Finding inventory is a challenge. And nobody needs shipping and logistics worries on top of that. How has evolving technology helped?
NO. 1: Communication
Just 10 years ago, auto transporters relied on fax machines to share documents ― slowing the process, requiring manual tracking, and costing the dealer valuable floor plan dollars. Today, we have advanced integrated technology that lets us send all our documentation digitally, track statuses automatically, send automated update emails, and even chat with providers directly within their transport management system (TMS).
Real-time tracking and location sharing equal enhanced transparency. Dealers can see where their car is and when it will arrive so they can plan accordingly.
NO. 2: Data & Trends
Technology — specifically industry-adopted APIs ― has given us access to unparalleled data flows. We can pick up a car with ABC company’s mobile app, and the shipper’s TMS automatically updates the status with all its relevant documentation.
With expanded and more reliable data available, thought leaders have shown up to share industry insights and trends. Auto transport professionals used to struggle to collect any type of accurate trend data because everything was tracked from adjacent industries, like freight. But today’s thought leaders share both tech-related news and the data backing it to inform industry professionals directly.
Pricing transparency is a huge data-driven milestone for buyers at the auction. Technology today puts the facts in a buyer’s hand — receive a quote, make an educated decision, then ship the vehicle they are looking at on demand.
But the data-based innovation that kickstarted this digital transformation is electronic proof of delivery (EPOD), the tool in drivers’ pockets that allows for a lot of the data we use to automate flows today. It also gives them a way to protect themselves better in the event of fraudulent damage claims.
NO. 3: Logistics & Transportation
How does a dealer manage transport when their local auctions don’t have the inventory they need? There used to be ample inventory just down the road, but dealers today must ship their cars in from scattered, faraway locations. This means expanding their transport networks, locating, identifying new providers, and finding a way to manage them in one place.
Plus, online car auctions let dealers find inventory across state lines without them having to be present at the auction. They can watch lanes online, get access to inspection reports, and bid entirely from their showroom floor, spreading their reach even further since they can monitor multiple auctions in a day and not worry about travel.
But what about shipping from all those different locations? Technology reigns. Today’s solutions provide the tools dealers need to find the right carriers, make sure they are reputable, and get their cars delivered quickly and safely. Plus, they’re able to see everything that’s happening with multiple transporters all in one place on a single dashboard. This addresses one of the biggest hurdles still plaguing the industry today: shippers working with a variety of carriers to move their goods.
Dealers can tap into spot markets that specialize in these moves or connect with brokers that will do the legwork for them. All of this can be funneled back into a single system for reference so that they can keep track of all their cars together. For larger dealer groups, today’s technology provides granular control over all their rooftops while maintaining the independence to manage their own transport or have it all roll up to one aggregated level to manage on wider scale.
Technology brings change. Simple flows, known local carriers, and nearby inventory are in the past. Dealing with brokers, loadboards, and more complicated logistics can be confusing and frustrating. But technology comes with technology providers, and one of the key differentiators of a good one is how well it guides users to the best way to move their vehicles, wherever. Today’s agnostic systems provide a centralized hub for all a shipper’s transport, no matter the vendor or the method. And vendors can connect with all their shippers in one place, too.
Change is easy when you have the right technology.