What we learned at FreightWaves Live @ Home 2021

One of the hardest parts about the pandemic for us has been the inability to get together with other people in the transportation and logistics industry. Our team always enjoyed meeting our customers in-person or attending industry events. To help fill this gap, we attended FreightWaves Live @ Home, as a virtual exhibitor from May 19th to 20th. 

FreightWaves brought together an awesome lineup of transportation and logistics professionals, to share their knowledge on current trends in the industry and how they’ve adapted to the ever changing dynamics of the pandemic. They also created a fun virtual environment with upbeat music between sessions and many contests where you could win cool prizes — we would highly recommend attending a FreightWaves virtual event if you have the chance. 

Because we had such a great time, we thought we’d share some highlights and things we learned at the event: 

1. Relationships matter

A common theme we heard from various speakers was the importance of the relationships you create with people in the industry — both inside your company and externally.

Erin Van Zeeland, SVP/GM of Schneider said that the industry is, “really based on relationships,” which we think is the perfect way to sum it up.

The relationships you build in this industry can help you advance your business and also your career. Various speakers also highlighted that while the industry is embracing technology, the people behind the technology are what keeps everything moving. 

2. You have to be flexible

The pandemic forced everyone to adapt to new ways of working. Many companies had to adjust to having part, if not all, of their staff working remotely and also deal with a shift in how they worked. This shift in how we conduct business forced companies to figure out how to become more flexible in their operations. One way that can help companies become more flexible in the way they work is by investing in cloud-based technology, like TMS software.

Larry Klein, VP of Logistics for Bringg, talked with Kevin Hill on this subject and said, “How do we plan for a future that we don’t really know what’s in store and how do we make sure that our tech and processes are flexible enough so we don’t necessarily have to know what’s coming but we know we’re prepared to be able to flex, and be able to change, and be able to pivot.”

While the pandemic is hopefully coming to an end, this mindset of being able to be flexible and pivot is beneficial moving forward into the future because it will help a business navigate unexpected situations. 

3. Sustainability is top of mind 

An industry trend we heard throughout the event was the focus on sustainability and what transportation and logistic companies can do to help reduce the environmental impact their business has.

Jim Nicholson, VP of Operations at Loadsmart and Zach Strickland from FreightWaves had a fireside chat about how sustainability initiatives are driving shipper strategies and Zack mentioned how, “A lot of the practices of sustainability, such as mode optimization like [Jim] said, only help grow your business. The efficiencies of operating — if you can operate more efficiently and more sustainably, that's going to show up in your bottom line over time.”

While sustainability is not only good for earth, we also learned how impactful it can be for your bottom line. Incorporating initiatives around sustainability and corporate social responsibility also help things like employee retention, as people like working for companies that care about the communities they live and work in.  

4. The power of technology 

We know that human relationships are what drive this industry but another theme that came up throughout the event was the importance of investing in the right technology for your business. Throughout the pandemic, many businesses saw how adopting technology, such as TMS system, made communication easier with both their customers and internally, as well as streamlined and made conducting daily tasks more efficient. There was a common observation amongst speakers that companies that don’t have a plan to integrate technology into their workflow will most likely suffer and find it extremely difficult to adapt to the continually changing world we live in and will struggle to grow their business.

Our Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Justin Bailie, spoke with Kevin Hill on Put That Coffee Down during the event and said, “You really need to be thinking about technology that enables more access to more real-time communication; therefore more scalability in your business too.” Ensuring you purchase the right technology for your business will make you more efficient, give you connectivity with your customers and help improve your bottom line. 

Overall, we really enjoyed attending and exhibiting at FreightWaves’ Live @ Home event. As we look ahead to the coming months, we’re hopeful that we’ll soon be able to meet again in-person! 

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