Unleash the power of data in your freight brokerage journey

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We say it all time: The right data can transform your brokerage operations. Here’s how to get the most out of your data. Because data alone won’t get you all the way. Here’s what you should know to use the right data well. 

Click here to watch the webinar in full

The analytics cycle

Understanding and effectively using data is a cycle that involves several key steps.

Understand your internal data

You need to have a firm grasp of your internal data – it’s non-negotiable. This includes shipment details, carrier performance, customer preferences, and financial metrics. When you understand these data, you can identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions.

Integrate industry metrics

Your internal data becomes more powerful when combined with external information. Incorporate data from reliable sources such as DAT and other industry benchmarks to get an accurate view of market dynamics.

Predict market trends

Predictive analytics allows you to forecast future market trends. By analyzing historical data and current trends, you can anticipate changes in demand, capacity, and rates. This foresight gives you a huge leg up on strategic planning and staying ahead of the competition.

Plan and optimize long-term

Data isn’t just for short-term gains. Use it for long-term planning and optimization. This involves benchmarking your performance against industry standards, identifying best practices, and continuously refining your strategies to maximize efficiency and profitability.

Benchmark against the industry

Benchmarking helps you understand how your brokerage compares to the rest of the industry. Use data to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and focus on areas where you can outperform your competitors.

Types of data collection and lane-level efficiencies

Different types of data collection provide insights into lane-level efficiencies. Analyze factors like market types, lane economics, optionality, volatility, and seasonality to streamline your operations and enhance decision-making.

Understand your business

To fully harness data’s potential, it’s crucial to understand key market dynamics.

Market types

  • Lane economics: Different lanes have different cost structures. Understanding headhaul vs. backhaul dynamics helps optimize routing and pricing strategies.
  • Optionality: Having multiple routing options can lead to more volatility but also provides flexibility in operations.
  • Volatility: Analyzing rate volatility helps manage risks and predict costs with greater accuracy.
  • Seasonality: Seasonal demand fluctuations impact rates and capacity. Bidding aggressively during favorable seasons can boost margins, while strategic adjustments during down seasons can maintain competitiveness.


The market cycle and efficiency

Efficiency in a freight brokerage depends on understanding the market cycle and adapting strategies accordingly:

  • Inflationary market: Characterized by increasing rates, tighter capacity, and less routing guide compliance.
  • Deflationary market: Features decreasing rates, looser capacity, and more routing guide compliance.

Different trends across market types

Lane economics

Understanding lane economics is essential for cost management:

  • Headhaul vs. backhaul: Typically, headhaul lanes are more expensive due to higher demand, while backhaul lanes offer cost-saving opportunities.


Having routing options can impact your operations:

  • Flexibility: More options provide operational flexibility but can also introduce volatility.
  • Strategic choices: Making informed choices about when and where to route shipments can optimize costs and service levels.


Managing rate volatility is crucial for maintaining profitability:

  • Rate predictions: Use data to predict rate changes and adjust pricing strategies accordingly.


Seasonal trends affect market dynamics:

  • Demand fluctuations: Adjust your bidding and routing strategies based on seasonal demand changes.

The importance of knowing your carriers

Your carriers play a vital role in your success:

  • Carrier relationships: Building strong relationships with carriers ensures reliable service and better rate negotiations.
  • Carrier needs: Understanding and addressing carrier needs can lead to more favorable partnerships and improved service quality.


Want more insights like this? Click here to watch the webinar in full, or visit DAT.com/iQ to learn more about analytics from DAT iQ.

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