The final round of Rapid Fire Demos by innovators at FreightWaves LIVE Chicago revealed pervasive industry goals — increasing visibility, implementing real-time shipment tracking, scaling logistics businesses without hiring more people and improving the lives of truckers.
While several of the platforms highlighted offer one-stop-shop or all-inclusive services, they’re also highly customizable. The robotic apps and blockchain ledgers below have the potential to disrupt the supply chain end to end if companies embrace the learning curve and commit to innovative solutions.
For 25 years, Truckstop.com has been digitally matching freight. On Nov. 18, it will release Book It Now, an app that increases visibility into the processes of both brokers and carriers. With the help of market rates and benchmarking, the app will help customers stay competitive. Truckstop.com just finished a thorough pilot program with Schneider.
The broker’s interface shows the statuses of load postings. The controller of the app has the ability within the settings to make the carrier rates or the address of the load private. Brokers can edit terms and conditions for each customer. For customers that don’t have the capability within their transportation management system (TMS), a PDF setup is available. In notifications, brokers can choose how they want to receive messaging — through text, email or within the workflow in-app. While there’s a lot of data visibility in the app, the physical addresses and pickup reference numbers will not be visible to the carrier until they agree to the terms and conditions and book the load.
“Time is money when you’re a carrier,” said Stephen Bindbeutel. “With Book it Now, you’re eliminating all the time searching. You get to work with the brokers you trust to find the loads you want and easily book them. This isn’t a brand new solution, but Truckstop.com is unique, because we’re the trusted marketplace for both sides of the equation. Truckstop.com continues to provide value throughout the entire lifecycle of the load.”
German company Transporeon has created the Ticontract platform, a strategic procurement tool that allows shippers to search for potential suppliers, qualify them and set up a pricing event. The demo team showed what it would look like to search through the live database for flatbed trucking companies in the U.S.
Using the app, shippers can survey potential carriers and then rank them according to fit. Those who rank highest sit at the top of the list; shippers can come up with their own questions and rank the questions according to their needs.
“What it comes down to is every shipper has an idea of what makes a great carrier,” said Patrick Pretorius, director of business development.
When shippers pursue a pricing event to contract out 80% of shipments, they can enter the Ticontract analysis module and create scenarios and constraints with the information procured, like capacity and transit time.
‘We can see what implications of the various scenarios we have created and potentially how much savings we’ve created for the company,” Pretorius said.
Kamion Software Co.
“In 2019, the question has been ‘Where is the capacity?’” said Pavel Botev, founder of Kamion Software Co.
Kamion’s transporation management system (TMS) shows load markets with interactive maps and helps third-party logistics providers (3PLs) locate capacity for carriers and match loads.
“With 135 markets in the U.S. and 18,000 possible lane combinations, human beings cannot keep up,” Botev said.
Kamion’s Truckboard app helps with the complicated process of mapping out markets, lanes and rates.
“If you think about it, machines are managing the scheduling of trains, traffic lights, but not trucks, and that’s very weird. With our process, we’re hoping that we can help companies bring more revenue and make smarter decisions,” Botev added.
The 130-year-old Chicago technology startup has gone from making communications hardware to becoming an electronic data interchange, and finally, to a business-to-business (B2B) messaging platform and integrated solutions provider for the freight industry.
FreightLaunch, Kleinschmidt’s new digital freight enablement platform, “levels the playing field.” It scales with brokers and carriers as they grow and helps with the complexities of onboarding. It also works to eliminate rote tasks like tendering and invoicing.
The active loads dashboard is a “one-stop shop” for new load tenders, and carriers can accept or reject loads in just a few clicks. Shipment statuses can be created for each load, and detention issues can be viewed, as well as the lifecycle of a shipment.
Once a shipment is delivered, the invoice can be easily entered for the shipper or bank to see. FreightLaunch has great filtering methods to track shipment and payment over time.
“We want to build critical connections in modern commerce. We’re here to help you bridge the digital gap to help you and your company do what you do best and keep you competitive by practical solutions,” said Dan Heinen, CEO.
“The delivery cash workflow allows your company to invoice immediately upon delivery and work more efficiently,” said Ben Masters, director of customer success.
By pretending to be a tanker driver about to make a delivery, David Song showed how the app integrates with a TMS and listed potential terminals. After choosing one, the driver is taken to an area where he can enter customizable data that will go back into the TMS, creating as much visibility as possible. In only a few minutes, the billing process begins and an email is sent to the shipper with a picture of the invoice.
Slow payment usually occurs because of email issues, specifically claims that the customer never got the invoice, but this app provides visibility around whether or not an email has been opened and read.
“This platform empowers the team to go into conversation prepared to improve processes,” Masters said.
This Toronto-based, self-described “hardcore tech group” embraces the best of both emerging and traditional technologies.
Its workflow platform, DL Freight Solution, is a shared ledger using blockchain technology. From the retail client’s workflow perspective, they can see the load ID, the status, exactly where the load sits in the system and the totals. From the carrier’s perspective, you can see which orders are coming through from the retailer, and you can even go in and adjust wait times, which automatically updates the costs.
“Mutability provides the transparency, and the shared ledger itself is really for real-time shared data. Because this is a shared ledger, you determine who has access to see what, and if there’s a change made, everyone sees it at the same time,” said Christian Ramirez, VP of sales and marketing.
Some of the app’s preloaded attributes include taxes, wait times and line haul rates — common negotiating factors for freight brokers. The app is integrated with eight other systems, such as electronic data interchange (EDI), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and GPS.
65 carriers are currently onboarding to DL Freight Solution.
Los Angeles-based NEXT Trucking calls itself “the first trucker-centric marketplace” and offers technology to increase driver autonomy. A year ago, they introduced the yard-to-yard marketplace, so drivers can enter the drayage market to earn 20-50% more.
The new port marketplace app helps drayage drivers access preferred lanes and reduce emissions. Using the app, drivers can schedule work for the following day and still make it home to their families at night. Two loads can be booked with one tap, and with interactive maps, drivers have complete control over which loads they take. The app prompts drivers with PIN and container numbers, which helps them enter the facility and complete the job. There’s also a place for them to enter a proof of delivery (POD) so they can get paid.
“Truck driving is a thankless job. NEXT builds tools for these people so they can love their job and love their life,” said John Papageorgiou, senior product manager.
Trucker Tools highlighted three issues plaguing brokers: poor visibility compliance, carrier turnover and manual inefficiencies. These issues reduce profitability and fragment the carrier base.
Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity Platform is an agnostic load tracking and predictive matching platform has been downloaded by 700,000 drivers and provides real-time shipment tracking.
“This is an all-in-one app built for truckers,” said Prasad Gollapalli, founder and CEO.
Since the advent of this app, compliance has increased up to 90%. The maps show a detailed breadcrumb trail for brokers to keep up with the trucks. PODs can be sent back immediately, and the messaging system improves communication between truckers and brokers.
When Choptank participated in a case study, its visibility went from 40% to 62% and 90%. Choptank is also hiring fewer people to achieve higher productivity.
“How can logistics companies grow revenue without adding more people?” Matt Motsick asked the audience at FreightWaves LIVE on Wednesday.
RPA Labs is automating conversation, documentation and workflow by using robotic process automation, Motsick continued. The company has combined artificial intelligence, natural language processing, data management and a library of logistics terms to create an email bot.
This email bot automates processes without having to log in to portals. It responds to requests for full container load (FCL) shipping quotes within seconds and provides a list of options, such as rates, tracking and sailing schedule.
This agnostic automated messaging technology is also compatible with WhatsApp and text messaging.