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Shipment visibility, dynamic pricing with APIs

The broker-driven industry needs tech help to match cargoes with space and for visibility.

Transportation and logistics services providers need to keep pace with global supply chain disruptions in the wake of the pandemic. Chiefly, we develop API-based micro services for them, which they can use for their internal customers and external parties. The APIs enable participants across the value chain to raise queries about orders, brokerage and last-mile information of shipments that allow their downstream partners to pick up cargoes and make deliveries to stores or end-customers.

T&L companies that deploy such APIs find them useful in reducing costs because they allow them to process multiple queries from customers faster than they could do earlier. They are able to field queries such as those on last-mile shipment status, which depend on numerous touch points. For example, a typical shipment that Amazon handles would move from the shipper’s warehouse to various hubs and further on to local delivery points before they reach the end-customer. APIs enable T&L companies obtain and provide information on those movements in real time.

Pricing advantages also flow from those technology investments for T&L companies. Intermediaries that broker space on trucks, for instance, typically do not have assets such as trucks, but match goods volumes and other specifications with the available transportation or warehousing space. They need to bring speed in responding to market needs with new service offerings, which calls for dynamic pricing models that change almost by the hour every day. The beneficiaries of those would be sellers on Amazon or eBay.

Partner integration is critical also in areas relating to submission of EDI documents pertaining to orders, invoices and acknowledgement, tracking processing times and the carriers that will pick up orders. Those technological platforms help reduce time to market, overheads involved in coordination and transaction processing. We also help T&L companies expeditiously and seamlessly modernize their operations and migrate from old integration platforms to new, especially to facilitate onboarding of partners with minimal lead times.

In that setting, T&L companies need developer portals that their external partners could visit and search for APIs, and then start using them. The speed at which shippers can physically distribute their products is reflected in pricing changes, and here is where API portals help T&L companies offer dynamic pricing.

Much of that was not a mainstream need for T&L companies until five-six years ago. But the speed with which e-commerce has evolved, and the COVID disruptions, have made it impossible for companies to function without a cohesive e-commerce strategy.

In the foreseeable future, the number of technology-based disruptors at a local distribution level, and on a global distribution scale, will be greater than ever before. Asset-based businesses have numerous non-asset-based brokers. The brokerage war will be won by those who have the best grasp of the API technology space.

Digital wings for e-commerce boom

The transition to a real-time economy means supply chains need to get more efficient.

With the massive growth in e-commerce, multi-national as well as national companies are sourcing, manufacturing and distributing their products and services on a global scale. Also, consumers are fast adopting the concept of omnichannel shopping as the lines between the physical and the digital environment blur.

While transportation largely refers to the movement of entities from one location to another, logistics refers to a broader scheme of things related to flow management that involve planning, implementing, and controlling procedures necessary for efficient transportation and storage.

As we transition to a real-time economy, digitalization of supply chains is an imperative to achieve high speed and efficiency, and to eliminate bottlenecks in a globally connected network.

Technology advancements are transforming processes and practices to achieve high efficiency, and bringing enhanced customer experience to the fore. Different digital solutions are now used to accelerate asset utilization and offer real-time visibility into different processes across the supply chain. These solutions are powered by data analytics, business intelligence, and automation.

Transport and logistics management solutions can be classified into segments including warehouse management, fleet management, consignment management, contract management, and order management solutions.

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