The freight procurement process was broken. Kelly Williams and the innovation team at Procter & Gamble had an idea fix it. Their solution would connect carriers and shippers to enable bidding on contracted freight faster than what’s possible today.
They needed a team to build a prototype and prove it could work but didn’t have the internal experience to make it happen. They weren’t even sure if it was possible to get done at the speed they wanted.
Not only did they need to get into the hands of the customers, they needed to be able to take the feedback and make improvements to the product quickly.
Be able to periodically sync with DOT safety data, matching lanes with shippers and carriers, and notifying users.
Through our partnership, the Engage Lane tool was named a 2022 Future of Freight Festival Best in Show winner.
2023 SaaS Award winner for the "Best SaaS Product for Shipping, Inventory or Vehicle Logistics" category.
Trimble was named one of the top innovators in the freight technology sector for 2024 by FreightWaves.
When creating features of the product, we wanted to create an experience where a user could stay inside that screen and not have to navigate to another location in the application to accomplish tasks. We introduced a panel approach that would give users access to actionable items while they remained on that screen.
The need for a card-based approach started with the design of the profile screen. We needed a way to bring pieces of vital information for both a carrier and a shipper to be able to view before conducting business on the platform and with each other. We continued that approach while creating a matchboard where both sets of users could interact and see all of their potential bids and bids that they were in the middle of negotiating. Using a card-based system, gave us the flexibility to interchange pieces where we needed to, and we could maintain a consistent UI.
"I couldn’t wait to see what they had to share in every sprint. In every sprint review there was a visible change in the product that could be tested or refined. I loved seeing the product workflows come to life."
Network Strategy Product Lead
Building the solution
The first area that we identified was transparency. In today's procurement process, there is a lack of transparency between shippers and carriers, which leads to distrust. To be able to build trust, there needs to be transparency between both the shipper expectations and what a carrier is capable of accomplishing, i.e., do they have the right equipment and insurance to carry the load I am offering. If we can create a place where a shipper and carrier can look at each other's organization and see what type of safety ratings, insurance, equipment type, service expectations, accessorials, and collaterals, this helps create transparency into each others organization.
The second area that we identified is opportunities. Currently, for carriers, it is challenging for them to find ways to work with shippers once the yearly bid process is completed. If they do not land a bid, they often end up spending time driving around from lot to lot trying to find shippers to work with. For shippers, the yearly procurement process can be an overwhelming experience. Having to manage anywhere from ten to hundreds of lanes all bidding once a year is inefficient and stressful. Coming up with a way to help shippers managing this and change this from a yearly procedure to bidding opportunities out when they come up is a more efficient way of handling this process.
The third area we identified is management. If we set out to change the way procurement of lanes is done from a yearly transaction to an on-demand solution, there needed to be a way for shippers and carriers to manage their agreements from one central location. Both shippers and carriers needed a place to be able to identify low performing agreements, a way to create a new lane or route to notify the other party of available capacity, and a place to see all of their active agreements. We also wanted to keep with transparency when it comes to managing an agreement, so if a carrier or shipper is not happy with the rates or the lane is low performing we wanted a way for users to communicate with each other a challenge a lane.