Andrew Leto, Founder and CEO
Unprecedented supply chain disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has shippers rethinking how they procure freight transportation, especially truckload services. Consequently, they are taking a fresh look at how they put their freight lanes and business out for bid. If the current frenzied freight environment and fears of tight capacity weren’t reasons enough for change, the lack of proper technology to streamline and speed up the entire carrier-procurement process only adds to the challenge. Most companies still rely on traditional emails and Excel spreadsheets to procure their freight from capacity providers. This reduces and restricts procurement to the purely tactical province of lowest price. “Emerge is filling this gap in the shipper’s supply chain. We are the hub for shippers to run their annual and seasonal bids on all modes of transportation. With our namesake, advanced digital freight platform, both shippers and carriers can adapt and adjust to marketplace fluctuations in real time,” remarks Andrew Leto, founder and CEO of Emerge. Having ventured into the market in 2017, Scottsdale, AZ-based Emerge is driven by the vision to empower meaningful logistics relationships through transformative technologies. “We are trying to change the way that freight is procured to make things more efficient,” adds Kyle Jepson, SVP of product, Emerge.
Historically, the carrier-procurement process has been a long winding procedure that involves several steps. Shippers spend a substantial amount of their time preparing and reviewing requests for proposals (RFPs) to identify the right carriers based on price, reliability, service, and network compatibility. In turn, carriers invest time responding to those RFPs. After what is typically a long and laborious process, agreements are made, and contracts are signed. Emerge helps shippers bypass this traditional approach, connects them directly with carriers, and minimizes the back-and-forth email traffic associated with the RFP process.
Notably, the robust platform can be leveraged for both spot and contract procurement. When it comes to contract procurement, shippers can create and run RFP events with their existing network of carriers and brokers while also sourcing rates from the Emerge contract marketplace. “Not only do we provide the ability to digitize their procurement process for RFP events with their existing network but also introduce them to a marketplace of new providers who can help fill those needs and maintain competitive rates in those lanes,” explains Jepson. On top of that, a series of tools, like DocuSign, are also integrated into the platform for seamless digital contract management. Alongside, Emerge offers the ability to create and run scenarios in an automated fashion. In terms of spot procurement, shippers can work with their existing network of spot providers to bring back rates from digital providers like the ‘Ubers and Convoys’ of the world or source rates manually in the Emerge platform, sometimes through existing networks.
Kyle Jepson, SVP of Product
“Or, by using the Emerge marketplace, they can bring new capacity in a reverse action, and ultimately enhance the spot procurement process,” asserts Leto. In short, the firm’s goal with Emerge is simple: to facilitate long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between shippers and carriers and create a positive network effect.
But what is truly unique about the Emerge marketplace is its openness. “Previously, a lot of marketplaces were unwilling to let shippers work with their existing networks as well as those that introduced them to the marketplace. We break that mold with Emerge,” highlights Leto. “Our platform allows shippers and their providers as well as the marketplace to communicate using a real-time chat, specifically for our spot market.”
We are the hub for shippers to run their annual and seasonal bids on all modes of transportation
What’s more? Emerge is built by the network effect; every shipper that joins the platform helps other shippers by bringing more capacity. Besides, the platform is simple and free to use. Clients only need to pay when they find a different capacity provider from their existing network. Furthermore, the platform makes it incredibly easy to ingest data in large quantities. “Every shipper is slightly different in terms of the data points that they want to provide. We allow custom templating, enabling each shipper to configure the data as well as the validations around that,” avers Jepson.
In an impressive feat, the firm helped a major brewery run mini bids using the Emerge platform. Previously, the client was using emails and spreadsheets to carry out the process. After the switch, the brewery saw a massive reduction in the time spent on compiling rates and awarding carriers. On the contract RFP side, the client also witnessed an enormous decrease in the amount of time required to create and collect rates and administer bids. “They were able to take it down from a period of weeks to days. Moreover, the client found eight percent of their capacity through the platform,” states Leto.
Treading ahead with many more similar success stories under its hood, the firm will continue to augment its offerings. “All of our shippers want one system to win their bids for different types of transportation. Hence, Emerge will soon offer other modes of transportation such as less than truckload (LTL), full container load (FCL), and less than container load (LCL), which is international bidding,” affirms Jepson. Bringing benchmarked rates and thousands of trusted partners under one roof, the platform has reaped close to $2 billion of spot and contract revenue annually. The team strives to increase this number to $10 billion by the end of next year.