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API Technology Leads to Logistics Innovations

API technology logistics innovations

In a world of fast-paced change, customer demands are forcing supply chains to adapt and use innovation to drive performance improvements, or else risk competitive threats. Logistics managers at small to midsized businesses (SMBs) are left wondering if it is possible to achieve higher productivity levels and deliver better customer service at a lower cost, faster than their competition, especially given the resources (or lack thereof) that they have available to them. At C.H. Robinson, we’ve invested to ensure innovation continues to happen at an accelerated rate—particularly as it pertains to TMS technology for these businesses.

TMS innovation is sorely needed in the SMB market, where the person handling transportation activities might also be handling the accounting, customer service, and marketing. In July C.H. Robinson introduced Freightview®, a neutral, cloud-based TMS software platform for SMBs. Before the launch, Freightview’s team had many conversations with SMBs, who overwhelmingly said that it takes too long to log into multiple carrier websites to obtain quotes and transit times, select the right carrier, and set up a shipment. These businesses wanted to maintain control of their carrier relationships, but speed up the process.

When a shipper adopts Freightview as their TMS platform, they maintain direct relationships with their less than truckload (LTL) providers, while being able to compare shipment costs, transit times, and service levels. In addition, Freightview eliminates the need to repeatedly log into multiple LTL carrier websites.

Freightview utilizes a patent pending Application Program Interface (API) workflow process. While APIs don’t get much press today, they allow cloud-based systems to talk with each other. In this case, API eliminates the need for SMB shippers to keep carrier rates on hand, or for costly and labor-intensive electronic data interchange (EDI) setups.

In this new era of cloud based applications, APIs are the standard protocol that allow computing systems to interact with one another, thus allowing businesses to exchange information faster and easier. A recent article published by American Shipper highlights how new and emerging companies like Freightview are at the forefront of a movement to transition the transportation industry from EDI to web services API.

What we are witnessing today is a technological awakening. In the world as we’ve known it, computer systems have been built with walls around them, locking other systems out. Now, some of the walls are being replaced with windows, allowing people to peek through for the first time. Freightview becomes the channel that drives communications back and forth with a shipper’s LTL carriers through these windows via API.

As we all know, time is money. Freightview estimates a savings of four minutes per shipment by streamlining booking in a single application, versus going to multiple LTL carrier websites to retrieve and compare individual LTL quotes.  However, I think the value is bigger than time, and that’s saying a lot. Freightview enhances decision making and drives savings opportunities by putting all your critical information in one place. Don’t believe me? Try the 30 day free trial. I’ll bet that signing up will be the best use of your time in a long while.

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