Most large shippers either use or are in the process of developing Web portals that enable carriers to manually exchange EDI transactions, according to analyst firm ARC Advisory Group. Many carriers that already have EDI systems have automated load tendering from shippers for contracted loads, but they still have to monitor shippers’ websites to grab non-contracted loads to move on their own fleet or to broker out to other carriers.
“Only one of our EDI customers posts loads on a website, and these loads are available for low bidding,” says Kenny Cornett, vice president of operations for D&D Sexton Inc., a refrigerated truckload carrier based in Carthage, Mo. “All others are EDI offer, a phone call or email offer when we are not primary or secondary on a lane.”
Regardless of fleet size and technology sophistication, manually searching for loads is a tedious process. The only competitive advantage is the speed of your mouse–until now.
Intelek Technologies plans to release StripMiner, a new electronic data interchange (EDI) load automation tool that gathers new EDI loads from multiple trading partner websites, saving fleets time and money, the company says. The time and labor savings gained by using StripMiner will of course depend on the number of websites a carrier has to monitor.
“The problem right now is that carriers have people sitting in front of a machine, hitting the refresh button looking for new loads,” says David McCarty, marketing director of Intelek Technologies. “It is very human and time intensive.”
One large trucking company that has been beta testing StripMiner, McCarty says, is using 20 people to monitor 12 websites each day.
StripMiner works by logging into secure sites and checking back at regular intervals to “scrape” load information in HTTP code from a website and translate it into EDI transactions. The tool identifies loads according to pre-defined business rules and criteria – such as length of haul, origin, destination, etc. – that a fleet sets up in the software, McCarty says.
When StripMiner finds a load that meets the carrier’s criteria, it pulls the load tender into the carrier’s dispatch system automatically. If a load meets all criteria, for example, it will automatically accept the load by generating a load acceptance (204) transaction. If the load meets some – but not all – criteria, it will generate a 204 to a carrier’s dispatcher, load planner or customer service representative to review.
StripMiner integrates with DiamondMine EDI, by Intelek Technologies, and other EDI translation software to process, track loads and communicate directly with carriers’ enterprise software.
After over six months of development and testing, StripMiner is available now in a limited beta release, and is set for public release in November, he says. For more information, visit www.diamondmineedi.com/stripminer or call 1-800-353-3696.