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 first to launch truckload instant pricing/booking in the US (2015); first to launch One-Click load acceptance app for carriers (2015); first to launch instant pricing API for TMS integrations (2016) and experienced the first fully automated quote-book-source flow in the truckload spot market (2016).
We are now providing a pre-spot solution by fully automating quoting and booking of truckload shipments. By doing this, we make it possible for companies to automatically book a truck before the shipment turns into a spot load, accepting 100% of those tenders and guaranteeing capacity. This helps shippers avoid the same-day/next-day markets, which are known for steep prices and service failures. Here is how it works.
1 – Semi-Automated Pre-Spot
We integrate with the Shipper’s transportation management system (TMS) via API to access data about all shipments that need to be moved. Loadsmart runs each shipment through our machine learning pricing algorithm and returns a live, bookable rate directly to the Shipper’s TMS.
This allows the shipper to compare the prices from other carriers and brokers, which are logged in their static rate tree, with Loadsmart’s bookable rate. Because it is given real-time, the rate is always live and can be booked with one click. No emails; no phone calls.
That means that when the primary carrier fails, the load planner can execute the shipment right away. Not only does this provide price protection at above-standard service levels, it also creates internal efficiencies for the shipper by saving time for the planners. It goes without saying that this also allows Loadsmart to operate much more efficiently, generating further savings that can be passed along to the customer.
2- Fully Automated Pre-Spot
In a fully-automated flow, instead of the shipper’s load planner manually comparing our pre-spot dynamic prices with static rates from their routing guide, this is done automatically on a server.
There are two steps to the automated process of price discovery and comparison. First, an algorithm evaluates the acceptance rates of carriers and brokers whose static rates are in the route guide. If they have rarely or never agreed to move the load at their routing guide (or annual bid) rate, then the algorithm skips them to save time.
Second, the algorithm requests a real-time rate from the Loadsmart pricing API. It then moves down the routing guide from least expensive to most expensive rate, contacting only carriers who the shipper has reason to believe will respond. It keeps doing this until the next lowest rate is Loadsmart’s instantly bookable rate. At that point, the algorithm automatically tenders the load to Loadsmart via API.
This allows for a full automation experience that in practice reduces the time to identify and secure truckload capacity by as much as several days, increasing on-time delivery and decreasing cost of hire. Further efficiencies accrue to the shipper as either very limited or indeed no manual work is necessary, decreasing errors and human capital costs while optimizing decisions.
We have implemented both semi- and fully-automated pricing and booking with Fortune 500 companies across the US. Pre-Spot Automation has dramatically accelerated the quoting and booking process (check Daimler’s case), slashing the time required to secure capacity, reducing rates by adding liquidity and reducing dependency on same-day spot markets, and minimizing the risk of human error.
Want to integrate with our system? Let us know.
Felipe Capella, Co-founder
Hunter Yaw, Senior Product Manager
As we’re approaching the Retail Supply Chain Summit: New York and I’m preparing for my panel conversation with supply chain managers from large retailers/manufacturers, a recent Deloitte study – Embracing a Digital Future – caught my eye.
According to the study, 79 percent of companies with high-performing supply chains achieve above average revenue growth. Yet, very few companies include supply chain managers in their boardrooms. Businesses that have applied big data analytics to their supply chain functions have seen a reduction in costs, improved risk management, shorter cycle times, more accurate forecasting, and an overall improvement when it comes to making informed decisions.
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.
Recently, our co-founder and head of product, Felipe Capella spoke with Kevin Horek, host of Building the Future, who interviews founders at startups, entrepreneurs, investors and others helping to make the world a better place. During their conversation, Felipe discusses the evolution of Loadsmart, how an awesome team is revolutionizing the logistics industry as well as life leading up to Loadsmart. To listen to the podcast, click here.
Loadsmart has teamed up with Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) to improve its carrier customers experience by digitizing and redesigning the distribution, notification and acceptance of targeted loads. This includes an entire new experience for DTNA carrier customers to get notified and accept loads online, via Loadsmart’s web and mobile applications. The partnership also involves Loadsmart managing Daimler’s loads in the spot market as a freight broker.
A VIP experience
Rising costs, increased time pressure, the best possible utilization of capacity, and compliance with the law remain of concern to motor carriers. To help DTNA’s customers succeed commercially, the partnership enables carriers to permanently reduce operating costs as Loadsmart technology sends the most relevant business to each carrier based on advanced matching algorithms. A new, reimagined and redesigned user experience for Daimler partner carriers facilitates the interaction with the system and load-acceptance flow, with a one-click load-acceptance experience.
