Your Steps To Becoming A Professional Logistics Service Provider or also known as a freight broker depends on the dedication you have to learning the true skills of a freight broker. LFS can help you get the skills needed through their
Freight Brokers act as an intermediary, a middleman. Their job is to move the freight in the middle of the shipper and broker. As such, they must have essential skills to monitor the movement of the freight and work with the carrier. It falls upon the shoulders of freight brokers to make sure that they understand FMCSA compliance laws and any changes therein, that they know which new HOS laws are being implemented, and what the laws are regarding the ELD logging device and software. Moreover, freight brokers need to know how to use Transportation Management System (TMS) software. All of this increases trustworthiness and professionalism in a highly competitive industry which in turn increases customer and business loyalty among professional shippers, trucking companies, and drivers.
As a freight broker, having these skills means you are better able to work with businesses like trucking companies, and in so doing help the trucking companies benefit from the skills and gain consistency with the freight. All of this can be done by both the freight broker and the carrier trucking company to work together in this changing 2018 logistics industry.
Learn more about Starting Your Freight Broker Business
1. FMCSA Compliance Laws
Freight brokers have a lot of responsibilities and in order to make sure trucking companies are staying compliant, they need to learn about the FMCSA Compliance laws. But what are these laws and why is it important? What other things do freight brokers need to know?
Government regulations are constantly improving in order to provide the best industry practices and create a sustainable working environment. But this means that changes happen regularly to FMCSA Compliance laws. One example to a change in regulations is ELD compliance. It is up to brokers to make sure that carriers are ELD compliant. In fact, most agreements between brokers and carriers state that carriers will take it upon themselves to comply with all state and federal regulations, but brokers must provide some level of oversight.
Read More About Freight Broker Compliance
2. HOS Laws ( Hours Of Service )
As a freight broker, you have a lot on your plate. Your list of responsibilities is not only extensive, but each one has unique parameters and is constantly changing. Freight Brokers need to understand new Hours of Service (HOS) laws so that they can advise trucking companies and customers on how to best meet specifications. There is a long list of new regulations and each regulation has a list of who must comply. For example: any vehicle which weighs over 10,001 pounds, is used to transport 9 or more people including the driver in exchange for compensation, or is transporting hazardous materials, among many other things.
There are additional limitations on things like rest breaks, penalties, on duty time, and more. Knowing the changes to penalties specifically for egregious hours of service violations can save customers and companies many civil penalties. Knowing the rules were on duty time can help with proper payment adjustments for services rendered and better guarantee that companies are in compliance.
3. ELD Logging Device
Freight Brokers must understand the new ELD logging device and software. This mandate is designed to improve safety within the industry. The electronic logging device is one which is synchronized with the engine on the vehicle to automatically record driving time. Theoretically this makes it easier for drivers to log time on the job and gives a much more accurate number compared to paper logs. By automating the system driver safety and the safety of other drivers on the road is increased. The mandate stipulates that all drivers and carriers must have these devices installed by the deadline. Any shippers who still rely upon paper logs or other logging software have to make the transition. This logging device transforms the safety on the road and enforcement of protocol among companies. The plan behind these mandates is to reduce the amount of driving fatigue among drivers which leads to unsafe wrote conditions for other drivers. In addition to the increased safety it will record driving hours and monitor driver location, miles, and the movement of the vehicle in question. As a freight broker it is your responsibility to work with drivers, to provide trucking companies and shipping companies with drivers who have an outstanding record, comply with all safety precautions, and will meet deadlines. There is now no better way to guarantee that than to be able to look at the data provided by this logging device. Moreover, knowing how the device operates, making sure individual drivers are compliant, and figuring out how to take data out of the software makes the job of financial and company record keeping significantly easier. And, since this particular aspect of record-keeping is a responsibility falls into the lap of the broker, it makes sense that brokers would need to understand how the software works.
When making assessments of potential drivers and recommendations between qualified drivers and trucking companies, freight brokers need to be able to monitor driving ability, maintain proper logs, reduce operational cost as much as possible on the end of the shipper, and this device and its software does just that, but it also automates it so that brokers have an easier time doing some of their core responsibilities.
4. TMS Software
Transportation Management System (TMS) software is another essential component for brokers. They must understand how to properly dispatch a trucking driver the proper way with a TMS Software.
This type of logistics software helps brokers and their trucking companies to run more efficiently without having to risk increased costs. Features are built into the software such as electronic document management, carrier due diligence, maps and directions, and a component that calculates miles. If necessary, brokers can invest in customized features that best fit company needs. This software can help provide maps which are essential in determining the best routes to take for different shipments. Consider that as a freight broker, it falls upon that individual to figure out which routes are best in terms of their cost and their time. It is also important to take into consideration the size of the vehicle and the load being transported, and which roads said vehicle can utilize based on its size and load. There might be some vehicles that cannot sit across main junctions in Northern California and therefore have to be rerouted. It is the task of the broker to figure out not only when that takes place but where to reroute. This type of software can help ease that burden by doing it automatically. Coordinates can be inputted when there are changes to the path, construction, roads shutdown, or different freight being moved and best route will be presented after calculations are complete.
Freight brokers need to figure out what the miles are going to be so that they can determine costs for all parties involved. This process is significantly easier when their software involved to help calculate miles regularly. Maintaining proper documentation for services rendered, miles traveled, for other logs, for shipments which are picked up or not picked up, all of this falls into the lap once more of the freight broker. But having software that is customized to include this type of feature means that all documentation can be saved and all necessary information for accounts can be processed with ease.
On the note of payments and accounts, different software can be integrated with accounting software like QuickBooks. This provides freight brokers with an opportunity to use a specialized software without having to double entry any back-office accounting.
With such software brokers can constantly improve, take it upon themselves to complete risk-management assessments and make sure that all operations are operating at peak efficiency. Even things like fuel surcharges
be added with ease. And of course once you get to know the ins and outs of the software you have chosen, it becomes decidedly faster and simpler to utilize the software with all trucking companies, shippers, and drivers.
In addition to this, freight brokers must understand dead head loads and the time and distance between dropping one load off and getting another, all the while still being profitable. This type of logistics is increasingly important, especially now with the HOS and ELD laws for the amount of time a truck driver can drive a day. This gets into profits, another area of responsibility that falls into the laps of freight brokers. Once more, such information is much easier processed and rectified with the help of software. Managing profit margins, taking into account hours, distance, and compliance with different laws is simplified when it is streamlined.
Overall, any professional should take pride in their work, and that means regularly improving the knowledge and skills they have within their field. This applies to freight brokers too who, when educated and trained by LFS Logistical Forwarding Solutions can capitalize upon that knowledge to not only tackle workplace responsibilities easier but help provide comprehensive workplace solutions for all other stakeholders.
About Author Michael Thomas
Michael Thomas has spent the last 15 years working as a freight broker and trucking company owner. He works daily within his own company's and enjoys sharing his knowledge with individuals all over the world. His goal is to help others enjoy the freedom of logistics and learn how to become a freight broker or how to start a trucking company business. Contact Michael Thomas today at https://www.logisticalforwardingsolutions.com/ or send an Email at firstname.lastname@example.org