Transfix has released a transportation management system (TMS) for small and midsize shippers, continuing a trend in which digital freight brokers expand their reach with software targeting carriers and shippers that have yet to adopt modern technology platforms.
Because legacy TMS systems are designed for enterprise operations, around 90% of small and midsize shippers still rely on highly manual tools like spreadsheets and email to manage their freight, Shane Duncan, Transfix VP of Shipper Solutions, told FreightWaves.
Built to address specific pain points — few resources, little data — the TrueView TMS allows these shippers to secure capacity, streamline tender management and automate carrier communications, all in a matter of clicks.
Ticking off some of the broader benefits, Duncan said TrueView provides customers immediate time savings, “so they can focus on value-added revenue-producing activities.”
Plus, with the data unleashed through digitization, customers can gain organization-wide visibility and insight into freight operations. And with the pandemic intensifying workloads, businesses can use the TMS to manage growth and freight spend more efficiently. “It allows you to scale,” Duncan observed.
From big to small
Founded in 2013, New York City-based Transfix — rumored to be the target of a SPAC merger — is best known for its digital freight marketplace, which automates the matching, pricing and tracking of truckload shipments. The offering targets large shippers.
But in keeping with its broader vision to create a fully connected freight ecosystem, the company is now rolling out software that provides automation, reporting and visibility capabilities to smaller customers.
In early October, for example, Transfix released Fleet Planner, a web-based management tool designed for small and midsize carriers.
Duncan said Transfix’s new software products focus on “that long tail of small to medium customers,” who have “looked at enterprise solutions” and found them “cost prohibitive.”
Transfix’s evolution mirrors that of other digital brokerages that got their start building freight-matching technology for larger Fortune 500 customers and are now showing interest in smaller businesses as a way of broadening their networks in a hugely competitive marketplace.
Notably, Uber Freight released a shipper platform for small to midsize customers in August 2018, and C.H. Robinson (NASDAQ: CHRW) released a web portal for that category offering multimodal transportation solutions in November 2019.
The TrueView release comes as surging e-commerce demand has heightened freight market volatility and delivery pressures for shippers. The TMS provides several options for securing coverage, in some cases integrating with the Transfix marketplace offering to drive efficiencies.
The system’s direct tender capabilities allow shippers to quickly pick a carrier of choice; instant booking and quotes, powered by the Transfix marketplace; and enhanced spot auction system to collect and accept bids — within minutes, not hours, Transfix asserts.
Those capabilities feed into broader analytics opportunities.
Noting “there are fingerprints on a load as it moves from order to cash,” Duncan said whether it’s financial information or carrier performance metrics like on-time pickup and delivery, shippers can leverage that data to keep an eye on their freight operations while optimizing performance.
While TrueView’s initial launch targets small and midsize shippers, Duncan said the product road map is to eventually expand to larger businesses.
Duncan declined to comment on reports that Transfix may be the reverse merger target of Tuscan Holdings Corp. II (NASDAQ: THCA).
“We’re a high-growth company, and we’re consistently evaluating options that support a path to scale the business,” he said. “But right now we have no news to confirm.”
Transfix was last valued at $800 million, according to PitchBook.