How to Leverage a 3PL’s Expertise with Packaged Applications

Using adaptable applications doesn’t force customers to fit into a single box, but rather creates a unique box for each customer.

Knowing how to quickly set up and configure supply chain technology so the solutions work for individual customers is the key to getting the most flexible and powerful performance from industry-leading package applications.

Q: Can you describe Ruan’s technology platform mix?

A: Ruan’s approach to business-enabling technology is primarily packaged software applications: transportation management systems, warehouse management systems, and network design. Our platform is based on Oracle Transportation Management for logistics management, TMW for dedicated fleet operations, and JDA for both WMS and network design solutions.

Importantly, we have leveraged our domain expertise to integrate these systems across our organization. However, there are also areas where we have built and run our own custom in-house applications when we do not find maturity in the marketplace around solutions that our customers need.

Q: What sets Ruan’s solution apart from other transportation providers?

A: Expertise is a prime differentiator. Ruan has dedicated team members assigned to each customer. Our solutions teams are consistent from the onboarding process through continuous improvement projects. This knowledge about a customer’s business and how their systems are set up, along with the expertise that our teams have on our applications, means that we are nimble with technology changes that address our customers’ needs.

Adaptability is a top reason to lean on package applications as the backbone of a platform where many system changes are enacted through system configuration by a business analyst rather than through IT-managed code development, which typically requires more time from idea to implementation.

Using adaptable applications doesn’t force customers to fit into a single box, but rather creates a unique box for each customer. In end-to-end transportation processes, there are many similarities across customer operational tasks that take place in the middle, such as securing capacity, execution and tracking, and freight payment. But the ability to tailor solutions in the front of the process, such as how to capture orders and plan freight, and in the back of the process with customized billing formats and key performance indicators, is critical to meeting the customer’s needs.

Q: Should shippers consider hiring a transportation provider instead of purchasing technology to use on their own?

A: The following areas typically drive the decision to partner rather than purchase technology:

  • Harnessing the 3PL’s expertise to configure the TMS system to meet evolving business requirements without expensive outside consulting guidance and limited in-house experience
  • Avoiding cost and timeline overruns with in-house system implementation
  • Integration and training with existing carrier network
  • Managing the system upgrade process to keep current with evolving application functionality and support agreements
  • Ability to focus on the core functions of the business while partnering with a provider with expertise in managing transportation and the associated technology

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