Last week I attended MercuryGate’s annual user conference at the Royal Sonesta in New Orleans, LA. The conference’s theme was “Dominate.” To do this, MercuryGate is striving to make their customers smarter, stronger, faster, and better, and the presentations that I attended all hit on this. Over the course of the last year, MercuryGate has released new products and made upgrades to existing products to make managing your transportation easier. Everything MercuryGate does, and everything they talked about at the conference, is based on delivering customer success.
A big piece of customer success is making things easier for their customers. In the roadmap session, this was evident. Historically, MercuryGate has partnered with its customers to build their product. Customer feedback is an important piece of the product roadmap. The company is combining the knowledge of its growing customer base to build a base-level product that reduces the amount of customization that is needed. However, one of the things MercuryGate does to meet customer needs is allow for customization of nearly every aspect of the product. This includes customizing dynamic rulesets, custom rulesets, system configurations, and configuration groups. These customizations allow the customer to set up the application in a way that works best for their needs.
There were a few other sessions that built on the premise of making things easier for the customer. One piece is the new graphical user interface (GUI) for the TMS. The new GUI spent a full year in development, aided by MercuryGate customers. The company held information and usability sessions with customers to get a better idea of what features and functions could be improved in the GUI. At the conference itself, MercuryGate was still taking in customer feedback in a series of interactive sessions. The new GUI features easier navigation and a more customer friendly usability. It also provides easier access to dashboards and reports, with additional color coding in the dashboards to see how effective routes have been.
Another session I found very interesting was on managing inbound transportation, which is one thing that is often difficult for businesses. MercuryGate showed how their inbound management solution can make things easier for their customers as well. In the purchase order (PO) portlet process, all fields are configurable. This allows the user to dynamically use the features that are required. There were two key pieces to this that jumped out to me. The first was visibility. From a visibility standpoint, the PO portlet process allows suppliers to have limited visibility to only orders owned by their own company or family of related companies. It also allows suppliers to route shipments that fulfill multiple purchase orders and verify shipping information and quantities. Once the order is released, the customer can confirm quantities, shipping locations, equipment required, special instructions, and plan the shipment. This information is readily available to the customer, and the order can be tracked in real-time.
The second piece was the Mojo inbound optimization. Using Mojo, customers can optimize their loads in a number of ways. First, they can select multiple pick-ups from vendors en route to the destination. They can also select multiple drops from vendors en route, have orders from multiple regional vendors delivered to pool points for distribution to stores or plants, have vendors deliver to cross dock facilities for distribution, and look for backhaul and continuous move opportunities with outbound shipments. All of these methods are designed to make things easier for the customer.
A third presentation that showcased MercuryGate’s ability to make things easier for their customers was MercuryFleet. MercuryFleet was launched last year and has continued to make improvements. There are three main components that customers can use MercuryFleet for: executing and optimizing, managing fleet equipment, and managing drivers. Looking at execution and optimization, MercuryFleet enables customers to manage quotes based on internal capacity. A new dispatch feature allows companies to team drivers and two trailers for load assignments and gives the current location and dispatch date details. Additionally, customers can manage their freight from the driver in one portlet. This allows them to search loads, post capacity, analyze load history, look at hours of service, and use satellite tracking all within one screen, rather than switching back and forth between different programs.
From an equipment standpoint, MercuryFleet keeps specifications, registration, ownership, and service records up to date. This includes container capacity and dimensions, component warrantees, upcoming service requirements, and the ability to track PO’s and costs. It includes cost analytics, allowing the user to see profitability of drivers, loads, and routes. It also enables fleet equipment sharing, which means customers can share equipment information with independent contractors or carriers in their enterprise, and have visibility into which companies are sharing this information with them.
From the driver perspective, MercuryFleet tracks driver details (driver type, gender, etc.), status, contact information, and their assignments. It also tracks their safety records, and logs and measures any incidents, inspections, and violations. Customers can calculate scores for their drivers and then rank them on a number of criteria. A new feature is an availability schedule. This documents a driver’s availability and time off, enabling companies to better schedule their routes. From an execution and optimization, fleet management, and driver management perspective, MercuryFleet is geared towards simplifying the process of planning execution within a single system of record, making the process easier for customers.
In conclusion, the MercuryGate user conference was a place to showcase how the company’s technology and innovations can make users smarter, stronger, faster, and better. The method behind this goal is to make everything more streamlined and simple. While the technology behind the scenes is complex, the use of it does not have to be. At the end of the day, the company wants to make managing their customers’ transportation easier, more efficient, and more profitable.
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