Managed Transportation Service Providers Compete on their Tech Stack

When companies want to lower their transport costs, while maintaining or perhaps enhancing client service, they have 2 primary choices: execute a transportation management system (TMS) or contract out transportation to a handled services company. The handled transportation services (MTS)– companies have coordinators in a control tower utilizing a transportation management system and other technologies, who prepare and execute loads on behalf of their clients.

Ive finished a market research study and I am nearing the completion of a supplier selection guide on the managed transportation service (MTS) industry. Ive had discussions with executives throughout the market. One way these logistics company (LSP) compete is on the quality of the innovation they utilize to plan and execute loads on behalf of their shipper clients.

A TMS is Core to a Managed Transportation Platform

Handled transport company have 2 choices: develop their own transport management system or implement a best of type option from a software provider. Amongst the largest handled transportation company that go the off-the-shelf software path, Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) or Blue Yonders TMS are the options that are implemented. DHL Supply Chain, Kuehne + Nagel, and Penske Logistics utilize OTM. Ryder Supply Chain Solutions uses Blue Yonder.

Oracle Transportation Management is Used by Some of the Largest Managed Transportation Service Providers

GlobalTranz, who developed their own TMS, likewise uses this innovation. Using RPA, which they built internally, GlobalTranz has actually improved its ultramodern info and insights on rates for loads that require to be tendered to the spot market.

Nevertheless, the TMS/MTS difference can be a little difficult for these suppliers. Some customers enter into a hybrid plan where they have some planners from their business that are using the TMS option from the MTS supplier to plan particular modes or lanes. They also rely on coordinators from the managed trans provider to do the rest of the freight planning and execution.

. Sometimes, the off-the-shelf application becomes heavily modified by the MTS supplier and the option, in impact, ends up being almost exclusive. Ryder utilized a robotic procedure automation solution from Kofax to increase process speed and reassign labor associated with producing and executing transportation strategies. Robotic process automation is software application that is utilized to automate high volume, repeatable tasks. Through the application of process automation Ryder is able to personalize process and manage exceptions at a portion of the time it would require to achieve through a user interface. RPAs automate work by carrying out the very same computer keystrokes and opening the very same modules human beings do. Or in many cases, the robotics compose data right into the application database.

Amongst the huge MTS providers, the develop your own TMS is slightly more common. 4flow, BluJay Solutions, CH Robinson TMC, Odyssey Logistics & & Technology, Transplace, and XPO all built their own transportation management systems

For managed trans providers that develop their own TMS, there is the chance to develop out industry particular performance that does not exist in off-the-shelf options. Odyssey Logistics & & Technology, which is one of the marketplace leaders in providing handled trans to the chemical industry, can perform loads that adhere to the transport security plans that specific hazardous materials are needed to have. 4flow has actually integrated transportation network design and optimization to supply robust services valued in the vehicle industry.

Some of the MTS suppliers that built their own TMS option argue they are best of breed options. The truth that they have been able to sell their transportation management systems to shippers confirms that assertion.

Enhancing TMS with Best of Breed Applications and Visibility

A supply chain control tower ought to also provide visibility to imminent and prospective threats. Odyssey enhanced their platform with a COVID-19 risk map based on Johns Hopkins data. The most robust real-time risk options come from RiskMethod, Resilinc, and Resilience360. These services offer an end-to-end supply chain threat evaluation and tracking service. Resilience360 was nurtured in DHLs international Innovation Center, and after that spun off. DHL still owns a stake in the business. DHL has incorporated this into their platform and reports that about one third of their MTS customers have chosen to spend for this increased danger presence.

In some cases, the logistics provider have press releases reporting they have an innovation that has actually constructed these user interfaces to electronic logging gadgets, telematics gadgets, or carrier systems themselves. It is hard to know if they have actually taken an off-the-shelf freight tracking solution and private labeled it– given it their own service name– or if they have actually developed their own option for freight tracking.

Visibility is what turns a handled transport platform into a control tower. Solutions from FourKites, Descartes MacroPoint, and other freight tracking services, can be utilized to stream this data into the MTS providers TMS.

While TMS is the core of an MTS platform, the handled transport suppliers enhance the transport management system with other best of breed applications and near real-time visibility.

DHL likewise argues that having a platform stack that consists of securely incorporated WMS and TMS, like they do, enables them to do optimization that crosses from the warehouse to freight transportation. This presents opportunities to include nodes that might lead to better milk runs, or include extra swimming pool points for load combination, and thus deliver much better solutions.

CH Robinson TMC argues that there is a distinction in between transportation visibility and supply chain presence. With this kind of visibility, the TMC experts can end up being more than transport experts, they can become part of a carriers supply chain group.

A transport management system has a module that helps in providing the procurement analytics and workflows utilized in negotiating long term agreements with providers. Kenco did not feel this service was robust enough. They enhanced their off-the-shelf TMS with Jaggaers transportation procurement option. The reasoning behind Jaggaers procurement optimization is that instead of bidding on specific lanes, providers can bid on a basket of lanes. In some cases a provider will have the ability to provide a discount rate on one lane if they get a related lane that fits their network and therefore assists them reduce empty miles. DHL has developed their own option– D3 Transportation Optimizer– for transportation network analyses.

Advanced Analytics

GlobalTranz has actually done something comparable. They have developed a Cost Prediction Model, which they utilize to provide intelligence on rates, market patterns and to produce more vibrant info sharing between Brokers, carriers and 3pls. A fine example of this ability is their COVID-19 Rate Per Mile Heat Map. This live control panel reveals real-time modifications in spot and agreement markets throughout the top 20 COVID-19 locations in the U.S. They made this readily available to their shipper consumers to assist them make sense of the rapidly changing market during the early peaks of the pandemic.

The network data in mix with optimization likewise opens the possibility of doing collaborative transport and digital freight brokerage. This is something I discussed in a previous article and wont cover here.

Several of the providers pointed out making huge investments maker learning. CH Robinson TMC mentioned that their network information can be augmented with outdoors data like weather condition, traffic, and geopolitical occasions to more improve the ETAs.

Some of the MTS suppliers have public cloud TMS solutions that gives them presence to billions of dollars worth of freight invest that is negotiated throughout their network. Transplace, BluJay Solutions, and CH Robinson TMC all use their large networks to provide this kind of presence.

DHL is likewise doing predictive analytics. They are looking at freight capacity levels and spot market prices to predict what freight costs in the following week or weeks will be. That cost can vary based on the day of week. Knowing this, DHL can assist carriers comprehend what sort of savings they might create by changing their shipping schedule. Freight rate forecasts can also be based upon seasonality and whether transit times are falling or rising on a lane. DHL is in the early phases of this work, but they tell me they are getting appealing preliminary results.


Handled transport service companies have 2 options: construct their own transportation management system or execute a finest of breed option from a software provider. Among the largest managed transport service providers that go the off-the-shelf software path, Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) or Blue Yonders TMS are the solutions that are implemented. Ryder utilized a robotic process automation solution from Kofax to increase process speed and reassign labor associated with producing and executing transportation plans. 4flow has actually integrated transport network style and optimization to offer robust services valued in the automotive industry.

There is a lot happening on the innovation front. The technological advances that have happened in just the previous few years are excellent. My colleague Chris Cunnane is upgrading ARCs research on the ROI and service benefits related to handled trans. It will be interesting to see if the improvements to the tech stack result in improvements in the ROI produced by these services.

DHL has actually constructed their own option– D3 Transportation Optimizer– for transport network analyses.


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