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LTL Data Utilizing Freight APIs

Great strides have been made to bring supply chains into the digital age. Many leading shippers and 3PLs have capitalized on TMS and LTL freight API developments, recognizing that automation can lead to greater efficiency, cost savings, and visibility.

Much progress has been made to digitize supply chains. Technology advancements like transportation management systems (TMS) and LTL freight APIs (application programming interfaces) automatically connect with carriers and open doors to digitize the shipment lifecycle from quote to delivery. Some of the largest, most innovative shippers and 3PLs have adopted these technologies and learned that automating the LTL shipment lifecycle pays off in greater efficiency, cost savings, and transparency.

Good news! LTL APIs aren’t just for industry giants. Small to mid-sized companies can benefit from the power of LTL API connectivity to access data and information, which enables improved decision-making and transparency in the shipment lifecycle. By integrating with a TMS or using a cloud-based web tool (like SMC³’s LTL GO solution), shippers and 3PLs of any size can have powerful LTL data right at their fingertips.

They can receive LTL quotes, self-assign PRO numbers, leverage electronic bills of lading (eBOL), digitally schedule pickups, monitor shipments via real-time messaging, and view and download shipment documents. Easy, digital access to this information eliminates gaps in shipment visibility, automates time-consuming manual processes, and enables redeployment of resources.

How LTL APIs Work

Specifically, SMC3’s LTL APIs provide a single source for LTL pricing and transit information. All shipment information is stored in one location, with a common digital format, that makes freight processes secure, fast, and customer-centric. But it goes beyond simple connectivity to service orchestration. Every step in the freight workflow—from pickup to in-transit to at-terminal and out-for-delivery—is automatically monitored.

The SMC3 platform provides shippers and 3PLs with APIs for analytics, execution, and visibility through a secure private cloud. Today, these advanced APIs handle more than 50 million LTL transactions daily. Summarily, LTL API provides three top-line benefits: quality and cost control, visibility into the entire shipment lifecycle, and easy retrieval and auditing of shipment documents.

API Benefits for Carriers

LTL APIs bring digital efficiency and order to managing and communicating with customers through all stages of the shipment lifecycle. From LTL rating to execution to tracking and audit; carriers communicate with shippers and 3PLs in real-time, offering frictionless connectivity. They eliminate manual processes for all transportation stakeholders and allow resources to return focus to revenue-generating activities.

In the end, carriers using freight APIs to automate and streamline price benchmarking, bid management, rating, transit time fewer customer inquiries, service orchestration, and automated delivery notifications. This can result in better visibility, enhanced efficiency, less network traffic, and faster payment for carriers.

APIs in the Real World

TMS provider MercuryGate recently partnered with SMC3’s APIs to automate many time-consuming and tedious manual processes that LTL shippers and 3PLs must perform. They needed a communication solution to improve workflow automation, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency while providing real-time carrier capacity insights and facilitating smooth integration with existing systems.

Accelerating the Digitization Journey

Digitizing the shipment lifecycle incrementally moves the LTL industry out of the past. The recent eBOLs standard being brought from concept to full reality was the beginning. The next step on the digitization journey is accelerating  LTL shippers and 3PLs to retire more manual processes by using APIs to digitally manage the shipment lifecycle from beginning to end – from pricing to execution to tracking to document.

As a founding member of the Digital LTL Council, sponsored by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, SMC3 is working to make that happen. The Digital LTL Council recently announced a new initiative to develop a complete API roadmap for all LTL shipment data. The end goal being to enable shippers, carriers, and 3PLs to perform all LTL processes digitally.

Article Topics

SMC3 News & Resources

Risk Management in Uncertain Times with Dynamic Freight Pricing
Freight Embargos and Why Carriers Set Them
LTL Data Utilizing Freight APIs
SMC3 EDI & API Messaging
How a 3PL Ran Smarter, High-Quality Bid Events with SMC3’s Transportation Procurement Solution
Bridging the Less-than-Truckload Expertise Gap with Online Education & Learning
SMC3 opens up registration for LTL educational certification
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SMC³ is the one-stop knowledge hub for less than truckload technology, data and education. The API-powered SMC³ Platform delivers unrivaled LTL analytical capabilities and shipment visibility data. Best known for its trusted CzarLite®, RateWare® and CarrierConnect® rating and transit solutions, SMC3 also delivers industry leading direct-to-carrier LTL APIs.

View SMC3 company profile


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