This Week in Logistics News (May 13-17, 2019)

Out with the old, in the with new.

It had been almost 4.5 years since we last refreshed the Talking Logistics website, but yesterday at 3:00 pm ET, after weeks of planning and design work, Talking Logistics 3.0 came to life.

It’s more user friendly, better SEO optimized, and highlights our great content better — including our video episodes, podcasts, and sponsor channels.

Go ahead, check it out. Let us know what you think.

(It might be a little slow in loading as we continue to work on some features.)

Moving on, here’s the supply chain and logistics news that caught my attention this week:

E2open acquires Amber Road, Descartes acquires CORE Transport Technologies

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. That was certainly the case for E2open in its quest to acquire Amber Road. After an earlier offer was rejected, the two companies came to an agreement this week. The all-cash transaction is valued at approximately $425 million and Amber Road will become a privately held company once the transaction is closed, which should happen before the end of the third quarter of fiscal year 2019.

As summarized in the press release, the addition of Amber Road’s solutions will extend E2open’s portfolio with:

  • Rich trade content information services to improve sourcing decisions and lower costs;
  • Integrated trade management solutions to automate import and export processes;
  • Extensive duty deferral and free trade agreement management solutions to improve margins;
  • Comprehensive sourcing solutions for brand companies in the apparel and footwear industries; and
  • A complementary network of global trade partners with customs filing capabilities.

In general, Supply Chain Operating Networks have been predominantly focused on supply chain execution processes. E2open started on the planning side, but since late last year, the company has been expanding its supply chain execution capabilities via acquisitions. In October 2018, E2open acquired Cloud Logistics, a transportation management system (TMS) provider, and later that month it acquired INTTRA, an ocean shipping network and solution provider. The addition of Amber Road extends the company into global trade content, customs compliance, and global sourcing. Bringing all of these puzzle pieces together in a seamless and meaningful way for customers will take some time, but it’s clear that E2open is focused on broadening the scope, definition, and value proposition of Supply Chain Operating Networks.

Meanwhile, Descartes announced this week that it acquired Core Transport Technologies NZ Limited (CORE), “an electronic transportation network that provides global air carriers and ground handlers with shipment scanning and tracking solutions.” Here are some details from the press release:

CORE has been connecting commercial airlines, ground handlers and the wider logistics community with trading partners and government postal authorities around the world for more than 10 years. Customers use CORE’s network to accurately track international mail, parcel and cargo shipments as well as US domestic mail and parcel shipments. CORE’s solutions leverage mobile technologies and data analytics to help customers automate processes and increase operational efficiency.

“As US domestic and international ecommerce continues to grow, more demands are being placed on carriers and their partners to deliver efficiently and report events in real-time,” said Ken Wood, EVP of Product Management at Descartes. “The CORE acquisition complements our recent investment in Velocity Mail, helping us to better serve the logistics service provider community working with postal authorities around the world. CORE’s solutions also extend beyond mail and parcel shipment tracking, with air cargo tracking solutions that we can add to our Global Logistics Network.”

As I mentioned in my takeaways from the Descartes Evolution 2019 conference, there are a lot of niche supply chain and logistics solutions in the market and Descartes is good at finding and acquiring them.

In short, Descartes is also broadening the scope, definition, and value proposition of Supply Chain Operating Networks, especially when it comes to global freight processes and content.

FourKites and project44 enhance their solutions

FourKites introduced a new predictive analytics capability “to help customers ensure a higher percentage of on-time deliveries by anticipating potential bottlenecks and recommending course corrections.” Here are some details from the press release:

Recommendation Engine (SM) uses a combination of historical data — such as average dwell at origin facility — and real-time transit conditions — such as traffic and weather — to make proactive recommendations in real-time to mitigate potential problems before they occur.

In addition to 2.1x improvements in on-time delivery when following FourKites’   “Departure from Origin” recommendation, early users have been able to improve load planning accuracy, understand delivery risks before the load is even picked up, and reduce fees related to late reschedules, detention, and missed appointment times.

Meanwhile, project44 announced two new solutions this week too:

The Visibility Operations Center (VOC): “a newly enhanced, easy-to-use and intuitive application that provides visibility into global, multimodal transportation for all parties across the supply chain.

Network Management Center (NMC): “a fully automated, transparent and secure carrier onboarding application that rapidly connects North American and European truckload providers into the Advanced Visibility Platform.”

The rate of innovation in the freight/supply chain visibility space continues to accelerate, and so does the competitive pressure. The ultimate winners are the users of these solutions.

And with that, have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “Conversation” by Catfish and the Bottlemen