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January 12, 2023
How freight technology powers shipping
While the full numbers are not in, early indications are pointing to strong online holiday sales for retailers. Looking back to the start of the season, a record number of products were sold on Amazon over the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.

Undoubtedly, the record sales demonstrate how far consumers have come in their adoption of ecommerce and its advancements such as one-click ordering. But elsewhere in the supply chain, similar technology developments have made the transportation network faster and more efficient for shippers to move freight. Here’s a look at how far we have come.

Looking back: managing on the back of napkins
Before we had the digital tools that are so engrained in shipping today, freight relied on phones, paper, and emails for requests to transport goods and manage shipments and fleets.

Tracking shipments usually meant a phone call to the driver (if they had a phone number). Route optimization was almost unheard of, which meant a higher number of empty miles traveled and lost opportunities.

Elements along the entire process typically operated in silos with little, if any, communication between them. It resulted in an inability to share data to keep the movement of goods flowing seamlessly to the final customer.

This lack of visibility and transparency also led to higher operating costs and delivery delays and made the task of inventory management exceptionally difficult. Managers struggled to forecast demand accurately and anticipate labor and resource needs at any given time.

Shipping today: faster and tech-forward
Today, freight has embraced technology to more efficiently move goods and tear down operational silos and obstacles. Just as shippers have become adaptive to provide options to their customers, so too has the freight network.

Truck drivers are going mobile which frees them from administrative burdens. Planning tools allow trucking companies to optimize driver schedules so they can find opportunities to be on the road when it fits with their schedules.

On the freight provider side, APIs can connect systems together and electronic proofs of delivery now make it easier to confirm a shipment’s arrival. Trailers and tractors are enhanced with devices to track movements and improve safety. This has all resulted is greater visibility, transparency, and efficiency, which translates into cost savings and speedier deliveries for shippers.

Freight tech in action
Amazon has invested heavily in its network to deliver orders for its retail customers. For every order, Amazon’s advanced technology determines the best path to move the product between suppliers, fulfillment centers, sorting facilities, and delivery stations. As a shipper, that’s a network you can take advantage of via Amazon Freight.

Utopia Deals is an example of such a shipper growing its business with Amazon Freight. Many of the day-to-day shipping tasks Utopia performs are conducted in a self-service manner and far beyond paper and pen. It all results in greater efficiencies and “more customer retention and satisfaction” as they grow their retail business utilizing Amazon Freight’s network of more than 50,000 trailers and carriers.

At the end of the day, it’s clear to see how far freight has come on its technology journey. What is especially exciting is what advancements are in store further down the road that will continue to make the supply chain flow even smoother and faster.

Learn more about the journey Amazon Freight has taken and what it can do for you here.
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