Transfix CEO, Drew McElroy, was invited to speak on the “Trucking Brokerage Panel” at the 11th Annual Wolfe Research Global Transportation Conference on May 23, 2018. Drew was joined on the panel by Andy Clarke, CFO of C.H. Robinson; Doug Waggoner, Chairman and CEO of Echo Global Logistics; and Jim Gattoni, President & CEO of Landstar System.
Here are the 3 key observations made by Drew during the panel discussion:
1. The ELD has had its share of opposition from the truck-driver community since its launch. While at first glance the ELD may seem restrictive to drivers, its long-term effects will be positive. Aside from improving safety, the ELD is in effect putting a premium on the truck drivers’ time. And eventually it will change the behavior of shippers. For example, shippers will focus more on improving detention times as those hours will now be counted against the drivers’ hours of service.
2. Technology can do a lot, but it cannot automate relationships. For example, we automate the steps in the supply chain that make sense, like the logistics of the shipment itself. But we can never take humans out of the loop completely. And that’s even with an abundance of data and the ability to use AI to get smarter over time. Our technology “pings” or “checks in” with our drivers every 30 seconds to collect both quantitative data (like loading times) and qualitative data (like the quality of interactions between truckers and shippers). But no algorithm or automated process can take the place of the rapport that’s built through regular person-to-person conversations.
3. Big data and AI will be a vital driving force to tackle the current capacity crunch in trucking. Advanced technology is proving to be a powerful tool. By collecting data and turning them into data-driven insights, industry players will be able to more effectively match carriers with shipments, resulting in “smarter” utilization of available resources.