Unprecedented Pressure Can Yield Surprisingly Positive Results: Technology and the Transformation of Supply Chains

To paraphrase British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during the Second World War, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste…”

The need for quarantine during the pandemic has forced much greater use of information and communication technology (ICT) and digitization across all industries. Companies and individuals have been forced to quickly adapt virtual tools to carry out activities that were previously face-to-face. This shift is resulting in greater access to information, knowledge and concurrent productivity gains – and investment in innovation.

Whether a manufacturer, shipper, 3PL or retailer, COVID-19 is exerting unprecedented pressure on all aspects of the supply chain – and surprisingly some of the results are positive and growing…

The “Uberization of Freight”

In a recent DC Velocity article, ‘Better together: Tech developers join forces to build a better freight-booking process’, the author describes the urgent push to capture new and better logistic and freight management efficiencies by integrating transportation management system (TMS) platforms with digital freight-matching (DFM) apps.

According to software development firm Blue Yonder, shippers and 3PLs often complain about the manually intensive freight-booking process. By offering access to carrier marketplaces (another term for DFM apps) platforms like Blue Yonder’s Luminate can streamline the process by providing live rates and real-time capacity information at the outset, instead of forcing users to go through the usual face-to-face of call-to-call routine of contacting their primary carriers, then defaulting to their backup carriers, and finally resorting to the expensive spot market.

“Uberization” isn’t just a buzzword though… In fact, Blue Yonder and Uber Freight recently announced a partnership designed to help businesses build efficient and transparent global supply chains at a crucial time.

Make it Disappear

Phantom Freight – or ‘ghost loads’ – are a problem caused by the rapid growth of DFM tools. Just as an Uber driver would be left scratching their head, looking for the missing passenger, shippers and logistics firms can be left wondering what happened to the freight load they thought had been booked.

In a recent Inbound Logistics article, “Make It Disappear” the author explains, “Today, shippers, carriers, and brokers often post their loads or capacity on multiple freight matching platforms, marketplaces, or load boards. The more carriers that see the loads, the more likely one will be able to book the load – a practice sometimes called “post and pray.” Once a shipper load and a carrier are connected, those loads are effectively off the market.

However, the other participants in the market aren’t aware of this, as no solution is in place for removing those loads from the rest of the market. When DFM providers try to book those phantom loads, they discover, sometimes hours later, that the load they thought they booked was already booked by another company.”


As Uber, Lyft and others have dramatically disrupted the ‘human’ transportation industry with their proprietary software platforms, others are working to provide a more open and accessible solution to the challenges faced by combining rapidly emerging technologies.

Firms such as DFM Data Corp., based in Atlanta, Georgia, are working to combine separate and disparate resources into a singular clearinghouse – benefitting the entire shipping and supply chain industry.

The pressures we all face, to confront and adapt to an uncertain and changing environment can, at times, lead to results that change our world for the better. At Sackett, we value the partnerships with our vendors and customers in bringing emerging technologies and streamlined solutions to all of our logistics management.

Get A Quote