Promoting Efficiency and Increasing Productivity with Landstar’s New Technology
Landstar is committed to supporting independent agents, their businesses and their customers with the best tools and resources available. After collaborating with numerous agencies, Landstar found a need for a tool that would not only help agencies develop fast, accurate quotes for their customers, but would find available capacity quickly too. For this reason, Landstar’s propriety technology, Pricing Tools, was created. Since the launch of Pricing Tools in 2017, agents and shippers alike are benefiting from the technology’s functionality.
Quotes in Seconds
The quoting process, which was once very tedious for agents, has improved significantly thanks to the algorithms and machine learning technology behind Pricing Tools. Agents previously referred to and checked several third-party sources to develop one quote for a customer. This process used to take a seasoned agent at least an hour to complete. For someone new to the industry, it could take twice as long. Now, getting a quote is accomplished in a matter of seconds. Data is pulled from multiple industry tools and resources, as well as the agency’s own pricing history, and analyzed using formulas created by data scientists contracted by Landstar – with the goal of returning an accurate price range applicable to the current marketplace. All an agent needs to produce a quote is the origin, destination and equipment type. The sooner an agent can deliver a reasonable quote to their customer, the sooner the agent can get their shipper’s load on the road.
“The data science behind Landstar’s Pricing Tools means that the accuracy and viability of the information improves through the use of the product. This aspect of machine learning enables Landstar agents to move at the speed of business, provide price quotes, identify capacity options and look for trends,” said Pat O’Malley, Landstar vice president and chief commercial and marketing officer.
Locates Available Capacity
Not only does this new technology help agents provide quick, accurate quotes for their customers, it’s a tool to help them locate available capacity, too. The truckload capacity tab within Pricing Tools shows agents how many trucks are accessible in the designated market at the time of the agent’s search and trucks that are available within a 100-mile radius of the origin for the next three days from their search. This future outlook on a market’s capacity availability is developed with historical data to give agents a projection of how active a specific lane is, who is running the opposite lane that could potentially be looking for a back haul, and what business capacity owners (BCOs) or carriers have run that lane in the past.
“Reducing friction and expediting each transaction is one of our primary objectives. Customers, capacity providers and Landstar are interconnected in the supply chain. Landstar’s Pricing Tools helps bring these constituents together for a more accurate and transparent transportation solution. In today’s market, working with a transportation provider that can easily access a large network of truckload capacity is advantageous for a shipper,” explained O’Malley.
Alternative Modes of Transportation
It’s important for agents to be armed with knowledge to provide shippers all of their capacity choices, even if that means using an alternate mode of transportation. In cases where a load is not time sensitive and is traveling 500 miles or more, intermodal may be the most viable option. Landstar’s Pricing Tools will present agents with intermodal shipping options in addition to truckload capacity, if railroads are available along the designated route. This advantage allows the agent to closely collaborate with the customer to develop the best solution for their shipment.
Pricing Tools is designed to constantly learn from the data agents contribute to the system. Daily updates are applied to absorb any new information – to produce more accurate quotes in a constantly changing transportation marketplace. The more details an agent inputs about a shipment and the more frequently the agent uses the technology, the more data points the Pricing Tools can reference to deliver the best results.
Incorporating Pricing Tools into day-to-day operations of their businesses allows Landstar agents to more effectively communicate with BCOs and carriers, have more time to dedicate to growing their businesses, and nurture relationships with new and existing customers.
“Pricing Tools is yet another valuable addition to the long list of resources agents have to service their customers through the Landstar network,” concluded O’Malley.