How To Know What’s Missing From Your Logistics Technology Stack

(Even if you think of yourself as a tech-enabled shipper)

Here’s how every shipper can get more from logistics technology and build a complete platform to transform its transportation operations.

The value and importance of logistics technology for every company that ships anything is not up for debate anymore. So, even while some lagging companies may be slow to adopt automation or use technology to improve how their logistics department operates, smart shippers understand they need technology, like a TMS.

But what many companies don’t realize, sometimes even more progressive ones, is that a TMS is not always a complete solution by itself. Yes, a TMS performs many important tasks and is a cornerstone technology to better shipping execution, but it’s not the only part of a complete logistics technology stack.

Getting the most from a TMS requires connections outside the system to access the information that drives and makes it all it can be for users. With a TMS as the starting point, shippers can add pieces to create their own best combination of logistics applications and shipping-related data-sources.

The Most Important Step Towards a Complete LogTech Stack

When considering technology, most shippers’ priority is to connect their TMS to a source for rates, capacity, and tracking information. All are now easily integrated into modern TMS systems, primarily with pre-built APIs and EDI connectivity.

The reason most technology stacks take shape this way is because while a good TMS platform is a powerful tool, it’s only as good as the data available to it. A TMS can’t fix bad rates and routing decisions by users. It also can’t make up for non-existent or delayed tracking information missing from carriers. The good news is these are exactly the problems specialized logistics technologies solve. And together with a TMS, fill in the missing parts of any shippers’ technology needs.

Saying the only benefits of building on a TMS are lower rates (which many do) is selling the idea of what logistics technology can be short. The right integrated solutions can provide a TMS (and the shippers who count on them) advantages, including:

  • Qualified and pre-vetted carriers based on known needs and shipping patterns
  • Transparency into appropriate rates and transit-time options for all shipping modes
  • Faster access to capacity for difficult to cover loads
  • More in-depth and accurate data enabling strategic and data-driven decision making
  • Real-time track and trace
  • Better inventory visibility

Most shippers will see several advantages on this list as areas they’d like to improve within their logistics operation. Fortunately, each is also probably more attainable with technology than they realize.

Logistics Technology Is Easier Than You’d Think

Technology implementations have a bad reputation for being expensive and difficult to start using. This perception is a hold-over from the past when connecting systems and sharing data was hard. Modern platforms are built with the expectation that they need to be simple to start using and share data with other systems freely (most often through pre-built APIs.) There is also much more emphasis placed on the user experience with technology today, so training and operating costs are much lower.

The point is that using foundational technology like a TMS and building on it is the minimum you should be doing now. A well-planned technology stack is not difficult, nor is it expensive. And, having only basic logistics technology is not a way to be better than competitors; it’s a way to merely keep up. 

However, smart and progressive companies are aware of the benefits of combining exceptional logistics technologies can provide.

Interested in building on your TMS to improve your logistics tech stack? Download our eBook How To Level-Up Your Logistics Tech Stack (Without Heavy-Lifting) for everything you need to know.

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[NEWS] Digital Freight Platform Loadsmart Raises $90M in Series C Funding Round Led by BlackRock’s Managed Funds

Strategic Investors Include Maersk and TFI International

Loadsmart, a leading digital freight technology company, today announced the successful completion of its Series C fundraising. The $90 million round was led by BlackRock, Inc.’s managed funds and included prominent strategic investors from the transportation space such as TFI International Inc. (NYSE and TSX: TFII), a North American leader in the transportation and logistics industry, and Maersk, the world’s leading ocean carrier and a Loadsmart investor since Series A. The deal was co-led by Chromo Capital, with participation from Perry Capital, founded by Richard C. Perry; and Bramalea Partners, recently founded by Andrew Boyd, former head of global equity capital markets at Fidelity Investments. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as Loadsmart’s financial adviser and Paul Hastings as its legal adviser.

The funding round cements Loadsmart’s position as a leader in the digital freight space. Loadsmart’s fiscally conservative strategy is unique among digital competitors and has allowed for capital-efficient, sustainable growth. Instead of growing by subsidizing its customers’ freight spend, the company focuses on organic growth driven by operational excellence coupled with API integrations, developing the technology to provide true value-added services to its customers. Loadsmart has grown revenues 250% since January 2020 while improving service quality, increasing gross margins and keeping operational expenses at 2019 levels.

“As the secular shift from analogue to digital has continued to accelerate throughout the logistics industry, in which volatility has become the norm, we are proud to help our customers leverage Loadsmart’s technology to secure capacity and exceptional service,” noted Ricardo Salgado, Loadsmart co-founder and CEO.