Loadsmart is also managing a substantial part of Daimler’s spot shipment needs. By leveraging Loadsmart’s instant pricing/booking capabilities, Daimler itself has improved its productivity, efficiency and security across the spot load value chain from start to finish.
Entering a digital era…
The Loadsmart platform leverages data and machine learning technology to provide shippers an instant pricing/ instant booking experience in which truckload shipments can be booked in a few seconds. It also analyzes thousands of data points to identify which carriers are best positioned to move each load, allowing them to accept targeted loads with one-click.
“To manufacture trucks, we need carriers to deliver components and parts to our plants,” said Lori Heino-Royer, director of business innovation at Daimler Trucks North America. “Offering a customized app to our contracted carriers gives them first access to our spot business and improves critical points in our supply chain.”
In addition, Felipe Capella, Co-founder, Loadsmart, explained, “Carriers and shippers are equally vital to our success. This partnership enables Daimler to support is customers post-truck sale by providing targeted business in a digitalized, easy-to-use platform. And as a shipper itself, Daimler takes advantage of our instant pricing/booking capabilities to move spot loads with ease and efficiency.”
… for dramatic improvements
DTNA reports that the beta test of the Loadsmart app resulted in dramatic improvements in the time to execute a spot shipment – going from five hours to just 18 minutes on average – and in load acceptance rates which increased over 50 percent. In addition, the beta period demonstrated that carriers received payments in two days instead of 30 days.
Loadsmart CEO Ricardo Salgado summarized the project results, “We saw Daimler Trucks North America’s participating fleet customers increased their average number of spot loads moved by more than 50 percent and improved their average time to accept, process and deliver a spot shipment by over 90 percent. Partnering with the largest truck OEM is core to Loadsmart’s vision on building the future of logistics by interconnecting all players in a powerful platform.”
The DTNA pilot program began in October 2017 and is currently available to the company’s select customers in the United States with plans for the company to expand it to Canada and Mexico later this year.
Access full DTNA’s Press Release here.
New York, NY, January 16, 2018 – Loadsmart, the logistics technology company specializing in full-truckload shipping, today announced that Joao Bosco is joining the company as chief technology officer. Bosco’s primary focus will be to further the platform’s AI capability.
Loadsmart relies on machine learning processes to enable shippers to instantly book a truck nationwide, and complex algorithms to, after shipper booking, identify the best truck positioned to move each load. As more data becomes available and volume increases, deep neural networks will positively impact the success of the right pricing and sourcing computational processes. They will also enhance Loadsmart’s internal computer generated tasks without the need for task-specific programming. Identifying potential issues before they actually happen, or are known, will be of great value in the logistics industry.
“The opportunity is enormous,” said Joao Bosco, chief technology officer, Loadsmart. “The size of the transportation and logistics industry, and fragmentation on both sides – shippers and carriers – create a huge potential for disruption with neural networks and other machine learning technologies. I am proud of joining the dream team.”
Felipe Capella, co-founder and chief product officer, Loadsmart, said, “Bosco is one of a kind. He is a successful entrepreneur, having built his company from scratch to a successful exit, and a talented manager, growing a tech team with the right culture. His many years of experience in big data and predictive AI attest to his tech capability. While his know-how will help Loadsmart improve its software development processes, he will also contribute significantly to our artificial intelligence and predictive models such as our Instant Pricing and Automated Sourcing features.”
Prior to Loadsmart, Bosco co-founded Chaordic Systems, a company focused on big data and predictive analytics counting some of Latin America’s biggest e-commerce companies as its customers. Acting as the company’s CTO, he grew the company’s tech team from zero to more than 100 developers and data scientists, earning Chaordic Systems the Best Place to Work award several times. He eventually sold the company to Linx, a public software management company out of Sao Paulo.
Bosco has a bachelor and Masters in Computer Science. He was featured in several articles, including the cover of the leading Brazilian business magazine Revista Exame.
Following on from an amazing 2017, Felipe Capella, Chief Product Officer and Loadsmart’s Co-founder, mentions the top 4 technology trends that will be the kings of 2018 in the brokerage of truckload shipping:
- Data Sharing and Open Access
Logistics industry players have traditionally been very protective of their data. Freight brokers are the epitome of this trend, siloing all information and creating close environments for software use. In 2018 we will see more openness, with many companies in different businesses sharing data for mutual benefit. While initially this initiative will be to better understand market dynamics, it will provide a more efficient service to end clients in the long run. Software will also become more open to utilization across different platforms and fear of IP replication will give space to the distribution benefits of openness.
