News: Loadsmart and Oracle Collaborate to Digitize Logistics

Relationship offering shippers real-time truckload rates within their Oracle Transportation Management Cloud routing guide

Loadsmart and Oracle partner to digitize logistics

As a Gold level member of Oracle PartnerNetwork we now announce our collaboration to provide Oracle Logistics Cloud customers instantly bookable truckload rates and guaranteed capacity from the Loadsmart network of qualified carriers directly in Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) Cloud.

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.

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The Future of Truckload Shipping

Things are changing a lot in the trucking industry. Technology startups have flocked to tackle big and small problems in the supply chain. Venture capital funds are backing different solutions excited about the size of the market and historical inefficiencies. Meanwhile, traditional players are pledging hundreds of millions of dollars to improve existing processes to avoid being dethroned.

Surprisingly, very little has changed in the actual movement of freight, at least in outward appearance. There are a number of reasons for this, but chief among them is the industry’s complexity, which together with historical distrust of technology has lengthened the adoption cycle of new features among more traditional players. And where technology has in fact been adopted, it’s impact has been undercut by the sheer size and fragmentation of the industry; technology is only materially felt once a substantial number of players adopts it.

But timid technology penetration and slow adoption should not discredit or downplay the impact that technology and automation will have, playing a fundamental role in shaping the future of the trucking and freight brokerage industry. And what’s coming is really exciting.

Joe Tsai & Felipe
Alibaba’s co-founder Joe Tsai discusses logistics challenges with Loadsmart’s co-founder Felipe Capella at a recent Sullivan & Cromwell alumni reception in New York

There is a clear downturn tendency in freight brokerage margins. As they continue to shrink, the historical value proposition of freight brokersselling and pricing each load and finding its truckwill decline heavily. Soon, brokers won’t need thousands of employees to power their operations; instead, new technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence, ubiquitous data sharing, more secure and available chain of ownership (ie via blockchain technology) and real-time, over-the-air telematics will serve as potent force multipliers. All of this will dramatically reduce the actual cost of brokering freight and increase consolidation of small- and medium-sized brokers.

In the long run, things will change more dramatically. Several states will clear autonomous trucks for specific lanes (hub-to-hub). Carrier operational costs will drop significantly and drivers may move from carrier-based to warehouse-based. Huge consolidation on the carrier side will probably follow. Small companies will likely struggle to compete in this new environment, displaced, swallowed up, or put out of business by large enterprises with massive fleets of autonomous vehicles, where few carriers will be moving a very large portion of the total FTL shipments. The exact role original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will play in creating this new trucking reality is, for the moment, less clear, but it will likely be important as they too want to become software and service providers. Some big enterprises shippers will end up running their own autonomous trucks fleet, but most companies will rely on third party autonomous truck providers.

 

oTMS
oTMS’s co-founder Mirek Dabrowski (far right) and VP of Services Adam Davis (far left) during a recent visit to Loadsmart from Shanghai

 

Of course, down the road, brokers as we currently know them will all but disappear, crippled by the continued advance of technology and growing use of automation across the industry, which only debase a broker’s value as they become more popular, lowering or removing thresholds that were once gatekeepers.  Once this happens, the age of logistics technology platforms will truly begin.

Loadsmart is positioning itself for this upcoming future: a future based on data, artificial intelligence, and automation of load movements. We have nurtured good relationships with logistics players across Asia, Europe, Latin and North America, and are sharing knowledge with these trusted partners to transform the logistics business.

Felipe Capella is co-founder and Chief of Product at Loadsmart

Working Towards a Slavery-Free Supply Chain

Last Wednesday, in an urgent and moving testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on “Ending Modern Slavery,” actor and tech investor Ashton Kutcher pressed the importance of using technology in the fight against human trafficking. Citing the significant impact a suite of web-based tools developed by Thor, a company co-founded and chaired by Kutcher, has had on rescuing victims, the actor called on U.S. legislators to direct further funding for the development of additional products and technologies to help combat modern slavery.

We couldn’t have argued it better ourselves.

We are firm believers in the transformative power of technology (we are a technology company after all) and its capacity to change the world for the better. In fact, this simple belief powers pretty much everything we do: fundamental to all our efforts is the creation of abundant value—for our immediate customers, yes, but also for individuals and businesses across the supply chain and beyond too. That’s also why in recent months, we’ve focused on identifying ways we can leverage our data, technology, and industry partnerships to help bring an end to human exploitation and sex trafficking.

That human trafficking affects nearly every country, in nearly every geography, is sublime in the darkest sense of the word, a clear affront to our common humanity. No wonder the UN calls it the crime that “shames us all.” And yet trafficking in persons remains staggeringly persistent, at once both nearer and more common than most realize. Victimizing nearly 21 million women, men, and children around the world, this modern-day form of slavery is the second-largest illicit industry behind drugs, generating an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits annually. At home in the US, trafficking takes place in towns and cities in all 50 states and places nearly 300,000 children at risk each year.

For everyone at Loadsmart, the moral imperative couldn’t be clearer: “We take our impact seriously and we’re dedicated to working for the common good and doing what’s right, in addition to being deeply passionate about building transformative technology for logistics,” explains our Chief Commercial Officer Diego Urrutia. Urrutia’s proximity to human trafficking is particularly personal: his wife, Kristin Pisarcik, was part of the award-winning team of journalists at ABC News that broke the story about America’s domestic sex trafficking issue and spent half a decade reporting on victims of the crime and local and national efforts to stamp out the issue.

What We’re Doing to Help

Current efforts, like the software developed by Kutcher’s Thor, demonstrate technology’s potential as a force for good and its power to disrupt human trafficking. Learning from and building upon these successes, our engineers are hard at work exploring and developing new features and tools to add to our products that will aid the cause. Currently, and notably, we are iterating through an update to our mobile driver app that will allow truckers to instantly connect with The National Human Trafficking Hotline to quickly provide tips, seek services, request help, or alert authorities—all without leaving our app.

tat-logo-transparentWe’ve also recently teamed up with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) to help educate, equip, empower, and mobilize our partners—shippers, carriers, and drivers—to
combat domestic human trafficking. Since 2009, TAT has worked tirelessly to rally America’s 3.4 million truck drivers and members of the trucking industry to prevent human trafficking on US highways.

As the eyes and ears of the nation’s roads, tuckers have proved to be effective allies in the effort to halt trafficking. With the help of TAT, members of the trucking industry have become one of the fastest growing demographics of callers to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center in the country, generating 503 cases of sex trafficking involving some 1098 victims.

We are proud to support TAT’s impactful work to combat this crime and look forward to partnering with others in the industry as we put the brakes on child sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

— Gordon Bottomley

Update: March 1, 2017
This post has been updated to reflect new data released on the number of sex trafficking cases and victims reported to the National Human TraffickingResource Center by members of the trucking industry.

WATCH: Ashton Kutcher delivers his opening statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on ending modern slavery and human trafficking.