September 2016 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Accurate Transit Times: The Backbone of Efficient Supply Chains

Tags: 3PL, Partnership, Logistics, Technology , Third-Party Logistics, Supply Chain

Danny Slaton, Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer, SMC3, 800-845-8090

Q: CarrierConnect® has been a crucial SMC³ product for nearly 20 years, and the company has continued to make upgrades during that time. How have customers been reacting to recently added features in CarrierConnect XL 2.0?

A: GlobalTranz was the first technology partner to integrate the new XL features, and they discovered true strategic value through the increased performance and functionality of the next-generation tool. The version 2.0 releases allow GlobalTranz and other customers the ability to receive carrier transit times by calendar date, an improvement over the earlier format's less-precise transit requests, which were not date specific. The solution has services for more than 300 carriers, and provides customers with carrier terminal operations and archival transit-time data for auditing purposes. Users access CarrierConnect XL 2.0 through our reliable, secure SMC³ cloud platform, making it easier for customers to access the entire range of SMC³ solutions. Carriers can supply standard, expedited and customer-specific services.

Q: How does it work?

A: CarrierConnect XL 2.0 is an API component that seamlessly connects with transportation management systems used by shippers and 3PLs to provide accurate, timely data. This information can be used in conjunction with SMC³'s RateWare® XL and BatchMark® XL solutions to provide customers with a reliable rating and transit-time infrastructure. Carriers provide the data that fuels CarrierConnect XL 2.0, and SMC³ has a long-standing relationship with the top LTL carriers in the industry. When schedules shift and transit-times need to be updated, they provide us with immediate feedback so our data scientists can quickly update the SMC³ cloud with the latest data.

Q: Why do shippers and 3PLs need access to CarrierConnect XL 2.0? Can't they simply look up transit times with a standard API connection to a carrier's website?

A: CarrierConnect XL 2.0 is a very fast analytical API connection that allows users to access transit-time information from myriad carriers in microseconds. Researching transit-time information by visiting a single carrier's website can take several seconds, eating up valuable resources. I don't know any shippers that only use one carrier for their entire business. Our customers use multiple carriers, and they would have to go through numerous carrier API connections to simply accumulate the data needed to make accurate decisions. CarrierConnect XL 2.0 is a simple, standardized way for our customers to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Q: Do retailers, shippers and 3PLs really need the level of transit-time and service specificity CarrierConnect XL 2.0 provides?

A: It is crucial for retailers to have access to accurate, up-to-the-minute transit time data due to planning for sales events, holidays and last-minute inventory shifts. In manufacturing, lean inventory practices, which deliver proven economic value, require highly accurate transit information to succeed. In both these sectors, misinformation regarding transit times wreaks havoc on supply chains. Transit data is not static. As transit times shift and service areas are updated, customers need a reliable source of data that delivers a standard messaging output that can be easily understood.