The past year proved difficult for many, but it also shined a light on innovation. XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO) is one of those companies that helped usher in a new era of FreightTech innovation, but it didn’t do it alone. Communication is a key to innovation, and that means transportation and logistics companies must interact and listen to their shipping partners.
“I’m constantly talking with our customers,” explained Jake Schnell, vice president of business development for XPO Logistics. “Right now, with everything that’s happened between the pandemic and severe storms, we’re always listening to our customers’ needs and helping them adapt to the changing market.”
Schnell said XPO consistently hears three core themes: flexibility, visibility and creativity.
Schnell appeared on FreightWaves’ WHAT THE TRUCK?!? with Dooner and The Dude on Friday to discuss what XPO has done, and continues to do, to help its customers address those themes.
Watch: Jake Schnell explains XPO’s solutions
Developing solutions based in part on those conversations allows shippers themselves to innovate alongside XPO, and keeps the supply chain moving efficiently. Schnell highlighted a few of the solutions XPO offers. These include:
- Guaranteed capacity. XPO’s brokerage carrier network allows the movement of freight through dedicated lanes or by leveraging assets in other XPO lines of business as needed, giving XPO massive amounts of capacity.
- Real-time pricing. XPO uses its dynamic pricing algorithms to monitor and proactively react to market shifts. By integrating with shippers, the rates are deployed through API technology. Schnell noted that XPO’s API quotes increased 45% last quarter.
- Flex fleet program. Drop trailers give customers flexible and scalable shipping options.
“We listen to our customers’ supply chain challenges and use our capabilities to come up with great ways to solve those challenges,” Schnell said. “If you are a shipper and you’re looking for size, scale and technology, we should be talking. We can deliver capacity and service when you need it most.”
When it comes to technology, XPO may be best known for its XPO Connect platform. The digital freight marketplace, launched in 2018, is used by shippers to track and trace their shipments, get a quote and manage their spend with XPO. Schnell highlighted that almost 90% of XPO’s brokerage orders have some part of the transaction automated. This automation is accelerating and ultimately saves time for shippers.
“We have a lot of expertise with carriers and shippers, especially in adapting to unpredictable environments and changing demand – a lot like what we’re seeing today,” he said. “With Connect, we’re able to provide customers with real-time visibility into freight status, up-to-the-minute delivery tracking and suggestions for more cost-effective and faster transport.”
Technology, though, can only handle some of the process. The other part of the equation is the people involved. Schnell said, “XPO made a strategic decision to hire and enable the team with technology while at the bottom of the market. As demand rebounded and the environment became tight, we were in a strong position to help our customers find capacity,” He attributes this to why XPO is known as one of the most agile brokerages in North America.
XPO continues to update and improve its XPO Connect platform with additional data, visibility options, and features that support growing businesses as they navigate the ups and downs in the market. “We listen to our customers, create solutions as a team, and then execute on those plans. It’s what our customers expect and what we’re committed to delivering for them.”