Technology & Data

Digitalization of transportation companies: drumming up business

March 10 2021

Transportation companies have every interest in embracing digital technology to improve their visibility and develop their commercial prospecting. Contrary to popular belief, this approach does not come at the expense of human interaction but can on the contrary strengthen it.

Digital technology is a great tool for the development of a company, whatever its sector of activity. In road freight transportation, owing to time constraints, many companies are not yet fully exploiting this potential. A few actions that are simple and inexpensive both in human resources and financial terms, can be implemented.

1 / Make yourself visible

The first thing to do is to improve your visibility on the internet.

Take the test: put yourself in the shoes of a company that needs road transportation near Rodez in Aveyron, for example. The first results that appear from a search for “Transport routier Aveyron” on Google all refer you to the “Yellow Pages” and business listings websites.

Nothing could be more disappointing for someone looking for a service provider than arriving on this type of site where there is little to learn about a company. The potential customer does not have access to the information that would allow them to know if the transportation company they have identified has the necessary tools to meet their needs.

Creating your own website will make it possible to provide essential information such as the location of your company, the areas in which you work, the type of services you offer, the characteristics of the vehicles, and of course the different means of contacting your company.

Many tools exist today to create a website of a few pages that is a “showcase” for your company in less than a day at a very limited cost. Wix, for example, allows you to create a website for free and host it for € 10 or € 15 / month depending on the offer.

Upply offers carriers who are subscribers to its marketplace another solution, free of charge: the creation of a showcase page bringing together the essential information. An excellent compromise when you lack the time or human resources to create a fully-fledged site.

It also helps to pay a minimum of attention to social media. First of all, it makes sense to have a page with the name of the company on major networks such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. This allows you to give a minimum of protection to your brand. Then, of course, it is even better if you can keep this page "alive" by regularly feeding it with information, but this is time consuming.

2 / Finding customers

Making yourself visible allows potential customers to find you. However, digital technology also makes it possible to reach out to them, in a proactive approach. The first step is to use the internet to identify prospects in your region. A fairly classic approach that has proven itself but deserves to be improved.

Digital platforms that connect supply to demand considerably broaden the scope of their commercial prospecting. At Upply, for example, we allow carriers:

  • To be visible to all shippers
  • To have access to available lots, according to criteria that they themselves have defined and that they can modify as they wish.

In this way, Upply provides access to hundreds of daily requests without interfering in the commercial relationship between the carrier and the shipper customer. The carrier decides who it wants to work with and at what price.

Digital tools are also a guarantee of efficiency. At Upply, we handle the administrative management of invoices, proof of delivery, mandatory documents, and act as a trusted third party for payment. This allows the carrier to focus on its core business. Likewise, the mobile application allows them to stay connected and never miss a good transaction opportunity, even when on the move.

3 / Strengthening relationships with customers

We often hear it said that digital technology harms human interaction, which is fundamental in the transportation and logistics sector. This is not the case! On the contrary, digital tools, by their ease of use, make it possible to communicate more effectively with customers. A message informing of the departure or arrival of their goods is very reassuring for the shipper. Furthermore, it is often more likely to reach its recipient than a phone call, and without bothering them since it is they who choose the moment when to read it.

These digital tools, when used correctly, can strengthen customers' confidence in the quality of service of their provider. Feedback is also simpler and can be shared. For example, at Upply we have set up an objective score for the quality of service. The idea is to promote virtuous behavior (punctuality, payment terms, etc.) to increase trust between the shipper and the carrier.

On the net as in real life, friendliness and concern for the customer can be felt. Digital technology does not replace human interaction, it multiplies its potential.

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Graduated from Toulouse School of Economics and École Polytechnique with a PhD, Thomas specialised himself in digital platforms. His strong background in Data Science led him to join Upply at the start of the project, where he now occupies the functions of Data and R&D Chief Officer.