Talking Logistics with Adrian Gonzalez: This Week in Logistics News
by Adrian Gonzalez
On the software front, Kuebix announced a free transportation management system (TMS) “for unlimited rating, booking, tracking and management of shipments across LTL, truckload and parcel carriers.”
Here are some comments from Kuebix Founder and President Dan Clark:
“At Kuebix, we believe all shippers should have the ability to rate, book and track freight directly with their carriers for free; similar to the way you can rate, book and track on Internet travel sites…Similar to how the widespread adoption of affordable smartphones changed the way we communicate and interact, a TMS that is available to all businesses and all budgets will have the same impact on the shipping community. As your smartphone has been the tool moving us into this collaborative digital era, the TMS will be that tool for the shipping world.”
This is another step toward the Software-as-a-Self-Service concept I wrote about more than seven years ago as online app stores and marketplaces started to take off. What I envisioned back then was the ability for a shipper to visit a website, enter their credit card information, go through a setup wizard, and within an hour or two be up and running with a TMS. If done right, this self-service approach would enable solution providers to reach, in a more scalable and cost-effective manner, all of those small and midsize businesses (SMBs) currently using spreadsheets and fax machines to manage their transportation operations.
As I wrote at the time, the success of Software-as-a-Self-Service is dependent on several factors, including:
- A vendor’s ability to significantly reduce cost-of-sales. Using social media for lead generation and credit cards/PayPal for payment are some approaches.
- Having a solution that is simple to activate, configure, and use. This may require vendors to re-architect their solutions. Using online videos for training and live chat for support services will also be required.
- The solution has to deliver value. Sounds obvious, but in their quest to make a solution that is simple to download and configure, a vendor may end up with a solution that is relatively useless.
- The business model has to be profitable. This one is linked to the first point, and since price points are relatively low, making money means bringing thousands and thousands of customers on board as quickly as possible.
What makes this free model even possible today? For starters, the rise and growing adoption of APIs for rating and tracking, which greatly simplifies the time and cost of customer onboarding. The rise, affordability, and scalability of cloud computing is another key factor.
Is this free solution the right fit for every company? No, just like an enterprise class TMS is not the right solution for every company either. There’s a large addressable market of shippers out there that ship almost exclusively via one mode, either less-than-truckload (LTL) or truckload, that don’t need integration with an ERP, and don’t need optimization or freight consolidation capabilities — that’s the sweet spot for this solution.
How will Kuebix make money? Via managed services and upselling to provide more enhanced functionality and integrations, if and when a shipper needs it (AscendTMS is employing a similar model in the logistics service provider space). The company also expects “tens of thousands of shippers to take advantage of this free technology, building a massive global community where Kuebix can efficiently help the industry match capacity to demand across supply chains.” Reaching that critical mass will be a challenge, but it’s a challenge worth pursuing if you believe in the power of networks and communities.
Read the original article from Talking Logistics with Adrian Gonzalez here: https://talkinglogistics.com/2017/10/27/this-week-in-logistics-news-october-23-27-2017/