Chicago-based project44, a technology services provider offering standardized, secure Web service API (application programming interfaces) integrations enabling 3PLs and shippers to connect with carriers in real time, said this week it has extended its Advanced Visibility Platform with two new offerings.
The Advanced Visibility Platform focuses on shipment tracking and end-to-end visibility from the start of the shipping process to delivery (and beyond), as well as automation of key transportation processes, and also eliminates gaps in real-time visibility and powers users with high-quality and trustworthy Parcel, Final Mile, Less-Than-Truckload (LTL), Volume LTL, Full Truckload, Refrigerated, Rail and Ocean data.
The new offerings for this platform include:
Logistics Management caught up with Mike Reed, Chief Strategy Officer of project44, about these additions to its Advanced Visibility Platform. A transcript follows below
Logistics Management (LM): What drove the need to add the VOC and NMC offerings?
Mike Reed: Both these applications were developed to meet our customers’ needs. We heard from them that a lack of end-to-end visibility on goods in transit across modes and geographies was preventing them from meeting their customers’ expectations. This need drove the development of our new Visibility Operations Center (VOC), which offers our customers the accurate global multimodal visibility they need to more efficiently manage resources, improve predictability, strengthen supplier-retailer collaboration and refine lead time.
For example, project44 retrieves location updates from carriers via APIs, ELD, telematics, or smartphone applications, then enriches the data and applies predictive analytics to deliver customers accurate arrival, pickup, location, ETA, and delivery information though the VOC.
ETAs in the VOC are responsive to real-time conditions so they’re predictive and accurate. Anything that has an effect, like traffic patterns, weather, or road conditions, is dynamically factored into the ETA. Customizable geo-fences are used to enhance ETA calculations and provide more exact arrival events. This gives users an up-to-date picture of when their shipments will arrive at their destination, allowing for better planning and coordination.
Regarding the Network Management Center (NMC), the success of a transportation visibility solution depends on its ability to seamlessly integrate with a customer’s unique ecosystem of global carriers. For most other solutions, carrier integration is cobbled together through cumbersome email surveys and manual phone calls which can drag on for weeks or even months. project44 has built real-time connections to thousands of carriers worldwide, including comprehensive coverage for over 550 ELD and telematics devices. To supplement our already extensive carrier network, we introduced the NMC, which simplifies and speeds carrier onboarding for a faster time to value for our customers.
LM: What are the main benefits of these offerings for customers i.e. in what ways will they help the most etc.?
Reed: The VOC lets shippers and logistics service providers track orders across modes from a single view, without having to toggle between screens, applications or dashboards.
It also enables them to segment their view based on shipment, purchase order, line item or SKU-level details. By allowing them to create specific tracking experiences, users gain the visibility needed to better manage inventory and resources.
The VOC also simplifies collaboration across teams and partners, by providing our customers with the ability to share info outside of a TMS. This is huge in a one-day delivery world, were our customers need to quickly share shipping details with others both inside and outside of their organization.
The core benefit of the NMC is simple – faster onboarding, leading to faster time-to-value for our customers. With other visibility platforms, carrier integration is a slow, manual process that significantly delays go-live for users and diminishes the ROI for the entire visibility solution.
With the NMC carriers can onboard in just a few short steps. It has been in use in the European market, where it’s been very well received, and is now coming to North America. Our initial users here are thrilled with it. To date, 50% of new carriers using the NMC were able to connect into the project44 network and initiate data sharing within hours. In addition, 80% of carriers signed up in less than ten days of being invited.
In a world where the success of a transportation visibility solution depends on the vendor’s ability to integrate with each customers’ unique ecosystem of global carriers, the NMC is a key competitive advantage for project44.
LM: What are the “next steps” for these offerings going forward?
Reed: Our immediate next step is to get the word out to our customers on these new applications, and how they help them dramatically improve shipping performance, product availability, operational efficiency and time to value.
Beyond that, we will continue to look for new ways to enhance these applications. For the VOC, this includes adding new modes for multimodal shipment visibility, more data analytics and predictability, and other supplier-retailer visibility capabilities that can help our customers further improve efficiency and create value.
With the NMC we plan to add additional languages to accelerate onboarding in other geographies. We will also carefully monitor carrier feedback to learn new ways we can further simplify and speed onboarding experiences.