On episode 11 of Future of Supply Chain, I had to chance to speak with Ricardo Salgado, Founder and CEO of Loadsmart, about re-imagining the full truckload freight lifecycle using data and custom centric culture.
Ricardo attended Georgia Tech for Engineering, and out of college worked with a technology startup. He later worked for Goldman Sachs, spent 13 years in New York, and another 10 years between New York, London, and Brazil. During this portion of his professional life, Ricardo saw how fragmented freight brokerage is and knew there was opportunity for change. On this journey he learned to appreciate the importance of sales and distribution, design, and engineering. Ricardo tells me about his journey with Loadsmart and how they are improving the full truckload freight experience.
Loadsmart built their business with a focus on technology-enabled operations. Ricardo saw the opportunity to digitize freight brokerage and automate full truckload shipping. They chose to lead with technology, which is why 45% of their team is composed of engineers and data scientists. Considering 90% of FTL carriers have 6 trucks of less, most of them do not have access to robust technology let alone APIs. Loadsmart is able to empower the “mom and pops” while also introducing the first enterprise API that allows large clients to consume their technology without limit. Ricardo and his team also brought the first instant pricing and booking nationwide on the full truckload side. Since the beginning, Loadsmart has maintained 100% retention of enterprise clients, which has led to several strategic partnerships and results in customer focus and satisfaction.
We are at the beginning of a tech-enabled world. In my theory of the industry being broken into 3 phases of technology, we are just at the beginning of phase 2 — tech-enabled. Our goal is phase 3 — completely tech driven. The industry has progressed past the status quo, which was very people heavy and not really any automation. Looking just 8 years ago, only 25% of truck drivers had a smartphone, flash to today where 98% of drivers own a smartphone. The industry is adapting, and there is opportunity to move into tech adoption. Technology is helping bridge assets and service requirements closer together. We are still not anywhere near phase 3, partially because of the data aggregation issue. Data is fragmented and until it can be aggregated, we cannot fully understand how to offer better value, pricing, or service.
Leveraging technology allows for better and faster service. This industry, more than others, is a customer centric business, they need to be satisfied with the service. Loadsmart offers near instant pricing for multiple loads, which typically takes upwards of an hour. Automation and data aggregation assists employees and ultimately results in better pricing and faster service. Higher resolution data permits Loadsmart to create customer profiles, track real-time location, and create more visibility that produces an improved customer experience.