The announcement marks the first time an autonomous company and a digital broker have collaborated to price, book and deliver a shipment without any human involvement.
Together with Starsky Robotics were able to automatically dispatch an autonomous truck to haul freight; having successfully priced, tendered and booked via Loadsmart and then picked up and delivered the shipment using Starsky’s self-driving technology. The integration of Loadsmart’s AI-powered pricing and load matching technology with Starsky’s API meant no human intervention was required. The historic initiative is part of a larger strategic partnership which paves the way for the future of trucking: digital brokerages dispatching freight to autonomous trucks without human involvement.
To help organizations optimize their freight booking processes, we entered into a strategic partnership with One Network Enterprises, a leader in supply chain network technology. Our joint solution connects Loadsmart’s instant pricing and transportation capacity from the Loadsmart carrier network with One Network’s market-leading SaaS platform, a disruptive artificial intelligence-based technology which enables autonomous supply chain management solutions. As a result of our partnership, shippers can leverage technology in order to reduce friction and create value in the freight market.
According to Silpa Paul, team lead of Commercial Vehicle Research and Consulting at Frost & Sullivan, “While the trucking industry is in a phase of digital transformation with connected devices bringing greater visibility and transparency across the supply chain the brokerage process, until recently, has struggled to digitalize.”
Recognizing this challenge, and the potential of leveraging artificial intelligence, we forged this collaboration in order to automate the pricing and booking of freight for more than 75,000 participating organizations who rely on One Network to optimize and operate their supply chain.
Fortune 500 customers such as Kraft-Heinz and The Coca-Cola Company now leverage Loadsmart’s Dynamic Routing Guide technology within Oracle Transportation Management Cloud, which helps transportation teams take advantage of market conditions by inserting instantly bookable real-time rates alongside static prices in their routing guide.
“As digital business models continue to grow, digital models in transportation are providing a complementary method to serve shippers’ freight capacity and deeper freight insights,” Gartner states in its May 2019 research report. Gartner goes on to say, “this research will help supply chain leaders get a better understanding of the digitized transportation networks.”
The report refers to Loadsmart as one of a number of Vendors for Digitized Transportation Networks. According to the report, “Digitized transportation networks provide an alternative to traditional brokers, load boards and the spot market, which remain time-consuming and collect information from carriers and shippers, but don’t support true collaboration.”
The trucking industry is in a phase of digital transformation, with connected devices bringing greater visibility and transparency across the supply chain. Yet, according to Silpa Paul, a Frost & Sullivan commercial vehicles industry analyst, the brokerage process has struggled to digitalize.
In the United States a large trucking company can accumulate 93 billion miles per year. That’s like driving around the globe 3.7 million times. Commercial long-haul trucks in the region typically operate with 25 percent empty miles which result from the inherent opacity and slowness of traditional road-freight brokerage processes. With more than 70 percent of all freight moved via road, road freight capacity utilization levels are therefore highly inefficient at present.
While the challenges facing the trucking industry may vary from year to year, the one consistency is that companies managing private and/or dedicated transportation fleets are being forced to do more with less. Following the ever-increasing need to improve efficiencies, the digitization of the supply chain proved to have a substantial impact on the efficiency and flow of freight operations in 2018.
As we review our predictions from last year, it’s safe to say most of them held true. Data sharing and open access, the onset of APIs, instant pricing + booking, and technologies such as machine learning have made all the difference in getting the most out of finite transportation resources.
For 2019 we expect even more pervasive digitization than last year, ultimately driving towards a more unified experience for shippers and carriers alike.
On May 15, 2018, we wrote about the first fully automated intelligent routing guide with dynamic rates in the US. That powerful tool enables shippers to automatically book a truck before the shipment turns into a spot load and has reduced spot volume for Fortune500 Shippers by as much as 50 percent. Loadsmart accepts 100 percent of tenders received from the dynamic routing guide, guaranteeing capacity. This feature helps shippers avoid the same-day/next-day markets, which are known for steep prices and service failures. Given the huge interest and questions we got from the logistics community, we decided to expand and explain the reasoning behind it and how it actually works in a granular way.
Erica E. Phillips, supply chain reporter for WSJ Logistics Report, writes that the hiring binge for logistics and freight companies may only be just beginning. The sector added 18,700 jobs last month, giving transport and logistics operations 73,000 new jobs since the start of the year. Companies are scrambling to keep up with surging shipping demand in what they say is the hottest transportation jobs market in several years.
While positive news, the peak shipping season is not here yet. How can we support manufacturers and retailers, and ensure they can fulfil their supply chain?
The digital supply chain is being hailed as the way forward, yet this comes with its own set of challenges. Virginia Howard, research director, Supply Chain Research Group, Gartner, correctly notes that digital technologies are enabling and promoting changes that have a larger impact, greater unpredictability and increased frequency. And that now, more than ever, high-tech supply chains require digital skills and methods to deliver customer-driven solutions in an on-demand fashion.
The digital supply chain vs. ROI
If everyone is going to be confronted by disruption in the marketplace, how can manufacturers and retailers choose technologies that will bring real ROI?
Today, Erik Malin was appointed as our new head of operations. The appointment follows a year of sustained, rapid growth during which thousands of loads for companies like Anheuser-Busch, Safeway and Albertsons were moved over our platform and shippers such as Daimler Trucks North America connected to our API to digitize their spot freight execution.
In his role, Erik will be responsible for running, growing and scaling our operations. He will report into Ricardo Salgado, CEO, who will now mainly focus on company strategy and leadership as the companies continues to experience hyper growth.
“Erik’s industry and technology knowledge combined with his experience in managing and scaling high-growth teams, make him a real asset to team,” said Ricardo Salgado, CEO, Loadsmart. “Empowering people with data and technology is very different from mere automation. Erik recognizes how the use of both can streamline and expedite the traditional brokerage model and have a positive impact on the logistics industry.”
Erik hails from truckload broker AFN where he was responsible for strategy. Prior to that, he ran a boutique strategy consultancy where he advised publicly-traded and hyper-growth private logistics companies on growth opportunities and related change management initiatives.
“Loadsmart has done an excellent job of assembling a team of highly-talented, curious and driven individuals,” said Erik Malin, head of operations, Loadsmart. “New entrants often turn to technology only and disregard important industry intricacies. It’s rare to find a logistics technology company that encapsulates both aspects with the aim to build a better platform for shippers and carriers.”
Loadsmart was the first to introduce a truckload instant pricing/booking algorithm in the US in 2015, followed by the launch of our One-Click load-acceptance app for carriers later that same year. In 2016, we were the first to introduce an instant pricing API for TMS integrations.
Technology is transforming the automotive and logistics industries. But for many supply chain managers the biggest headaches are still the most familiar ones, such as driver and transport capacity shortages, lost containers, poor forecasting and incomplete visibility. Just this morning, The Wall Street Journal featured how Deere & Co. is raising equipment prices to make up for rising freight transport costs. The equipment maker is a host of U.S. manufacturers reporting rising expenses as a growing U.S. economy drives up prices for materials and shipping.
Loadsmart was the gold sponsor of Python South conference in Florianopolis, Brazil. Promoting Python as a programming language, the conference brings together the various communities in South Brazil.
As the region rapidly expands its reputation as a technology hub with a strong local Python community, our team joined in and shared its knowledge.
Klaus Laube, Loadsmart software engineer, presented Loadsmart’s case in the lecture API First Design, explaining how Loadsmart leverages APIs to distribute its pricing for truckload shipping in the US. His take-away: while an API First Design is a popular approach that provides best practices across industries and companies that prioritize a better developer experience, it’s also of strategic importance to the business.