Freight APIs Put the Power of LTL Data at the Industry’s Fingertips
LTL freight APIs (application programming interfaces) aren’t just for industry giants. Small to mid-sized companies can benefit from the power of LTL API connectivity.
Technology advancements like transportation management systems (TMS) and LTL freight APIs (application programming interfaces) open doors to digitize the shipment lifecycle from quote to delivery.
Some of the largest, most innovative shippers and 3PLs have adopted these technologies and learned automating the LTL shipment lifecycle pays off in greater efficiency, cost savings, and transparency.
Good news! LTL APIs aren’t just for industry giants. Small to mid-sized companies can benefit from the power of LTL API connectivity to access data and information, which enables improved decision-making and transparency in the shipment lifecycle. By integrating with a TMS or using a cloud-based web tool (like SMC³’s LTL GO solution), shippers and 3PLs of any size can have powerful LTL data right at their fingertips.
They can receive LTL quotes, self-assign PRO numbers, leverage electronic bills of lading (eBOL), digitally schedule pickups, monitor shipments via real-time messaging, and view and download shipment documents. Easy, digital access to this information eliminates gaps in shipment visibility, automates time-consuming manual processes, and enables redeployment of resources.
How LTL APIs Work
Specifically, SMC³’s LTL APIs provide a single source for LTL pricing and transit information. All shipment information is stored in one location, with a common digital format, that makes freight processes secure, fast, and customer-centric. But it goes beyond simple connectivity to service orchestration. Every step in the freight workflow—from pickup to in-transit to at-terminal and out-for-delivery—is automatically monitored.
The SMC³ platform provides shippers and 3PLs with APIs for analytics, execution, and visibility through a secure private cloud. Today, these advanced APIs handle more than 50 million LTL transactions daily. Summarily, LTL API provides three top-line benefits: quality and cost control, visibility into the entire shipment lifecycle, and easy retrieval and auditing of shipment documents.
API Benefits for Carriers
LTL APIs bring digital efficiency and order to managing and communicating with customers through all stages of the shipment lifecycle. From LTL rating to execution to tracking and audit, carriers communicate with shippers and 3PLs in real-time, offering frictionless connectivity. They eliminate manual processes for all transportation stakeholders and allow resources to return focus to revenue-generating activities.
Carriers use freight APIs to automate and streamline price benchmarking, bid management, rating, transit time, customer inquiries, service orchestration, and automated delivery notifications. This can result in better visibility, enhanced efficiency, less network traffic, and faster payment for carriers.
APIs in the Real World
TMS provider MercuryGate recently partnered with SMC³’s APIs to automate many time-consuming and tedious manual processes that LTL shippers and 3PLs must perform. They needed a communication solution to improve workflow automation, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency while providing real-time carrier capacity insights and facilitating smooth integration with existing systems.
Accelerating the Digitization Journey
Digitizing the shipment lifecycle incrementally moves the LTL industry out of the past. The recent eBOLs standard being brought from concept to full reality was the beginning. The next step on the digitization journey is accelerating LTL shippers and 3PLs to retire more manual processes by using APIs to digitally manage the shipment lifecycle from beginning to end—from pricing to execution to tracking to document.
As a founding member of the Digital LTL Council, sponsored by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, SMC³ is working to make that happen. The Digital LTL Council recently announced a new initiative to develop a complete API roadmap for all LTL shipment data. The end goal: Enable shippers, carriers, and 3PLs to perform all LTL processes digitally.
Contact SMC³ for more information about our LTL APIs or visit www.smc3.com/ltl-api to learn how you can get started digitizing the entire shipment lifecycle today.