As FreightTech companies remedy fragmented industry processes, leaders in the space have found that while they are fighting for the same cause, lack of trading data standardization among supply chain participants is undermining their efforts.
One of these fragmented processes is transportation appointment scheduling.
According to Dan Lewis, co-founder and CEO of digital freight platform Convoy, “Scheduling appointments at facilities is one of the most common activities in trucking, but it is also one of the most fragmented and offline.”
For these reasons, Convoy, along with supply chain solutions provider J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and digital transportation management company Uber Freight, announced Monday the launch of the Scheduling Standards Consortium (SSC) to work toward homogenizing scheduling practices.
Stuart Scott, executive vice president and chief information officer at J.B. Hunt, explained that during FreightWaves’ Future of Supply Chain conference in Northwest Arkansas in May, Lewis, Scott and Bill Driegert, Uber Freight’s co-founder and head of operations, determined that collaboration among these early technology adopters could bring efficiencies to scheduling practices.
“It started as an organic, three-way conversation, and we all just clicked on how much the industry needs this and what value could come from it,” said Scott. “We all felt like we needed to do it together, that no one solution or one person could really make this happen across our industry.”
In an interview with FreightWaves, Lewis and Scott explained the overall goal of the SSC is not to create a commercial product but to work with logistics providers, warehouse management solutions and transportation management systems to design a common application programming interface for sharing scheduling data.
“By setting these API standards, it allows for more innovation in the future,” said Lewis. “These will be the ground rules that each company will play by, making it easier for each company to justify future investments.”
The SSC has created a website for collaborators to visit and provide insight on its standard API.
“We have got phenomenally positive responses from companies that already want to contribute, and we want others to see this as a call to action to move our industry forward,” said Scott.
Currently, the group will use feedback from SSC contributors to focus on full truckload freight API standardization to provide documentation on those standards to the logistics industry as early as Q1 2023.
“We are at a critical inflection point of adoption, and if we don’t align on standards, we will create more work for everyone in the coming years. Everyone wins if we can align on common ways of interfacing. In doing so, we minimize operation friction and fragmentation and unlock a more fluid and optimized market for shippers and carriers to move goods,” said Driegert in the release announcing the formation of the SSC.