Logistics technology has made huge strides in the last 8 to 10 years. Once thought of as an industry that always lagged in the adoption of technology – both shippers and service providers now have access to applications that can transform the way they run their business.
This is a topic we’ve written about a lot on this blog. Throughout this post, we’ve linked back to several of them.
Not so long ago, that was not the case for several reasons. For one, the technology that did exist was really expensive. The term logistics technology was synonymous with TMS (Transportation Management System) or WMS (Warehouse Management System) – with these usually just being a module within a huge ERP system. The advent of smaller, more easily implemented SaaS based solutions has changed this for companies of all sizes and made many types of #logtech infinitely more accessible.
A second reason is that there are many specialized applications that satisfy a more narrow range of functions. This has enabled companies to build their own “Logistics Technology Stack”, which combine technology from different providers to create a customized solution. The benefit here is that this stack serves a company’s needs better than a more expansive software that may do a lot, but not not any one thing all that well. These new types of solutions are made possible by using applications that help facilitate data interoperability and make the experience seamless for users – who can then “cherry pick” the solutions they want.
Freight rate and contract management is a great example of a process within shippers and service provider’s operations that can benefit from specialized technology.
Take a freight forwarder – most rely on technology (such as Cargowise One) to manage many parts of their business operations. Our platform, QMS, integrates with Cargowise so that the ocean rates and contracts managed in QMS can be accessed seamlessly in Cargowise. Similar examples also include rate sharing that is possible between QMS and 7L for air freight rates, and a similar connection for pulling in LTL rates from Banyan Technologies.
The point is this – companies are no longer beholden to large TMS or other types of technology platforms that try to be everything to everyone. Functions like ocean rate and contract management are highly specialized and have NOTHING in common with other modes like Truckload. And like it or not, there is no one system that does everything all that well.
Taking advantage of the web services and APIs provided by different types of technologies allows both shippers and logistics services providers to build a combination of logistics applications that do exactly what they need it to do. This makes for a better solution for users, while keeping costs low.