project44 rolls out new truckload visibility offering
Chicago-based project44 said today it has introduced a new truckload visibility offering, which is designed to enable a smarter information flow across shippers’ supply chains.
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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 today it has introduced a new truckload visibility offering, which is designed to enable a smarter information flow across shippers’ supply chains.
This rollout, in a way, serves as a response to shippers not being able to achieve full end-to-end supply chain visibility, due to not having access to the right information, in the right format, at the right time, the company explained, which, in turn has a negative effect on meeting customer expectations and competitiveness.
“From the top, we are focused on digitalization transformation and this offering is one of the pieces that we think any shipper or 3PL needs in order to go through a digitalization transformation,” said Jett McCandless, project44 co-founder and CEO in an interview. “The building blocks for everything we use are APIs. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what APIs are. All they are is a communication layer that enables things like digital transformation, blockchain, Internet of Thing, and others. Some people think blockchain competes with API, but API is just communication.”
With that as a background, McCandless said that project44’s truckload visibility offering is the first and only one that is API-driven. He acknowledged that there are other market players that have a truckload visibility product, but many of them work off of legacy technology or are manually batched once a day. What separates this new project44 offering from the competition, he said, is real-time connectivity.
As for the primary benefits of the new truckload visibility offering, project44 said that it increases information symmetry by eliminating the visibility gaps from the point at which a shipment is tendered until it arrives at its final destination. And rather than just tracking a vehicles current and past locations, it noted that this offering leverages what it calls “high fidelity information to create actionable insights” and provide shippers with sophisticated equipment to identify and respond to exceptions.
Also included in this new offering are REST API endpoints, which are used for full automation and integration into a proprietary or third-party TMS and a state-of-the-art, secure shipment Web portal interface, which, project44 said, can be used separately or combined for a complete shipment visibility experience.
There are four different ways for shippers and 3PLs to have truckload visibility, and McCandless said this new offering has three of them, including:
- driver mobile phones on every U.S. wireless carrier;
- deep integrations with every major ELD vendor, including PeopleNet Omnitracs, and Rand McNally, among others; and
- deep API-level integrations with top truckload carriers such as Schneider, Werner, Knight CRST, and Covenant, among others
The fourth way, he noted, is referred to as app tracking, explaining that proejct44 does not participate in that for various reasons.
“There are companies like Macropoint or FourKites that have app tracking but don’t have ELD or direct carrier APIs, but their goals are different than ours, in that they want to capture capacity and create marketplaces to really compete with the people that helped get them the access,” he said. “Once they start getting drivers to interact with their app, they are able to seal that capacity over to their larger goals. We believe that drivers are ‘apped out’ so then the quality of tracking with apps is not any better and we stay clear of it.”
McCandless said that project44 is the only logistics technology provider with direct APIs for large truckload carriers, noting that the major ELD technology providers, including PeopleNet, Omnitracs and others, have said project44 is the first company to ever have an ELD with them that is authorized and certified.
“If you think about it, tracking a truck on a map is not all that interesting,” he said. “What our enterprise customers want to know is if there is an exception, and, if so, what their options are. And we are able to do that through geo fencing for origin and destination for a shipper and consignee. We also have a time-based share-tracking, whereas other companies have mileage-based tracking. This makes a big difference, because in a place like Los Angeles ten miles means an hour and in Des Moines, it means 11 minutes. “
McCandless said project44 has some customers already on-boarded with the new truckload visibility offering.
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman