Spreadsheet-based shippers get instant rate fix

Spreadsheet-based shippers get instant rate fix

While the number of affordable cloud-based TMSs available to shippers has expanded, many small and medium shippers still rely on spreadsheets to manage freight rates and bookings. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

The digital freight broker Loadsmart has created a new way for shippers that use spreadsheets to request and receive instant truckload rates from its engine.

The new feature allows shippers lacking a transportation management system (TMS) to pull rate information directly into a Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets document. Users can specify an origin, destination, pickup date, and equipment type to receive an instantly bookable truckload rate in their spreadsheet, and can book the load with a single click.

The feature was developed by Loadsmart engineers during an internal hackathon. The spreadsheet extension is designed for shippers that still rely on spreadsheets to manage their carriers, as well as contract and spot pricing.  

Small shippers rely on spreadsheets

“Despite the availability of newer [software-as-a-service] TMSs, we find that a large percentage of the [small and medium business] market still heavily rely on spreadsheets to manage their shipping,” Hunter Yaw, vice president of product management at Loadsmart, said in a statement. “These shippers will now have access to instant market-based pricing for all their shipments — all without having to leave their spreadsheets.” Spreadsheet technology has become shareable and networked in recent years through Microsoft and Google’s shared products, essentially extending shippers’ reliance on those products even as low-cost, configurable, and easy-to-implement transportation management tools have proliferated. Indeed, most software providers say their biggest competition is Excel, not a fellow logistics software provider.

Loadsmart’s move to provide functionality to spreadsheet users is also indicative of the creative ways digital brokers and forwarders are using to meet shipper customers on their own terms.

Contact Eric Johnson at eric.johnson@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @LogTechEric.