Why carriers should embrace EDI

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Updated Jul 5, 2024

Let’s face it, the logistics game is changing fast and staying ahead means embracing new technology. If your biggest customer just demanded electronic data interchange (EDI), it’s time to get on board or risk losing your most profitable lanes.

But in the spirit of “you can fight the waves or learn how to surf,” EDI isn’t just a necessary evil to maintain key customer relationships – it’s a great asset for carriers, too. Not only will EDI platforms like Truckbase streamline your operations, but it will also keep you ahead of competitors unable or unwilling to professionalize and adapt to EDI requirements.

The imperative of EDI

Increasingly, large brokers and shippers are requiring their carriers to set up EDI connections for seamless data flows back and forth. EDI integrations cut down on manual data entry, speed up communication, and keep everyone in the loop with real-time updates. In a market where shipment volumes and spending are taking hits, as shown in the U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index Q3 2023​​, efficiency isn’t just nice to have, it’s essential.

Efficiency through automation

EDI takes the hassle out of managing load tenders, tracking requests and billing documents. Instead of manually entering data, EDI allows these processes to flow seamlessly through your TMS. This not only reduces errors but also improves your tender acceptance rates by having everything in one system​​.

Real-time tracking and status updates

Once a load is tendered, the real magic of EDI kicks in with status and tracking updates. These updates, part of the “214” transaction, provide real-time information on the load’s journey: from being loaded to delivered. With GPS coordinates included, there’s no need for check calls, and your customers get the info they need automatically​​.

Faster, accurate invoicing

Billing can be a headache, but EDI makes it straightforward. By automating the transmission of shipment paperwork like bills of lading and proof of deliveries, you can invoice customers faster and more accurately. If your customers offer quick pay options, this means you get paid faster, improving your cash flow​​.

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Enhancing carrier scorecards

Improving your carrier scorecard is another big win with EDI. Major shippers and brokers track performance metrics such as tender acceptance rate, tracking coverage and on-time performance. An EDI-capable TMS helps boost these metrics by ensuring 100% tracking coverage and accurate status updates, which can significantly improve your relationships with customers and help you win new business​​.

The road ahead

In a challenging freight market, where both shipment volume and spending are down, leveraging EDI can make a significant difference. It streamlines operations, enhances customer service, and improves financial stability. Embracing EDI isn't just about meeting customer demands, it's about setting your business up for long-term success. 

Staying competitive means staying smart, and EDI is a smart move for any carrier looking to thrive in today’s trucking landscape.