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API integrations offer pathway to compete in connected market

Customization is the name of the game when it comes to logistics software

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The logistics industry is in the midst of a widespread technological revolution. Spurred by the 2018 ELD mandate, the logistics software space has exploded over the past few years. Thousands of new solutions have hit the market, including dozens of new load boards, forecasting services and tracking applications.

At the same time, the coronavirus pandemic sent the market into a tailspin, causing seriously strained capacity and historic rate hikes. As a result, these new-to-the-scene technologies became the foundation of virtually every shipper’s business plan. 

While modern tools have allowed companies across the supply chain to increase efficiency and boost profits, these often fragmented solutions can also prove time-consuming and overwhelming. That is integrations come into play. 

“Shippers have needed to adapt to a rapidly changing freight environment and procure capacity much faster than ever before,” Emerge Senior Product Manager Bri Negron said. “Integrations allow us to introduce new, sophisticated technologies into existing procurement processes, without requiring users to suffer through logging in and out of multiple applications.”

Customization is the name of the game when it comes to logistics software. As more solutions enter the market and companies’ technological suites have become more sophisticated, integrations have gone from nice-to-have perks to need-to-have requirements for many shippers.

“Customer’s expectations have changed in that they expect technology platforms to adapt to their own procurement processes and not be forced into a rigid logistics platform,” Negron said. “Technology solutions should be flexible and integrate seamlessly into a customer’s current process.”

Emerge has worked to make sure its next-gen freight procurement tool does just that. The company works with customers to understand how their platform can best fit into a shipper’s existing process and provide the most value in the shortest amount of time, according to Negron.

Each shipper is unique, so integration strategies will also vary between companies. Keeping that in mind, embracing APIs offers the most flexibility and potential for customization for most organizations.

“The best way for a shipper to streamline their tools is to leverage platforms that easily integrate with third-party APIs,” Negron said. “Cloud solutions are usually more extensible and flexible and can often be configured to leverage third-party APIs without custom development. For shippers not using the cloud, moving away from on-premise solutions can also open the doors for more opportunities.”

No matter how a shipper chooses to approach their technological strategy, one thing is clear: The need for integrations isn’t going anywhere. As tech continues to evolve, switching between fragmented solutions to achieve single tasks will become less and less feasible, making it impossible for shippers to compete in a connected market.

“Integrations move the needle on automation and customization, but they also keep shippers adaptable,” Negron said. “Our industry’s technology is continuing to evolve and leveraging APIs makes incorporating that new technology much more possible.”

Ashley Coker

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She covers air cargo, trucking and sponsored content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.