The holy grail of freight shipping – whether via less than truckload, ocean or air – is real-time shipment visibility. Through use of transactional, direct-to-carrier APIs, shippers and other companies are linking up with carrier partners to achieve this goal.
When shippers connect to multiple carriers using API messaging, they may be able to access the raw data pertaining to each shipment, but they also quickly run into issues.
“Now it’s really easy to get data overload,” according to Brian Thompson, chief commercial officer at SMC³. “While technology has expanded so that even the little guys have access to tremendous amounts of data, now they have the same problems that the big guys used to have.”
The trick, he said during an interview with MercuryGate’s John Martin on “Talking Logistics with Adrian Gonzalez,” is to find a technology provider that can point these shippers to the bits and pieces of data that can drive efficiencies in their supply chain and optimize their logistics processes.
As Thompson succinctly put it: “How do I take that data, siphon through it and turn that data into information?”
While SMC³ is primarily focused on LTL shipping, Thompson said many of the same visibility issues can be seen across all modes.
There are partners in the marketplace to help with the process to set up and manage API integrations, standardize the carrier messaging, he said. Clients need to do their homework first to make sure they select a provider that both fits their needs and is a stable, reliable, integral part of the supply chain industry. Most of all, though, this provider needs to treat each customer’s data with care.
“They’ve got complete, unfettered access to your very private, confidential business information and data,” he said. “Make sure they treat your data as your property, and not their product. Make sure they have your best interests at heart.”
Martin added that shippers need to make sure they pick a provider that’s in it for the long haul.
“If I’m looking for a solution, then I do want to find a solution that I can grow and scale with,” he said. “I don’t want to do that every several years, so I want to select a provider that has experience, expertise, financial strength, the ability to scale.”
Watch the entire interview here: Talking Logistics
SMC³ LTL freight industry technology delivers proven solutions to address less-than-truckload’s toughest challenges. Learn how these solutions can benefit your organization by visiting our knowledge hub here.