I have been in the supply chain solutions space for a long time. Closing in on my 26th year, I have been fortunate to witness an ever-accelerating evolution of technology and capability. Long gone are the days of analog lines and green screens.

In today’s reality, we have seen the availability of robust, disparate data; the emergence of highly scalable ingestion engines; the advent of performant and elastic public clouds; the wider adoption of open application program interfaces (APIs); and the introduction of machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques—all creating new ways to solve problems and create resilient supply chains. In addition, we are seeing the emergence of many start-ups, app-centric solutions that provide on-point offerings, augmenting existing market capabilities.

The benefit for us as logistics practitioners is the ability to drive incremental, measurable value through the instantiation of specific use cases combining sets of innovation in interesting and creative ways. A perfect example of this is the collaboration between Blue Yonder and Loadsmart.

I had the privilege to co-present a CSCMP webinar recently called “The First Steps Toward Digital Transformation In Freight” with Hunter Yaw, VP, Product and Business Development, at Loadsmart.

Blue Yonder has long excelled in having a highly scalable and comprehensive solution that concurrently models a wide variety of constraints and dynamically optimizes executable transportation plans for some of the largest supply chains in the world. 

As a part of that capability, the solution leverages an organization’s detailed and negotiated carriers’ rates and services.  

In a world of shifting carrier capacity, it is not uncommon to have the selected negotiated carrier not be able to execute the planned move. Rather than relying on a manual intervention which consumes time, effort and often results in suboptimal, if not premium costs, enter Loadsmart offering a very fit for purpose capability that taps into the dynamic freight marketplace. 

Either through a fully automated process or a semi-automated Loadsmart button, shippers can get access to and book effective capacity.

During the webinar, Hunter and I discussed that what brings these two sets of capabilities together is the business technology world-embracing what we as consumers have been used to for quite a while: the power of an open, digital ecosystem. Think about the last app you downloaded, then think about the number of related apps it is already connected to. You are now connected to a technology ecosystem, and you did not have to lift a finger other than providing an authorization.

In this case, the Blue Yonder transportation service, called dynamic price discovery, is architected to have a robust set of open APIs (Application Program Interfaces) that allows the solution to tap into an internally or externally developed innovation. The connection to Loadsmart via the dynamic price discovery service is seamless, flexible, and drives incremental value without the disruptions of existing processes.  

Just as we experience that app connectivity on our phones, this example brings together two capabilities to drive a specific value-driven use case. Loads are optimized and covered while costs are mitigated, all without a complex timeline or lengthy implementation. That is a long way from an analog line and a green screen—and those of us in the logistics world are all the better for it.

Watch a replay of the CSCMP webinar here.