Is Google TMS a serious possibility? This we know: Google is a company on the move, making inroads into businesses far outside Internet search, and it’s well equipped to succeed. The most recent example comes in the form of Google’s attempt to assimilate another Internet goliath – Amazon. See the Wall Street Journal article about its (don’t be) ‘evil’ plan. Then join us over the fold as we imagine what a Google TMS (transportation management system) would look like.
Consider that Google already delivers numerous applications and services that it could easily repurpose as the primary building blocks of a TMS. Here’s how its existing technologies and tools correlate to the features and functionality currently available in top-tier, cloud-based TMS solutions.
Google Maps, Google Navigation, and Gmail could be strung together to build routing guides and tender loads to carriers. Google Correlate is a tool that identifies patterns related to real world trends, which I suspect would be useful at assisting route selection based on any number of specified business requirements. Bake in the SKU-level information already catalogued by Google Shopping and you have some pretty solid visibility for load building, track and trace, etc.
The web-accessibility and collaborative capabilities of Google+ and Gmail could perhaps be retooled to offer the web-based carrier portals and vendor portals we see offered by contemporary TMS solutions.
Using Google Maps, Navigation, and FeedBurner with real-time traffic information overlays – along with Google Calendar for managing pickup/delivery appointments and Google Correlate to identify patterns — a Google TMS would be able to offer a pretty robust transportation optimization tool enabling efficient load building, route planning, backhaul management and more!
Google Docs is a nifty, web-based documents tool that could easily be reimagined as a tool to produce, catalog, and store such things as bills of lading, shipping manifests, and other relevant TMS documentation.
Google Fusion Tables – used for gathering, visualizing and sharing data – could be a dynamite suite of reporting tools for BI analytics.
Google Translate and other Google Language tools would help make Google TMS a global solution, supporting international shipping as well.
View all of this against the backdrop of a supply chain management industry that embraces Big Data to derive dramatic improvements in efficiency. Then ask yourself, “How long will it be before we witness the birth of Google ERP to compete with Oracle or even Google TMS?” After all, if data (and the analytics it unleashes) is the lifeblood of business systems, then who is better situated than Google to field a world-class tool for logistics automation?
These and many, many more offerings from Google could be marshalled into the service of transportation management goals. There is certainly no shortage of algorithmic and computational power at Google to apply to rate and route optimization and the many complex business challenges leading TMS programs are called upon today to solve. Google also leads in the development of mobile technologies which are of great value to transportation. With Google already ubiquitous in the marketplace, integration with nearly any software or solution is already simplified.
Perhaps there are already some crack teams of Googlers in a room somewhere in Mountain View working on this idea. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised.
Anthony Vitiello is Director of Marketing at UltraShipTMS, where he brings 20 years of success in marketing and public relations to the position. Prior to UltraShipTMS, Mr. Vitiello held marketing leadership positions with a Fortune 500 software company, an international public relations agency serving Silicon Valley companies, and an exclusive, high net-worth wealth management firm serving professional sports figures and top energy industry executives. A published columnist and prolific blogger, Mr. Vitiello is responsible for generating and curating Ultra’s Supply Chain Collaborator blog and the company’s library of technical papers, business case studies, e-newsletters and other materials. Mr. Vitiello graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a BA in liberal arts.
This guest commentary was originally published on the UltraShipTMS blog.