- APIs replace EDIs
EDIs have to die. Information is exchanged between computers like a fax machine: as a specific event, not on an ongoing basis. This delay causes multiple operational challenges, increasing the chance of missed status changes and precluding the automation of manual-intense processes such as calls and emails. Companies that want to embrace automation and integration with tech partners have to build proper APIs that are easy to use and easy to maintain.
- Instant Pricing/Booking
Instant and on-demand features will start claiming a bigger portion of the industry. Traditional shippers are starting to move towards a more connected and immediate electronic and digitized response to their spot and contracted business needs. Speed, reliability and just-in-time are needs that modern shippers have, which will make instant truck booking an essential technology.
- Deep Neural Networks: beyond pricing and sourcing
Loadsmart relies on machine learning processes and complex algorithms to allow instantly booking of a truck and to identify the best truck positioned to move each load after the booking the shipment. As more data becomes available and volume increases, deep neural networks will claim a bigger part of the success on the right pricing and sourcing computational-processes. But more importantly, these neuron-mimicking flows will also change repetitive human responsibilities to computer generated tasks (without the need for task-specific programming). Identifying potential issues before they actually happen – or are known – will be of great value in the logistics industry.
Do you agree? What trends do you see for 2018?
Trucking is one of the nation’s largest workforces, employing more than 3.5 million drivers. In 2017, trucks transported 10 billion tons of freight, which equals 70% of all domestic freight tonnage. And it’s only to be expected to increase in 2018. Needless to say, we have exciting times ahead of us.
Before we jump into 2018, let’s take a moment to review our year and some of our amazing accomplishments – none of which would have been possible without our customers and the Loadsmart team.
Loadsmart’s revenue grew by 150% in 2017 which was the culmination of a number of factors. We on-boarded Anheuser-Busch and Albertsons / Safeway among other Fortune 500 companies by offering instant rates for around 900,000 lanes.
Technology wise we made great strides as we enhanced our machine learning pricing algorithm in August to version 2.0. We also re-wrote all Instant Loads infrastructure – allowing carriers to accept loads with one click – and launched the Instant Loads app for Android and iOS: carriers now have visibility on all available loads and can book them from their mobile devices. Last but not least, we put our Pricing API to use and are conducting integration pilots with several leading companies. Watch this space in 2018!
Another significant update was the launch of a Human Trafficking Tip line on our truck-driver mobile app, enabling users to connect with The National Human Trafficking Hotline to provide tips, seek services, request help or alert authorities.
No need to say all these developments had a positive effect on the team and the company. We doubled our engineering team and implemented a new brand look & feel in September.
Last but not least, we received two amazing industry accolades. The team won the Bronze Stevie Award for Most Innovative Tech Company of the Year – Up to 100 Employees, and we ended the year with a bang, winning the DOGA Design Award for User Interaction Design – underscoring our very belief that great unity of design and technology is the path to introduce technology in well-established industries.
Again, a big shoutout to all our customers, partners and the Loadsmart team. We’re very grateful and look forward to an even more exciting 2018!
On November 15, the Loadsmart team, together with Eggs Design, attended the DOGA Award for Design and Architecture ceremony in Oslo following our win for interaction design. The celebration was a culmination of a close collaboration between technology and design from day one.
The Jury’s verdict:
This solution has many positive aspects, not least in terms of the environment. By optimizing truck logistics, it becomes possible to distribute freight more efficiently, while at the same time minimizing the problem of empty trucks that pollute unnecessarily. This is a good example of how good interaction design can renew and streamline previously inefficient processes and act as a positive force for change.
The interface is simple and intuitive, thorough, and solid and can also point to very good results in terms of both economy and efficiency.
We couldn’t be prouder. Creating a user experience from scratch, including brand and interface development, required excellence across many design disciplines. The award underscores our belief that great unity of design and technology is the path to introduce technology in well established industries. It enabled us to innovate and spearhead a logistics revolution. Optimizing for design improved product adoption, more efficient workflows and created user loyalty.
Today, Loadsmart offers instant rates for around 900,000 lanes and operates in the entire U.S. and is moving thousands of loads for companies like Anheuser-Busch, Safeway and Albertson’s.
From all of us at Loadsmart, we’re excited about the future!
