What is Digital Freight Matching?

The chances are that if you’ve worked in the trucking industry within the past few years you’ve heard of digital freight matching.  


This fast-growing integration of technology with traditional freight matching methods has caught on quickly and proved to be more than just the newest trend in transportation and logistics. Digital freight matching (DFM) has become the go-to method of many carriers to efficiently connect their drivers with available freight while saving time on paperwork, optimizing space, and cutting costs.  


Keep reading to find out what digital freight matching really is, and how AI technology and machine learning could save your company time and money when connecting with shippers. 


How does digital freight matching work? 

Simply put, digital freight matching is a technology-driven approach to connecting shippers, or those who need to transport goods, with carriers and other transportation companies. Unlike traditional methods, which involve manual processes and third party intermediaries, DFM leverages AI and machine learning to streamline the freight matching process. 


Although all modern freight brokerages and third-party logistics (3PL) businesses use technology to optimize the process, DFM is different in that it takes a technology-first approach instead of the traditional emphasis on human interaction and expertise.  


Traditionally, 3PLs have assisted carriers by taking information from shippers about available loads and connected them with drivers looking to carry freight. This included lengthy and potentially challenging manual processes such as booking, load posting, paperwork, and confirmation calls.  


Instead, DFM now automates these processes by using predictive analytics rooted in AI to optimize matches for service, efficiency, capacity, and cost. DFM platforms automatically connect different parts of the supply chain, making the process more efficient and responsive for all parties involved.  


Shippers begin the process by uploading important job details to a DFM service, including proposed rate, the weight of the freight, and the required pick-up and delivery points and dates. AI-generated algorithms then evaluate the fleet capabilities of existing users to find potential matches. Suitable carriers can then open the DFM’s load board, evaluate the job description, and easily confirm within the platform.  


Since most DFM platforms are available as mobile apps or online websites, this provides a single access point for every step of the matching process.  


What are the benefits? 

The main draw of DFM is the ability to streamline the entire freight matching process. Companies offering DFM help shippers share and advertise their loads to a wider range of drivers, while optimizing and accelerating the connection between shipper and carrier.  


DFM technology also integrates seamlessly with Transportation Management Systems (TMS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, making scheduling more efficient and reducing the time spent on administrative tasks.  


Top DFM software can incorporate quoting, payment, data tracking and a range of other services into a single platform, allowing carriers and drivers to maximize load utilization and lower costs by minimizing empty backhauls. 


Are there any drawbacks? 

As with any other technological advancement, there are some important considerations to make before deciding to invest in a DFM platform.  


Initially integrating a DFM service into a carrier’s existing freight matching methods can be difficult, especially when considering the price of a program and any training required for the transition.  


DFM platforms typically offer various payment models, ranging from a monthly or annual subscription-based service to freemium models with only basic features available for no cost. Although the overall cost can potentially be higher than the fees required for 3PLs and other matching services, it depends on the quality and abilities of the selected DFM platform.  


Another important factor is the inherent dependence on technology of any DFM service. Utilizing DFM requires internet connectivity, software platforms, and an understanding of the AI-generated algorithms. While the quality and ease of user interface has continued to improve in recent years, downtime, system glitches, and viruses can still disrupt operations and cause delays.  


The top concern for many carriers deciding whether or not to make the transition to digital freight matching is how to strike the right balance between automation and personalized service. While algorithms enhance efficiency, they may not account for all variables, making human judgment still crucial for complex scenarios and exceptions.  


Many clients and drivers will still appreciate some personalized services, so be sure to provide a human voice and perspective when necessary.  




For more information on evolving trends in the trucking industry and how to keep your carrier’s services ahead of the curve, remember to follow us on social media and stay up-to-date on our Employer Blog posts.  

One topic that has become increasingly controversial in the trucking industry is the use of dashboard cameras. Everyone from drivers and carriers to industry experts has an opinion on the use of these cameras and whether they provide any real benefits. For some, the argument is in favor of dashboard cameras because they can increase protection for the driver and company, while reducing liability. Others argue that dashboard cameras infringe on drivers’ privacy and create distrust between drivers and their companies.  

Pros: Liability and Protection 

People who are pro-dashboard camera believe they benefit drivers by adding a level of safety and increased protection from liability during accidents.  

As truck driver Steve commented on our Facebook poll, “Outward facing cameras are great. They can be used to prove fault in accidents.” 

Even though most people do not realize it, the majority of vehicular crashes involving trucks are actually caused by passenger vehicles. Two independent studies by The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that cars are at fault from 71-91% of the time in fatal crashes with trucks. While drivers are often not at fault for the crashes, they, as well as the carriers, often end up being held liable for the accident. For trucks with outward facing cameras, they are most easily able to prove their case and liability status based on footage from the incident.  

They provide a constant eye in the case of danger and damage. 

Dashboard cameras are an important option for protecting truck drivers from wrongful allegations which reduces costs and liability for carriers. With such great benefits, many carriers are opting to install dashcams. 

Cons: Privacy and Micromanagement  

While dashboard cameras can improve safety and protection for drivers during accidents, many would argue that they are an invasion of privacy, especially inward facing cameras, as many drivers’ trucks are also their homes.  

As truck driver GS Bass told us, “I feel the cab is my personal space, private, my domicile while working. I know companies can dip into any inward camera and observe.” Similarly, another driver, Eric, observed, “This is my home when it’s not moving.” 

Most drivers live in their trucks while making hauls, so not only is it their office, but it is also their living room, kitchen, and bedroom. The use of dashcams takes away from drivers’ rights to have privacy and makes their every move available to the carriers, as well as anyone else you could access the camera’s footage. With that said, drivers would have no room to even scratch their nose without someone watching. 

Another argument against dashboard cameras is micromanagement of a driver’s decisions. Let’s say you have a trucker who has been a great driver for over 10 years and has vast experience making sound driving decisions. Dashboard cameras allow the carrier to scrutinize and judge every decision a driver makes, without understanding its nuances and consequences. 

Steve told us, “They make driving less safe because we now drive for the camera. If a traffic light turns yellow and you have to brake even minutely hard, it causes the camera to go off. We then get called in and coached on hard brakes. This coaching gets put in your record and you accumulate points for it. If someone pulls out in front of you, and you hit the brakes too hard, points. If you’re listening to the radio too loud when the camera comes on, or taking a drink of coffee, or looking out your side windows (like checking your mirrors), points.” 

For drivers, this can create frustration as someone who has never driven a rig tries to tell them how to do so.  

A Potential Solution  

While proponents and opponents of the argument each make valid points, there is middle ground that can be reached on the topic of dashboard cameras. Many truck drivers would be amenable to forward-facing cameras if they don’t have to deal with the inward cameras. The benefits of forward-facing cameras are undeniable to both truckers and carriers. If carriers take this too far with inward facing cameras, they will face resistance because of privacy concerns. 

Another consideration is how much flexibility and freedom carriers choose to give individual drivers. If a carrier decides to institute a dashboard camera policy without consulting with their drivers, they will likely see extreme resistance.  

On the other hand, if a carrier allows drivers to make their own decisions about dashboard cameras, and just educate them on the pros and cons, they may find that more and more drivers will voluntarily elect to install cameras.