Tech’s role in strategic and transactional business relationships

March 29, 2023

Whether you’re a shipper or a carrier, creating sustainable partnerships is the key to maximizing your potential in the modern transport industry. Technological advances have made connecting with other stakeholders easier than ever before. These changes have also introduced a sense of artificial distance that can make business transactions feel less personal. How can transport professionals reintroduce the human element in their partnerships, and why are strategic partnerships so important in the modern transport field?

“Every shipper has a piece of his business that’s transactional, and they need to manage it as transactional,” says Joe Lombardo, President and Founder of transport consulting firm Ege Avenue Associates. “That being said, bigger and medium-sized shippers need to be more strategic in their go-to-market strategy with carriers and the way they run their business.”

Lombardo’s remarks highlight the balancing act that shippers must conduct from one partner to the next. While some partnerships will remain strictly transactional, others are maintained through personalized care and attention. Knowing the difference and managing these various relationships accordingly requires careful consideration.

What are some of the drawbacks and advantages presented by new technologies? Join the conversation with the latest episode of the Stay In Your Lane Podcast.

Transportation management systems (TMS) have revolutionized the way business is done across the field of transport. Complex transactions that were once conducted with little more than a spreadsheet and a phone call are now managed seamlessly in real time, and with greater transparency than ever before. In exchange for this convenience, much of the back-and-forth communication once conducted directly by interested parties has been streamlined into faceless digital interaction.

These advances have been great for efficiency, but at the cost of genuine connections that are the bedrock of lasting business partnerships. With so much human interaction engineered out of the process, who will be there for you in a time of crisis?

Examples from the time before widespread communications technology still hold lessons for today. Events such as the capacity squeeze from the UPS strike of 1997 or FEMA’s disruptive intervention into shipping commerce following Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the value of a strong network of freight professionals. Knowing that you have partners who will be there to stand by you with their business in the face of a crisis is a reassurance that no technology can replace.

How can transport professionals strike the balance between transactional and strategic partnerships? Learn more in the latest episode of the Stay In Your Lane Podcast.

On the other hand, technology has also been a tool for sparking new relationships between shippers and carriers. Even if these relationships remain purely transactional, digital tools put companies in touch that would otherwise have never made contact. This gives both carriers and shippers more options to spread their business among a wider range of players.

“[Technology] helped create access to more companies that could provide a transactional offering,” says Glenn Koepke, GM of Network Collaboration at FourKites. “Transactional players have always existed, but the access to options has changed immensely because of technology.”

Technology is here to stay and will play an important role in the transport industry’s future. Even in the more relationship-oriented business environment of the past, available technology was utilized to facilitate freight transactions and improve efficiency. Knowing how to get the most from technology without sacrificing personal connection is the key to a well-rounded business approach.

For a partner that balances the latest state of the art technologies with industry leading customer service and support, trust the 3PL professionals at Triple T Transport. Contact us today to request a quote or learn more about our full range of services.

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