Automation is a loaded word in business circles these days. One person’s efficiency tool is another person’s job killer. Even among those who appreciate the potential of automation in logistics, the definition of what automation is and what it can do varies widely. Is it a vehicle to take the burden of mundane tasks off the desks of humans, or is it an intelligent tool that does more than follow instructions well? As products like chatGPT and other so-called generative AI creations infiltrate the public’s consciousness (and commercial initiatives), it’s important to take stock of where the freight transportation industry is with regards to automation. In this one-on-one chat, AVRL CEO Chadd Olesen will give an inside peak into how all parties involved in freight transportation are — and aren’t — using automation to get a leg up on their competition.
Getting a “true” rate in truckload freight has always been more art than science, but a cohort of technology providers now are arming shippers and brokers with tools and data to make more accurate pricing and buying decisions. But many questions linger: How plug and play are the solutions? How many tools does a single organization need to invest in? Is the source of information neutral? Can the same process be used for contract and spot? This session will explore the present and future of pricing through the lens of using technology to make things better and simpler, not more confusing for those tasked with freight procurement.
Virtually every shipper is somewhere on a journey from mediocre data quality and manual processes to improved data quality and some level of automation. Improving data and the logistics processes that rely on good data generally revolves around engaging with third parties that specialize in technology, services, or both. The choice generally boils down to choosing a software vendor that enables a shipper to help itself or a technology-forward 3PL that provides solutions to the shipper. All of these strategic choices are in the service of efficiency, with process automation the eventual goal. That doesn't mean humans will be excluded from core logistics functions, just that automation plays an ever-increasing role in moving freight. This session will offer a glimpse into how one shipper is managing this journey, from a starting point of improving rail data and knock-on effects that has, to the broader goal of automating data feeds and, eventually, whole processes. The other panelists, a logistics technology vendor and a large freight broker, will give insight into what level of process automation their shippers want from them, and where this is all going in the years to come.
The three days of Inland23 have dissected data, analyzed market conditions, and featured forecasts. Pulling everything together, what are the ideas, warnings, lessons, and perhaps even solutions we can take home that will help us catch the rebound when it comes? In this closing session of Inland23, our conference co-chairs will sit down with select experts to cut through the noise and deliver the consensus takeaways you need as you plan for 2024.