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Reimagining the TMS for the Age of E-Commerce

DC Velocity, February 10, 2021

Ben Ames

In the interconnected supply chain world, it’s probably no surprise that the pandemic-fueled e-commerce boom in the U.S. has roiled the transportation market as well, leading to a surge in parcel volumes, a tightening in truck capacity, and rising package rates, to name just a few of the effects.

TMS developers say the key to managing those challenges is improved visibility, which is “built” by collecting data at every step of the transportation and delivery process – typically through tools like electronic logging devices (ELDs) on trucks, internet of things (IoT), sensors on pallets, and digitalized paperwork such as bills of lading.

“Amazon has changed the way we all expect [logistics] to be done,” says Dan Clark, founder of TMS developer Kuebix and vice president of product innovation and strategy for Trimble Inc., which acquired Kuebix in 2020. “A lot of money has been invested in visibility in recent years, and now we’ve got to put visibility on steroids to meet what customers expect to happen.”

That visibility is key to allowing shippers to deploy their TMS platforms in new ways, like tracking freight across multiple modes, building application programming interfaces (APIs) with regional parcel carriers, or consolidating packages for delivery to a carrier’s regional hub as part of a “zone-skipping” strategy, says Mike Doyle, Kuebix’s vice president of product management.

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