Labor shortages spurred by the coronavirus pandemic have made recruitment and retention even tougher for the transportation and logistics industry. But while driver hiring woes continue to make headlines, there’s been little talk about equally alarming in-office labor shortages.

Justin Bailie, chief strategy officer at Rose Rocket, pointed out that attracting and retaining dispatchers and support staff is increasingly difficult. 

“The knowledge inside of a dispatcher’s head who’s been with your company for, say, 10 years is impossible to find anywhere else,” Bailie said. “Any trucking company or brokerage 100% understands how difficult it is to find good internal staff who are smart and business savvy.”

Rose Rocket key account lead Robert Doherty echoed Bailie’s sentiments, describing it as “traumatic” when an operation loses a dispatcher to turnover. Recruiting isn’t easy either. Dohery said new hires need a basic working knowledge of the transportation management system (TMS) in place, which can be problematic if the platform is clunky or difficult to learn. For new hires on difficult systems, it can take upward of six months before they are well versed in a software, which means it takes even longer for them to bring value to the business.

This can make or break a transportation company. This means that everyone from office staff to drivers must be considered when thinking about bringing on new pieces of technology.

“Everyone will agree that what makes your company is your people,” Doherty said. “But if you also agree that your staff’s productivity and performance is closely tied to the tools they use and the job satisfaction it provides, then it’s a no-brainer to provide tools to help them do their job well — and do so happily.”

This can only be achieved with the right set of tools, providing visibility and real-time information through better and easier workflows. This also means that carriers must ditch on-premise TMS software that restricts flexibility for a cloud-based solution to get the right tools in front of their workforce.

Rose Rocket’s TMS combines the scalability of cloud technology with the power of open APIs to improve efficiency and analytics while reducing IT costs and complexity. Unlike on-premise TMS setups that require costly upgrades every few years, Rose Rocket’s TMS remains at the technological forefront, with free updates and training material available that comes along with it. What this means for your staff is that anyone from your experienced team members to your new graduate hires can quickly learn and be kept up to date with the most cutting-edge TMS.

The benefits of having the right tools in front of your team goes beyond hiring and retention. It ultimately grows your accounts and top-line revenue. Rose Rocket’s simplicity and thoughtfulness in incorporating connectivity takes the frustration out of freight. 

“What carriers get from our system besides the out-of-box customer portal is the ability to scale and quickly integrate our solution — their TMS — with the customer’s visibility tool of choice. This means that customers can have autonomy and real-time visibility into their freight like they would expect from a consumer experience,” Doherty said.

Making shippers lives easier while having happy team members is never mutually exclusive. 

In fact, Doherty explained that customers have set up bonus structures through the platform. Regarding customer service, for example, he asks, “‘How quick were you to respond to customers’ messages?’ ‘How many orders have you entered and managed?’ This is the visibility that we provide our customers. We build software that is engaging and that workforces want to operate with.”

Rose Rocket is trucking’s first platform-as-a-service TMS, with best-in-class integration-ready software systems to keep workforces connected. Users can easily integrate with the software they need to run their business, from telematics like Samsara, KeepTruckin and Geotab to accounting software like QuickBooks, Xero and many more. This connectivity means that any staff from anywhere can pick up where they, or another team member, left off, with full visibility into what happened to the order.

“[Through the pandemic] our customers haven’t missed a beat moving freight from an administrative and TMS technology perspective,” Bailie said. “They went home on a Thursday and were working Friday morning without any disruption.”

The smooth work-from-home transition was fueled in part by Rose Rocket’s portal technology, which enables customers and partners to access service delivery analytics and gives them the ability to track and trace shipments themselves. Dispatch, order management and billing information are now visible to customers that traditionally have been inconvenienced by shipment status blind spots.

“As we’re slowly entering a post-COVID society, there will be some companies that’ll be ready for when it happens again, but there will also be other companies that say, ‘Thank goodness that’s over, back to normal,’” Bailie said.

He said the pandemic has put a fork in the road: Companies can either go back to their old ways or restructure for the future. He argued it’s necessary to take into consideration not just the visibility needs of today’s customers, but also where the market will be a decade from now in terms of talent and labor.

Bailie said that it’s not only about upgrading from Excel spreadsheets but rather moving from any existing legacy products. He urges carriers to consider adopting a solution that will address their operational needs not just now but perhaps five years from now, alluding to the increasing demands and ever-changing nature of the FreightTech landscape.

Doherty pointed to the tech savviness of the younger workforce as a reason for upgrading systems as well. He noted that if you’re not investing in modern tools, then your company will most likely be overlooked by up-and-coming talent.

“I’ve heard it multiple times from ‘early adopters’: ‘How do I attract young and talented dispatchers or customer service staff?’” Doherty said. “‘How do I make it easier for them to learn my systems?’ Is it on a system that looks like Windows 95 or is it a system that looks and feels like the apps that they use every day on their phone and computers?”

Making it harder to collaborate with customers and your workforce ultimately creates more headaches. Why carry the burden any longer? Bailie calls the relationship far too many carriers have with outdated systems “backwards” — they’re left doing the heavy lifting of the TMS themselves. He compared it to “death by a thousand paper cuts.”

Doherty added, “If you make it harder to collaborate because you’ve got 30 systems that don’t talk with one another in addition to a 30-year-old system that’s difficult to integrate with, then I think it’s only a matter of time until it factors into you losing a deal.”

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