Echo Global Logistics rolls out FlexTMS
February 08, 2011
Echo Global Logistics, a non-asset based freight brokerage company and a provider of technology-enabled transportation and supply chain management services, recently introduced a new, self-service Transportation Management System (TMS).
Entitled Flex TMS, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) application provides shippers with integrated managed services, according to Echo. The company said that it provides shippers with a customized, cost-effective solution which includes routing guide management, automated load entry, tendering and acceptance, load visibility with customized reporting and analytics to assist with freight management.
In an interview with LM, Echo CEO Doug Waggoner explained that Echo’s enterprise business, which is primarily comprised of contractual transportation management, have centered on deals single-source deals exclusive to Echo, with Echo providing shippers with technology services, staff, and management of processes, RFPs, and carriers and act like a shipper’s transportation department.
“Along the way we have realized that dealing with larger shippers, particularly in the truckload space and intermodal, already have a sizeable investment in their process for things like staff, carrier relations, and negotiated pricing, among others,” said Waggoner. “What we heard from our customers was that they like what we offer but they don’t want to let go of what they have…and disrupt our existing carrier relationships, but they like our technology and want to improve their process and automate it as much as possible.”
This led to a shift by Echo to take their existing technology and modify it to a cloud-based, SaaS TMS that would enable a shipper to load its transportation processes and data into Echo’s IT platform and subsequently have Echo manage it for them.
Waggoner described this shift as going from Echo’s single-source enterprise solution to a multi-source solution.
“We’d still like to participate in the freight handling for some portion of the shipments, but we are going to give our customer technology that they can manage all of their shipments with, regardless of whether Echo gets the shipment or not,” said Waggoner. “And they get all the benefits that go with that. In cases when companies do not need us to act as their transportation department, they are still asking for the technology we provide and this is how we can do that.”
The FlexTMS also helps shippers with automating time-consuming processes and providing shippers with greater visibility to the entire transportation management function while also continuing existing carrier relationships.
When asked to cite an example of how FlexTMS helps with automating processes, Waggoner cited how a large truckload shipper who has created a routing guide will run an RFP process with asset-based carriers and a few brokers. The routing guide would note that in any given lane there are a certain number of carriers that the shipper has pre-screened and pre-selected capabilities and pricing. And as the shipper gets shipments in that lane, the shipper will use the top carriers in the routing guide.
“Depending on the number of shipments there are, that process can be quite time-consuming, with shippers calling carriers on a daily basis to see if they have capacity for lanes they bid on,” said Waggoner. “We automate that whole process and load that routing guide into our system, which pings carriers telling them about an available load and the carrier can bid on that lane if they want the load. If the carrier says no, then the system goes to the next carrier on the list and offers the load to them.”
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