Click here to access our full Press Release.
The 13th edition of Python Brazil, the largest Python programming language conference in Brazil, will be held from October 6-11 in Belo Horizonte (MG). With a week long program encompassed by lectures, tutorials and programming sprints, PyBrazil is garnering attention from large companies such as Facebook and the Python Software Corporation. Among their supporters, you’ll also find organizations like the Pyladies, who we are proud to sponsor for this event.
The PyLadies’ mission is to instigate more women to enter the tech and computing industry. They strive to show women there are no limits to their intellectual capacity and that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to; from coding to developing an embedded system. This year, 8 members of this organization will be leading multiple activities as speakers and have started a campaign to raise funds for 18 members who applied for financial support to cover the conference’s expenses. These women will not only gain technical knowledge, but will be able to extend this knowledge with their local communities and continue to share their experiences.
At Loadsmart, we are happy to support their efforts and become a prime sponsor by donating to their cause and opening doors for such a great opportunity to learn, network and advance in their careers. We wish these ladies tremendous success.
Loadsmart is advancing its technology platform to automate how companies move shipments across the country by leveraging artificial intelligence. To move a full trailer of commodity across the country, instead of contacting traditional freight brokers via email or phone calls to arrange for trucking services, companies like Safeway can rely on an automated platform that provides the service with a one-click experience. Integrations may allow this one-click experience from customer’s own internal system.
Loadsmart is building an AI-powered system that automatically prices every shipment based on multiple sources of information (real time supply and demand of trucks and loads, weather, seasonality, warehouse hours, etc), so clients have on-demand access to trucking service with real time pricing. Loadsmart’s system then identifies the right transportation company – among a couple hundred thousands – to fulfill that service. In the future, with the adoption of autonomous trucks, every step of the chain will be connected, intelligent and automated.
Loadsmart is now looking into blockchain technology and how that fits the Loadsmart’s automated shipment cycle. Blockchain technology could bring more transparency to the over-the-road logistics ownership chain (producer – truck – warehouse), and introduce smart contracts to the freight brokerage industry. The first will allow anyone that is part of a product supply chain to trace a specific product source, when it exchanged hands and who was part of that exchange. The second leverages the reliability of blockchain technology to conduct automated payments between the parties, eliminating time-consuming document checks and manual information exchange.
We believe that most of the operational tasks of current freight brokers can be automated via AI engineering (pricing, carrier sourcing, truck geolocation), and the ones that rely on middlemen transaction balances and checks (ie payment to carriers contingent on a physical proof of delivery) could potentially be solved by blockchain.
Felipe Capella is co-founder and Chief Product Officer.
View excerpts from their conversation below or watch the talk in its entirety here.
The role of the freight broker is evolving and will continue to evolve. It’s about adopting technology and using it to make [services] much more powerful and easier [to access]. Consumers are requesting better pricing and more visibility. In order to do that, we need that underlying technology.
When you’re asking a shipper to trust you with its $75,000 worth of cargo, and it’s going to cost you $1,300 to get on your platform, that’s a different sell than an Uber giving you a $25 promo code to try its [service]. The adoption curve is a bit different. But you’re seeing also a generational shift. This is the first year that we’ll have more Millennials than Baby Boomers. You’re starting to see people who are more comfortable in sharing their car, or their information online. They’re more comfortable with the underlying technology and taking a more of a calculated risk.
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.
There is a clear downturn tendency in freight brokerage margins. As they continue to shrink, the historical value proposition of freight brokers—selling and pricing each load and finding its truck—will 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.
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
Earlier this week, the American Business Awards (ABA) awarded Loadsmart a Bronze Stevie® Award for Most Innovative Tech Company of the Year for 2017. We are, at once, both proud and humbled by the recognition.
When we started Loadsmart just a few short years ago, it was clear to us that the status quo in trucking and logistics was not just broken, but becoming increasingly untenable in our ever-more-connected world. We knew there had to be a better, more open, more efficient, and even more human, way to move freight around the world.
Since then, milestones like our first fully automated truckload shipment have only strengthened our convictions about the transformative power of technology and it’s capacity to revolutionize freight brokerage and trucking (and, on a longer timeline, the entire logistics industry). Of course, this is only the beginning and we remain focused on developing solutions that create exponentially better businesses across the supply chain.
We’re always seeking the best talent to join our growing team to tackle big challenges and make an impact. Visit our career site to learn more about the opportunities we’re hiring for.