With the highest percentage of employees in software development and data science roles in the digital freight industry, Loadsmart was the first to market with the following: truckload instant pricing and booking in 2015; server-to-server autonomous truckload booking via API and TMS integrations in 2016; and drayage and transload digital services in 2019. This tech-first approach has allowed the company to set in place a fully scalable and automated distribution model. As a result, 85% of Loadsmart revenue is now generated (quoted and booked) with full automation.

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[NEWS] Loadsmart Announces Multimode Expansion to Less-Than-Truckload and Rail

Leading Digital Broker Offers Industry-First Mode Optimization Across Full Truckload, Less Than Truckload, Partial, Rail and Drayage

NEW YORK, Nov. 10, 2020—Loadsmart, a leading digital freight technology company, today announced the expansion of its Multimodal Services to include less than truckload (LTL) and rail. The first digital freight broker to offer truly multimodal solutions, Loadsmart now enables customers to book shipments in North America across all major transportation modes, building on existing capabilities for full truckload (FTL), port drayage and transload.  

“Loadsmart is now a one-stop-shop logistics solution for domestic freight,” said Felipe Capella, Loadsmart co-founder and president. “We want shippers to focus on their core business instead of having to select and manage multiple providers to solve their many logistics needs.”

In addition to giving shippers more choices, Loadsmart now offers mode optimization services, identifying opportunities to secure lower rates and more reliable capacity by selecting the best mode for each load in real time. The company has already begun offering expanded Multimodal Services to a select number of customers, and has seen rapid adoption. Through mode optimization, Loadsmart is actively helping shippers move loads originally planned as FTL via partial, LTL or rail, reducing cost by as much as 24%.

Loadsmart was the first to introduce FTL instant pricing and booking in 2015, executed the market’s first server-to-server autonomous truckload booking via API integrations to TMS in 2016, and offered the first digital drayage and transload services in 2019. In Q2 2020, the company added more customers via direct integration with the shipper’s TMS than in all of 2019, and this trend accelerated further in Q3 2020. These vital TMS integrations allow rates, tenders, tracking and invoicing to flow automatically between Loadsmart and the customer, delivering unmatched visibility to the shipments.

“Having invested in digital infrastructure by partnering with companies like Oracle, BluJay, MercuryGate and Blue Yonder, we’re now building on this foundation by offering a broader range of logistics services across LTL, partial and rail,” added Capella. “Looking ahead to 2021, we will be adding these services to existing TMS integrations.”

“Mode optimization is a critical component to the supply chain strategy, unlocking cost savings and reducing waste caused by suboptimal decision making,” said Jim Nicholson, vice president of operations at Loadsmart. “Loadsmart leverages data, integrations and algorithms to provide a best-in-class solution, allowing our customers to streamline the transportation of their goods.”

All shippers will be able to book FTL, LTL and drayage moves directly on www.loadsmart.com. For rail bookings, companies can work directly with Loadsmart’s account management team.

About Loadsmart

Transforming the future of freight, Loadsmart leverages artificial intelligence, machine learning and strategic partnerships to automate how freight is priced, booked and shipped. Pairing advanced technologies with deep-seated industry expertise, Loadsmart fuels growth, simplifies operational complexity and bolsters efficiency for carriers and shippers alike. For more information, please visit: https://loadsmart.com.

[WEBINAR] The First Steps Toward Digital Transformation In Freight

With a tumultuous year nearly behind us, heading into 2021, transportation leaders are asking, “how can we be more prepared next year, and where should we invest resources?” 

Transportation is becoming increasingly efficient as shippers embrace digital transformation and integrate systems and processes.  

By taking an agile approach toward adopting freight technology, shippers eliminate operational inefficiency and avoid costly pitfalls – even in extraordinarily strained markets.

In this webinar, learn how to:

  • Eliminate overpaying for freight by building upon your TMS
  • Customize routing guides to mitigate high tender rejection – recently hovering over 25% nationally
  • Automate better and more profitable business decisions

To Our Carriers: Thank You

These are uncertain times, but you’re not letting that stop you from keeping America running.

Only a couple of weeks ago, transportation was humming along as usual: freight volumes were normal and flat and carriers were only rejecting their contracted loads 4% of the time.

Since COVID-19 has gripped America’s conscious and economy in early March, carriers have been faced with an unprecedented surge in shipments that eclipsed records previously set in 2018.

FreightWaves Sonar

Freight volume seemingly grew +30% over night and tender rejections grew to their highest point in several months.

This surge has forced truckers to spend even more time on the road and less time with their families… all to keep grocery store shelves full and pharmacies fully stocked.

From everyone at Loadsmart, we want to thank our carriers for their work and acknowledge their sacrifice.

And while you’re out there for all of us, we’ll be here for you.

To our carriers, thank you for giving Loadsmart the opportunity to make your job a bit easier in a difficult time. Together, we keep America running: https://hubs.ly/H0p11sG0