There is value in catering to a specific niche than being general. This is as true for your business and how you serve your customers as it is for the technology providers that serve you. Shippers, brokers, and carriers using a technology solution designed for the general user from any industry miss the benefits they could get from a solution developed by those knowledgeable in freight. Consider tech designed with the nuances of the industry in mind. With the huge potential for freight partners to better leverage their APIs, an integration platform is the next application that is calling for a freight-specific provider.
Designing integrations for freight
It's the reason why some companies specifically advertise their product as "designed for" their niche market and "designed by" their niche market (for example, a product "made for women, by women")—consumers know there is a deeper knowledge of the challenges and pain points that only comes from the users themselves. The target users know every detail of what they need solved, details that someone on the outside would not even know to look for.
The same goes for an integration platform designed for freight professionals rather than for the general market. These developers understand the use cases that the solution will be addressing, and this helps them build a better design. A developer for a general market can create a solution that, from their perspective, seems to meet the needs of the freight broker, carrier, or shipper, however the user might actually find the design doesn't align with their needs.
It's essential the technology provider understand what happens both downstream and upstream from any point in the workflow. They can better realize the desired result and the steps taken to get there, addressing workflow design, organizational design, and features available to create an ideal user experience. Freight professionals may have a workflow that involves multiple systems that must work together. The design of the integration should not add any redundancy to the process.
As it becomes increasingly important for companies to use remote environments and workspaces, you want to keep your users inside your tools as much as possible. This is the appeal for companies to build their own TMSs and other solutions. However, with the right integrations, these companies can still purchase an outside solution and leverage the integration to bring data into their own tool the way they need it.
Repeated challenges, well-tested solutions
A technology provider that has experience in this industry becomes more familiar with the design challenges unique to freight. They see the same difficulties brought up by their customers and know how to handle these issues from the beginning, even looking out for them proactively. These challenges might not lead to the same solution for every scenario, but the technology provider has the expertise to recommend which direction they take for reaching a solution
The solutions available allow freight partners to lean into automation and increase productivity and efficiency. By leveraging APIs, freight brokers, carriers, and shippers can offer time-saving capabilities from a single platform, for example posting available loads or using a book-it-now option. With proper integrations, APIs can help users spend less time on low-value tasks such as manual data entry while reducing redundancy and minimizing the chance of human error and screen fatigue.
Technology built specifically for one industry is a valuable asset for those operations. Platforms serving one market better equip their customers with the right tools and solution design. Consider how long it takes to train an employee new to transportation and logistics on the various situations they'll encounter in the job. It is even more important for a company's technology to come in with industry experience.
In many other industries, this is a given. For example healthcare has its own solutions for integrations. Retail and financial services have their own solutions for integrations. It’s time for freight to enjoy an integration solution developed uniquely for us.