For more than 14 years, I've had the privilege of serving the logistics and transportation industry, working in partnership with trucking companies to ship more than a million freight shipments throughout the United States, Canada and beyond. I've seen the industry evolve to make room for job creation, which has allowed for the proliferation of third party logistics (3PL) companies. I started in the industry as a freight broker, facilitating shipments for walk-in customers from the back of my father's pack-and-ship store. Today, I employ more than 100 freight agents and software developers who enable other 3PLs or brokerages to go to market with ease. Wouldn't it be nice if more 3PLs could thrive and hire more employees of their own? That's where technology comes into play.
Before the creation of freight shipping software, known in the industry as a transportation management system or TMS, it was extremely difficult to partner with companies that had the trucks needed to transport goods. Combine that with the sad reality that trucking capacity is at an all time low in this country, and it's easy to see why so many jobs are out of reach. According to a recent CNNMoney article, there are approximately 200,000 job openings nationwide for long-haul truckers. No wonder it is so hard to break into freight - it's become increasing more difficult to locate a truck for a potential shipper, which is the ultimate goal of any freight agent.
A TMS is literally a business in a box. It allows agents who work for 3PLs to easily find capacity for loads and, in turn, that supports job creation throughout the industry. Historically, there has been zero slow-down in the amount of shipments that need to be distributed on a daily basis. If anything, that number is on the rise. According to the Bureau of Transportation Logistics, freight shipments this past July were at the sixth highest level since 2008 when the recession began.
Clearly, the economic downturn has not affected the movement of goods. Tie that to technology that makes it easier to find transport, and you have found a need for more workers. I hire about 10 to 20 freight agents each month just to handle the number of customers who need freight shipping services. These jobs don't require much skill - the software handles that part. Those employees who have a thirst for helping customers are the most successful. Bear in mind that as the industry ramps up development of systems that automate freight shipping for these 3PLs, there becomes an even greater need for qualified technology engineers and developers as well.
By creating software that's beneficial to entrepreneurs, like me, these developers have the greatest impact on job creation. The entrepreneurs that use the software need to employ workers in all areas of the organization, including accounting, web designers, IT professionals, marketers and customer support staff. These positions enable workers with a broad range of education and skill levels to enter a stable industry, where their jobs are potentially safe from layoffs and downsizing. What were once jobs done manually through phone calls and Internet searches can now be automated and streamlined, increasing revenues and economic growth.
With the right software in place, my 3PL has grown exponentially since its inception in 1998. As demand in the transportation industry continues to expand the need for freight shipping services and logistics support, entrepreneurs of other 3PLs and brokerages have an opportunity to jump into an already thriving market.
Operating out of the Tampa Bay area since 1998, FreightCenter.com is a non-asset based third-party logistics (3PL) company specializing in online freight management technology that simplifies transportation of commercial and residential shipments. For more information, please visit http://FreightCenter.com.