The transportation industry has witnessed the transformative power of technology over the past several years. From electronic logging devices (ELDs) to virtual document sharing, digital tools have helped streamline operations in pretty much every segment of the industry. In an environment as hands-on as trucking, however, bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds can prove challenging.
FreightWaves chatted with Redwood Logistics Chief Product Officer Mike Reed and Chief Innovation Officer Eric Rempel about the challenges facing a once-analog industry as companies across the supply chain begin embracing technological solutions during FreightWaves’ Global Supply Chain Week.
“People want [tools] on demand. They want it to bolt onto their existing system so they don’t have to replace everything they’ve already invested in, and they want things like automatic routing, network optimization and predictive analytics,” Rempel said. “The challenge is getting those things when your rule sets and your definitions of success are different than those of another organization. At the highest level, [companies] want shipping done with a click, but beneath that great idea is a world of great complexity.”
Digital tools lose a lot of their potential usefulness when they exist in silos, unable to work alongside other solutions on the market. Recent advances in platform connectivity and distributed data networks have paved the way for more efficient collaboration, playing a crucial role in making the digital world practical and accessible.
“Over the last few years, we have witnessed the beginnings of a major digital transformation, and we will see that continue with machine learning and system integration,” Redwood Logistics Executive Vice President of Strategy Michael Johnson said. “Better system connectivity is powering how companies can share data in real time to optimize and streamline workflows. Cloud-based solutions are powering more scalable technology, allowing companies to customize their tech to the ebbs and flows of their businesses.”
The importance of high-quality technology has never been highlighted more than it was during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. While some companies were able to survive – and even thrive – during the roller-coaster market conditions seen last spring, others were left without a lifeline.
“Last year was a catalyst for more shippers, carriers and logistics companies to gravitate toward technology because it provides greater agility to respond to unanticipated market disruptions,” Johnson said. “We see disruptions on a smaller scale every single year through things like natural disasters. The pandemic has been a prime example of how technology can power a company to respond with agility when faced with significant stress on their supply chain.”
Redwood is dedicated to creating digital solutions that work in the real world, especially when the real world involves major disruptions. The company’s Rating API is one of the innovative ways Redwood accomplishes this goal. The tool automates manual tasks – allowing users to book freight in seconds and avoid unnecessary phone calls – while simultaneously helping users save money in the process.
Redwood’s Rating API is powered by real-time market indices, billions of dollars of historical data and market demand signals to ensure users are getting the most reliable pricing possible. The tool seamlessly integrates with the most popular transportation management systems (TMS) on the market, ensuring the barrier to entry is low and the solution is usable.
“We’ve seen great reception to this solution ever since the launch earlier this year,” Johnson said. “The main feedback we have received is that this tool gives planners access to real-time rates and streamline workflows. There is a lot of time and energy that goes into transportation planning. Connecting shippers to our new solution can help automate that process with confidence and a greater level of control.”
“As a company, Redwood is extremely bullish on tech advancements. Our Rating API is just one component of Redwood’s LPaaS (logistics platform-as-a-service) model, which connects its customers to the best industry solutions, services, people and technology via RedwoodConnect™” Johnson added. “We are excited about the overall impact we will see as more companies in the supply chain continue to lean towards technology that can power their business.”