DAT User Conference: Combining Outside Experts with Inside Expertise

Attendees at last year’s DAT User Conference.

A DAT customer called me recently on my cell phone, as he was trying to decide whether to attend the 2017 DAT User Conference (DUC) in Portland from October 23-25.

He is taking over a freight brokerage from its previous owner who was retiring. The new owner wants to immerse himself in the most important industry issues, so he plans to attend all the DUC industry sessions he could. He saw that several, but not all, of the industry sessions were repeated on Wednesday, and he wondered if it was worth it for him and other members of his company to attend for both days.

I asked him how many brokers and agents did the brokerage have? Fifteen currently, but he was expecting to grow that number in 2018.

I asked him what DAT products they used? DAT Power, for sure, he said.

I explained that the conference was organized around three themes:

1. Capacity
2. Margin compression (in part due to shippers’ impression trucks are easy to find now)
3. Automating the brokerage for increased efficiency, productivity, and profitability

See Agenda and Register Now >

Effects of the ELD mandate

For example, John Seidl, a DOT consultant and former FMCSA inspector, will be speaking on the ELD Mandate and the effect it will have on operations. John’s session will be followed with ongoing research DAT conducted from late Spring to early Fall that provides the most extensive findings on carriers’ intentions to leave the industry, downsize, rate expectations, and load selection based on the mandate.

Hands-on labs

Complementing John’s talk are Computer Learning Lab sessions (on the customers’ own laptops). These will cover real-life scenarios about finding new business partners when brokers have been awarded new business requiring carriers running new and different lanes with varying lengths that would put the carriers at the edge of their hours of service.

Rate forecasting

I also mentioned that Fedex’s senior pricing analyst Ken Adamo will give an industry session on Rate Forecasting Principles and Best Practices. This will be complemented, again, by Learning Labs taught by fellow brokers determining best ways to respond to RFQ’s, analyzing your own company’s spends on specific lanes against the DAT market average, and using our Hot Market Maps to figure out where to find business and who you’d be competing against and the kind of market share you could expect to get, etc.

The point of the conversation was to let this customer know that a lot of thought had gone into the best ways of taking industry issues and working them into improving the efficiency, productivity and profitability of the individual broker as well as the business as a whole.

The good news is that the next day he texted me and told me he and his new business partner had signed up.

To find out what the 2017 DAT User Conference has for you, your colleagues, and your company, go to www.dat.com/conference.


“If you get one nugget out of it, it’s worth the money. The conference doesn’t cost that much, and if you learn even one thing that saves you from losing money or helps you make money, why wouldn’t you do it?” – Rob LaForte

See how last year’s user conference saved a DAT customer from ransomware.

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