a list can be created for this type a thing from the Web into an Excel spreadsheet.
“It really is going to give shippers a way to access information about the market and about carriers that typically have only resided in the hands of some of the best brokers that have invested significant amounts of money into that,” he said.
And while the truckload brokerage market has become increasingly saturated in recent years, with roughly 11,000 brokers and 70,000 carriers in the U.S. based on FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) data, buytruckload.com, said Labrie, has made it easier for shippers to identify carriers and brokers within that massive list of companies.
“We have created unique ways for shippers to identity carriers and brokers that might be the best fit for [shippers’] transportation needs based on what they do,” he said. “Brokerage has really expanded in the last four-to-five years…because the barriers to entry and exit are so low. What that has done is fuel our intent to create something that really has a unique competitive advantage. That started at Partage with the creation of automated quoting and booking. We don’t believe there is any other truckload capacity provider in the market, whether they are asset-based or a broker that has that automated pricing like we have. We have created something which we think is like Priceline for truckload that we make available to other 3PLs and brokers. With other brokers the market is made by a customer’s salesperson that is engaging with the customer and getting opportunities for business that are either transactional or contractual and that individual is setting the price. We have automated that whole process and the computer sets the price.”
Labrie said that the competitive advantage that buytruckload.com creates is a real profit advantage over a traditional broker, because it does not have a customer sales staff that comes with related fixed or variable costs that a traditional broker would have, with that savings being passed over to its customers.
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