Freight.Tech 25: McLeod Software innovates in an ERP vertical where companies still use AS400 green screens

 Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Though technology has made definitive inroads over the years in the trucking industry, little has changed within the ERP software vertical, as even the largest carriers run their operations through green screen technology from the 1980s. McLeod Software is at the brink of technology disruption, helping carriers, brokers, and 3PLs to move from the archaic AS400 green screens to a more cutting-edge ERP solution - which succinctly encapsulates its standing on the Freight.Tech 25 at #14, and as the only transportation ERP supplier to be named in the list.

McLeod Software provides a full-blown ERP system that includes financial management billing settlements, financial and operations dispatch - servicing the whole spectrum of what lies within the core business of companies in the trucking ecosystem.

“We have been growing at a compound annual growth rate of greater than 20%, for the eighth year in a row,” said Mark Cubine, the VP of Marketing at McLeod Software. “Our growth has largely been fueled by the need for technology adoption and specifically those technologies that help our customers - the transportation providers - improve their internal efficiencies, with things like business process automation, business intelligence analytics, and insight.”

McLeod Software is clear on its niche, understanding that the value it creates has a very short time span for customers, and that there aren’t any go-off-and-buy-toolkit available in the transportation market. Its solution is geared to help transportation providers, as it can automate business processes and thus make personnel more effective.

“The second half of our solution is about advanced analytics, key performance indicators, and reporting business intelligence,” said Cubine. “The big deal here is that it informs not only strategic decisions from those companies, but it also has great tactical applications, as we can push information that influences decisions - be it for a salesperson, customer service rep, planner, driver manager, or finance professional.”

McLeod Software accounts for over 900 customers at present, split between companies that are asset-based transportation providers, trucking companies, non-asset brokers, and 3PLs. “In terms of growth, the thing that is really driving customers to us is the un-integrated nature of the architectures that most of these transportation providers have,” said Cubine.

“What I mean is that they may have one dispatch system from a supplier, another system for financials, and another system for CRM and so on - basically, different set architecture. But what we have is one integrated system that addresses all these things, which is a pretty revolutionary jump for our customers.”

McLeod Software makes a vital difference to operations, as companies can switch from having a system that is stitched together with systems from several vendors to a single integrated system - a solution that cuts parallel with what SAP envisioned a couple of decades back.

Cubine outlined the initiatives for new families of products that McLeod Software is working on. “First is the digital freight matching initiative which is important to our customers. We are looking to see what we can do to automate the freight matching process to the highest possible extent,” he said. “Another big one is our data science initiative, which is to build on what we’ve already done in terms of pushing informative analysis to the point of decision. The third area is what we call STAAC - our acronym for Smart Tractor as a Client.”

The STAAC initiative is about integrating McLeod’s TMS systems directly into smart tractors. This would let the tractor literally become another client in the home office system of a McLeod customer, thus increasing interactivity and improving capability as the industry progresses towards autonomous tractors. “We believe this is a huge opportunity for us to deliver far more value to change the drivers’ experience and to push a lot of intelligent automation from the home office to the driver,” said Cubine.

McLeod envisions a future where drivers might no longer be in the cab, and the level of automation between the home office and the tractor would be vastly stronger than what has been achieved today. And so the company marches on, designing a system that could gel with such futuristic technology, while firmly planting itself at the forefront of the ERP vertical.