TMS Innovation and the Voice of the Customer with Cameron Robertson

download the audio file

[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:

3PL Systems:

By | 2019-03-25T18:46:31-04:00 March 25th, 2019|Podcast, Technology|Comments Off on TMS Innovation and the Voice of the Customer with Cameron Robertson

About the Author: