[00:20] Opening / Introduction.
[00:37] Introduce yourself and your company.
- I am the Chief Technology Officer of 3PL Systems in Signal Hill, California. We specialize in the development of transportation management software.
- At the age of thirteen I built my own website and since then I’ve been hyper-focused on learning more about software development.
- I went to school for computer science in southern California.
- My first real job was here with 3PL Systems. After I took the job, I fell in love with the industry, the people, and the fact that the technology seemed young.
- I joined the company as a technical support representative and progressed from there.
[02:40] Please explain the difference between API and EDI before we get into the tech talk.
- API serves as the interface between software programs. Image a human interacting with a computer. That’s similar to how API works.
- An EDI is still the most popular form of exchanged information via technology in transportation. It allows the user to pass information based on an action.
- I see API replacing EDI in the next five to ten years.
[04:20] What is a transportation management system and why should someone invest in one?
- A TMS is used by shippers, carriers, brokers, and asset-based companies to manage their business.
- The biggest benefit is that if efficiently allows you to manage all data such as shipments in a centralized location.
[05:25] What are the five new trends that are coming to the TMS business?
- [05:38] 1. Systems becoming easier to use and configure.
- Developers are often needed to set up systems, but their time is scarce and expensive.
- Users should not be dependent on a developer for every last customization or integration.
- Brokers and 3PLs are much more sophisticated with their knowledge of tech now, so they’re ready to do more.
- [08:14] 2. Artificial intelligence is coming.
- AI is ready to impact the industry because we now have computing power, lots of data, and connectivity.
- It can complete a lot of the mundane tasks such as following up with carriers or dispatching loads in the morning.
- Some companies are using it on a limited basis, and some of it is just hype.
- It’s coming soon and it will be disruptive.
- [10:53] 3. The user experience becoming more intuitive.
- Some software providers give a big user manual, which is a red flag to me. I would get rid of that software as soon as possible.
- Inbound logistics users may need to train hundreds of shippers, so it’s important for training and orientation to be quick and easy.
- If you’re going to have a user manual, it should be built into the software instead of an external text document.
- [13:31] 4. User group meetings.
- This means hearing the voice of the customer or user of the software platform.
- They can provide feedback about the software itself and what they would like to see built, rather than the software company dictating to the customer what needs to be built.
- Developers need to understand their customers so well that they can deliver next gen solutions before the customers even know it’s possible.
- [15:40] 5. Becoming even more connected.
- Today, TMS can pull data via APIs from all types of databases and websites.
- We’re going to see a tremendous amount of API integration amongst all the software companies that interact with each other in the transportation industry.
- One of the things I see a lot lately is that the brokers no longer want to have to log into your TMS system. They want to be able to stay in their environment.
- Not sharing that information is not helping anyone.
[18:59] Tell us about what’s going on at 3PL Systems.
- Over the years, we have realized that we’ve built a pretty strong product.
- What we wanted to do for our customers is tear it all down and start over based on the feedback we have gained.
- We launched that product last year, and we’re able to add new features very quickly. We’re really excited about the future.
Cameron Robertson on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/crobertson-1
3PL Systems: www.3plsystems.com