Long before the advent of Social Media and platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, people understood the importance of developing a network of contacts that could be called upon for business opportunities, help with problems or even the occasional favor. Based on the premise that success in any field is as much about “know who”, as it is “know-how”, we can all remember getting advice from experienced colleagues to “broaden your network”.
The “Network Effect”
Way back when, networking was all about your “Rolodex” and the process of establishing relationships one phone call or meeting at a time. While it still requires effort to build a trust-based network, digital platforms now provide lightning-fast access to an endless pool of potential business partners. Known as the “Network Effect”, this combination of access and speed has not only changed how humans interact, but how companies do business together.
In the field of Full Truckload shipping, Emerge was the first to introduce shippers and carriers to the benefits of the Network Effect. Through the Freight Procurement Platform, shippers can accelerate the speed with which they access over 30,000+ pre-vetted carriers to create the best combination of price and service. Whether a shipper executes multiple RFPs per year on the platform, or a single load, the Network Effect is fundamental to the Emerge value proposition.
Whereas access and speed are a great place to start when developing shipper/carrier relationships, we’ve also come to believe that in addition to the Network Effect itself, companies should also gauge the “Net Work Effect”. When it comes to digital FTL procurement, that means comparing the effort that goes into networking with the net impact it has on operational, service, and financial results.
Here are some examples of how the Emerge Freight Procurement Platform harnesses the Network Effect to impact the Net Work of both shippers and carriers:
Shipper access to untapped capacity.
On the Emerge Freight Procurement Platform, shippers are no longer constrained by the slow and manual process of conducting business with a few “core carriers”. With just a couple of keystrokes, shippers are on their way to developing relationships with the exact number of carriers that they deem appropriate.
Carrier contact with previously inaccessible shippers.
Of equal importance, the platform also affords carriers the ability to work with shippers they would otherwise not have access to. With the same speed and precision as shippers, FTL providers broaden their networks by pursuing business that makes the most strategic sense for them.
Harness the power of the Network Effect with periodic RFPs:
The Emerge Freight Procurement Platform not only enables network building, but shippers can also take full advantage of the Network Effect by executing multiple bids per year. In addition to shippers getting a rapid response, pricing is a true reflection of lane-specific market conditions.
Design RFPs to attract special designation carriers:
Whereas the Emerge Network Effect opens the door to thousands of carriers, the RFP platform can be set up with very specific qualifications in mind. Specifically, shippers can configure an RFP to focus on relationship building with veterans, women and/or minority owned businesses, etc.
The Network Effect creates price and service indices:
Over time, immediate access to multiple carriers helps shippers to pinpoint price and service performance at the lane level. As such, not only can shippers index pricing on a lane, but when loads are tendered they can measure service performance, too.
Reduce paper rates and load rejections:
Yet another benefit of the Emerge Network Effect is that paper rates and load rejections are all but eliminated. As relationships grow, shippers see that once a carrier submits an offer on the platform, they will accept a subsequent tender and that they will charge the price quoted.
Operational efficiencies free up time for strategic relationship development:
When shippers and carriers execute loads via the platform, its integrated design and speed of execution frees up time to develop strategic partnerships. In what soon becomes a virtuous cycle, the Emerge Network Effect all but guarantees that the quality of their respective networks will always be improving.
More efficient use of equipment and driver hours:
On the carrier side of the equation, FTL providers use the Network Effect to become more effective at allocating equipment and optimizing driver hours. Not only are head-hauls maximized, but reductions in empty miles also generate even greater operational enhancements.
Mother Earth likes the Emerge Network Effect, too:
Without question, when shippers and carriers collaborate on the platform, the efficiencies born of the Network Effect reduce the FTL carbon footprint. In nearly every instance, the alignment of carrier assets with shipper loads results in fewer empty miles, bobtails and/or wait times, all of which help the environment.
While everyone in the business world appreciates the power of the Network Effect, its true value can only be determined by the impact it has on operational, financial, and service outcomes. In other words, it’s not just about building a network; the time and effort that goes into nurturing relationships must be measured against the extent to which it improves your “Net Work”.
For FTL shippers and carriers, the Emerge Freight Procurement Platform optimizes the Network Effect by providing immediate access to a vast pool of potential partners. Based on that rapid and widespread access, parties then use the platform to run RFPs, post loads, bid on business, award lanes, and ultimately, move freight. At that point, strategic management of the Network Effect creates a virtuous cycle that by its very nature, improves over time.
Clearly, a win/win/win for shippers, carriers, and the environment, Emerge designed the Freight Procurement Platform with the Network Effect in mind. And in an age where the service and price demands placed on the FTL community are more intense than ever, there’s no better tool in the market to improve your “Net Work”!