This Week in Logistics News (December 3-7, 2018)

Which candy is mentioned the most in songs? The answer is M&Ms. But which candy came in second?

That was the “mind twister” question the other morning on the radio. My son and I came up with a few guesses on the drive to school, but none of them were right. What’s your guess?

While you think about it (the answer is posted below), here’s the supply chain and logistics news that caught my attention this week:

project44 acquires GateHouse Logistics

In mid October, project44 (a Talking Logistics sponsor) and GateHouse Logistics announced that they had entered “into an exclusive, multinational agreement which will provide secure and authorized access to the largest visibility network across North America and Europe.” Well, it didn’t take long for that exclusive agreement to turn into an official marriage, with project44 announcing this week that it has acquired GateHouse Logistics. Here are some excerpts from the press release:

The project44 network now boasts more than 175,000 capacity providers, more than 550 telematics data partnerships and integrations with all major transportation management systems (TMS), such as SAP, Oracle and JDA. All integrations are connected via machine-to-machine communications for industry-leading data accuracy, quality and refresh speeds.

“Many global businesses – from retailers to manufacturers – are looking for ways to digitally transform their supply chains and create new business value,” said Jett McCandless, CEO and founder of project44. “We partnered with GateHouse Logistics earlier this year because they offer the largest European capacity provider network, share our commitment to high-fidelity data and have a ‘customer first’ mentality. By bringing our companies together permanently, we have created the first ever single-pane view into all our customers’ global shipments – an unmatched value.”

In related news, FourKites announced last week hat it has expanded its operations into the United Kingdom, and plans to open other offices in Europe over the next few months. According to the press release, “FourKites currently tracks loads in more than 70 countries worldwide, working with top shippers and carriers across North America, South America, Europe and Africa. The FourKites platform is now live in eight languages, with product guides in fifteen languages.”

Simply put, the real-time freight visibility market is moving beyond domestic, truck-based transportation and going multi-modal and global.

I’ll just repeat what I said back in October: This is a fast-changing market and the endgame is still not clear to me, but I expect to see more partnerships and acquisitions in the months ahead, with perhaps other network-based supply chain solution providers (such as BluJay Solutions, E2open, Elemica, Amber Road) taking out their checkbooks and bringing these freight visibility solutions directly onto their platforms.

3Gtms Releases Quick Ship Portal

In transportation management systems (TMS) news, 3Gtms (a Talking Logistics sponsor) announced this week the release of the Quick Ship Portal that “give 3PLs [third-party logistics providers] more options and flexibility for engaging their customers while keeping the user experience intuitive.” Here are some excerpts from the press release:

The Portal’s functionality delivers the robustness expected from a Tier 1 system in an easy-to-use format that allows customers to get work done faster. Key features of the Quick Ship Portal include:

  • One portal that integrates everything a 3PL customer needs, including quote requests, shipment tracking and exception searches.

  • Simple, clean screens designed for any level of user to get work done more easily, including getting a quote or executing shipments. There’s nothing to set-up or configure.

  • Built directly into 3Gtms’ 3G-TM system, the Portal uses 3G-TM rates, workflows and user logins.

  • Screens that can be customized according to a customer’s specific workflow and requirements.

  • A simple mapping screen showing shipment from origin to destination.

Back in the early days of TMS, the main users of a TMS were just a handful people in the transportation department of a shipper of 3PL. Today, however, the number of TMS users can be in the hundreds or even thousands, as people in other functional groups (such as customer service) and external trading partners (customers, suppliers) are given access to TMS functionality, typically via portals (and, increasingly, via mobile apps). When you have so many potential users, with different needs and requirements, having the ability to quickly set up and configure these portals is very important, especially for 3PLs.

And with that, have a happy weekend!

(Oh, yeah, the second most mentioned candy in songs is Skittles.)

Song of the Week: “Wrong” by Pronoun