Tech trends: New tools add supply chain visibility, planning

Mesilla Valley Transport is using a service from Velociti to manage its technology maintenance.Mesilla Valley Transport is using a service from Velociti to manage its technology maintenance.

Technology news hit the wire this last week that shows demand for products that digitally connect carriers with freight brokers and shippers continues to be high. Other items of note are new updates from routing software to help fleets better plan, execute and analyze their operations to maximize efficiency.

Freight connectivity

Supply chain software company SAP plans to offer shipment connectivity and tracking with project44. Visibility data from project44, a company that ingests, cleanses and normalizes data from a wide network of global carriers, will be added to the SAP Logistics Business Network project44.

“We want to provide shippers with access to real-time information that pinpoints their shipments’ location at all times and provides dynamic, predictive delivery ETAs,” said Franz Hero, senior vice president, Supply Chain Development, SAP.

Another supply chain integration of note is from J.B. Hunt Transport Services. The logistics arm of J.B. Hunt will integrate JDA’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) Platform with its J.B. Hunt 360° digital freight matching platform. The intent is to give customers greater pricing visibility and access to available capacity using JDA Transportation Management.

Digital freight marketplace NEXT Trucking added a chassis management system for shippers and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) to reduce costs associated with the utilization of port chassis in the Los Angeles ports.

Much of the complexity in chassis management comes from “free chassis” agreements between shippers and steamship lines. A shortage of port chassis during high volume periods often results in containers being stuck in the port and drivers stuck in detention.

“With Chassis Management, we will drastically improve our understanding of chassis ‘free days’ agreements and define cost-saving scenarios for shippers, measuring factors such as season, congestion, and terminals,” said Lidia Yan, co-founder and CEO of NEXT Trucking.

Routing software

Route optimization software provider Paragon Software Systems has launched its route optimization software on the Geotab Marketplace. Fleet managers who are already creating routes using Paragon can now view vehicle data from Geotab’s telematics system within Paragon’s Route Execution Software to see, in real time, when routes deviate from the plan.

Omnitracs has released a new cloud-based product, Omnitracs Strategic Planner, to give its customers a better alternative to analyze, modify and optimize their fleet operations.

“Omnitracs’ customers face enormous pressure to meet the dynamic demands of today’s consumers,’’ said Paul Nagy, chief product officer at Omnitracs. “Using Omnitracs Strategic Planner, fleet managers for the first time, can compare and experiment with various what-if planning scenarios to balance capacity, reduce delivery costs, and best meet their customers’ needs.”

Another routing update came from TruckPark, a digital truck parking platform for truck drivers to find, reserve and pay for guaranteed safe parking. The company is partnering with Dock411 to increase the visibility of parking locations and availability.

Of course, any technology that is deployed an assets needs ongoing maintenance, which is why Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) announced it will be using VeloCare, a proactive technology monitoring and repair service from Velociti. At MVT, VeloCare will support 5,000 trailers with GPS tracking and automatic tire inflation systems, as well as in-cab video, ELDs and tablets on 1,300 tractors.

“We have used Velociti for deployments and upgrades on things like tire pressure monitoring and trailer tracking systems for years and we know we can count on them,” said Royal Jones, president and CEO of Mesilla Valley Transportation. “With VeloCare they will be monitoring a number of systems and technologies on our tractors and trailers and will quickly send someone to repair them if needed anywhere in the country.”