Another powerhouse FreightTech deal – TMW acquires 10-4 Systems

TMW acquires geolocation data aggregator 10-4 Systems 

Another day, another deal.

FreightTech is super-hot and no segment is hotter than freight transparency and tracking aggregation providers. The companies in this space aggregate geolocation ELDs into a single message protocol and then visually present the data into a sexy UI that is digestible into a shipper or broker TMS system. 

Today, Trimble announced that it has acquired privately held 10-4 Systems, a provider of multimodal shipment visibility applications and related technologies for shippers and transportation providers.

The acquisition expands Trimble’s portfolio of transportation management systems (TMS) to include an established cloud-based solution for small carriers as well as a shipper RFP platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Boulder, Colo., 10-4 Systems offers a platform that provides visibility at the individual shipment level to drive collaboration between shippers and carriers with dynamic ETAs and other capabilities.

“This acquisition will advance our mission to transform the way the world moves freight by providing innovative transactional, visibility, decision support and optimization solutions that benefit participants at every level of the supply chain,” said David W. Wangler, president of Trimble Transportation Enterprise. “With the addition of 10-4 Systems, Trimble will significantly enhance its ability to help the transportation industry optimize demand and capacity management and improve utilization of long-haul trucking assets.”

Gartner identified visibility as the “No. 1 supply chain initiative” based on results from its 2016 User Wants and Needs Survey. Demand for end-to-end visibility is being driven by the rise of online-only and omni-channel commerce, which is causing shippers to rethink traditional inventory positions and transportation networks.

“We are excited to bring the benefits of our advanced enterprise visibility platform to the thousands of supply chain partners that rely on Trimble’s Transportation Enterprise solutions,” said Travis Rhyan, president and CEO, 10-4 Systems. “Trimble has a clear commitment to offering leading-edge technologies and collaborative solutions that enable customers to increase efficiency, profitability and long-term competitiveness.”

Rhyan will continue to lead 10-4 Systems as executive vice president and general manager. 10-4 Systems’ business will be reported as part of Trimble’s Transportation Segment.

The 10-4 acquisition continues a trend of data visibility providers being purchased by much larger companies. Last month, Macropoint was acquired by data conglomerate Descartes Systems. FourKites looks to be the largest independent provider in the geo-aggregation space that has not been purchased. It seems to be a matter of time before that will happen, as the TMS providers expand their portfolios through acquisitions.

project44 is another one to watch. The company is positioning its API offering as a replacement for EDI transactions, although there is still a third party transaction fee that is paid to them for being the gateway. It seems the bigger opportunity is not on cost displacement, but rather the power of a single data protocol and creating actionable insights off that data. Additionally, their heavy focus on LTL and small package will not give an acquirer as deep of a reach into the truckload sector as a FourKites, Macropoint, or 10-4 will.

Traditional EDI providers would argue that regardless of whether it is EDI, API, or a blockchain transaction, shippers and brokers alike still need a data framework and partner to write the standards and protocols. 

It will be an interesting segment to watch for sure. 

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