When it comes to executing mode-specific freight moves from origin to destination efficiently, reliably, and cost-effectively, transportation execution and visibility solutions play a critical role. Transportation execution solutions allow shippers to connect to multiple carriers and then tender, track, and pay in the system. Visibility solutions allow real-time asset tracking across the entire distribution network. This enables improved estimated arrival times of goods.
The transportation execution and visibility systems (TES) market has seen significant growth over the last few years due to a variety of factors, including the growth of e-commerce, the strong ROI tied to these solutions, the rise of control towers and visibility requirements, capacity fluctuations, and the expansion of ecommerce. Visibility solutions, in particular, are becoming more important and robust than ever before. Billions of venture capital dollars of investment are being poured into companies that can integrate real-time visibility data with transportation to provide a more informed ETA for shippers and carriers.
The need to know where products are, whether they are on the way to the warehouse, store, or customer, when there are delays, and alerts for these delays, is critical to ensure a positive experience. The rise of visibility solutions at the container level is helping to drive the transportation execution market to new heights.
Based on ARC Advisory Group’s new global market report, the five largest providers of TES, listed alphabetically, are Descartes, E2open, FourKites, Infor Nexus, and project44. Of the top suppliers, project44 and FourKites are focused solely on visibility solutions, E2open and Infor Nexus are focused on execution, and Descartes provides both solutions.
Headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Descartes is a global leader in providing on-demand, SaaS solutions focused on improving the productivity, performance, and security of logistics-intensive businesses. In transportation execution, while Descartes is particularly strong in air transport, it has broader modal and regional coverage than most other TE suppliers. The acquisition of MacroPoint has added additional visibility capabilities.
The Descartes Global Logistics Network (GLN) is the world’s largest, collaborative multimodal logistics messaging network. Hundreds of thousands of trading partners, logistics services providers, and carriers use the GLN to connect and collaborate through 24.6 billion transactions annually. The network supports a wide array of messaging types including real-time GPS, EDI, and API-based capacity requests, bookings, statuses, and customs messages.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, E2open is the largest provider of transportation execution solutions. The company is focused on ocean shipping. The company streamlines and standardizes the shipping process worldwide for a network of over 220,000 shipping professionals. More than 700,000 container orders are initiated on the E2open platform each week, representing 25 percent of global ocean container trade. The company has grown significantly via acquisitions over the last few years, including the purchases of Amber Road, BluJay Solutions, and INNTRA.
The network supports downstream channel partners, upstream supply partners, and logistics partners. The channel ecosystem network encompasses roughly 1 million distribution, reseller, and retailer partners. The supply ecosystem connects over 630,000 manufacturers and suppliers. Over 12 billion transactions per year occurred on the network. The company has partnered with Shippeo to enhance their ability to provide real-time transportation visibility.
FourKites is a private company headquartered in Chicago in the US. Their network platform provides near real-time shipment visibility across truckload, less-than-truckload, ocean, rail, air, and parcel. The visibility is based on ELD, telematics networks, mobile, and other mechanisms as well. The visibility also includes product level visibility to shipments in transit. For multimodal shipments, tracking can occur even when the shipments are split across carriers.
The FourKites network includes more than 500 of the world’s largest shippers and thousands of their partners. FedEx Corp. and FourKites are building a data platform that aims to predict shipping delays and prescribe alternative plans for their customers. The new supply chain intelligence platform, called FourKites X, combines data from FedEx’s network of more than 16.5 million daily shipments and FourKites’ tracking platform, which currently supports more than 2.5 million daily shipments. Applications that ride on the network include visibility, yard management, order lifecycle visibility, and sustainability.
Headquartered in Oakland, California, Infor Nexus, reportedly, is the developer and operator of the largest cloud supply chain platform of its kind, with over $100 billion in goods managed annually and over 25,000 active trading organizations across all major industries. The transportation execution platform is mainly used to control both inbound and outbound transportation flows surrounding ocean transportation. However, Infor Nexus is working to expand its connectivity to carriers in other modes and has made progress in air transportation.
The Nexus system can measure the changes that are occurring and keep the lead times up to date. The changes measured in the Nexus solution can be based just on the data of one company. For example, when one company orders from a supplier in Asia to be delivered by a certain ocean carrier, the lead time is 24 days. But, if a company wants to work with a new supplier, and that supplier is in the network, metrics on that carrier also exist. Network alerts, based on network data rather than a company’s own data, are also more accurate.
project44 is a private company headquartered in Chicago. In January 2022, they received an outside investment totaling $420 million. The company had previously received an investment of $202 million in May 2021. The company acquired Potsdam-based Synfioo–the leading rail visibility company in Europe, in April 2022. The company provides real-time multimodal visibility with predicted times of arrivals. Their network is now tracking 155,000 ocean containers a day across 85 carriers, shipments across more than 170 airlines, and more than 4.5 million unique shipments daily over-the-road across 190,000 carriers.
Several recent products have been released. Convert is a last mile product that leverages machine learning models across 11 billion shipment events to offer highly accurate estimated delivery dates on e-commerce checkout pages prior to a consumer deciding to make a purchase. Yard Solutions provides a set of dock, yard, and asset management capabilities including slot bookings, yard forecasting, and real-time yard reporting. Port Intel is a port intelligence solution with real-time data on congestion and container flow at all global ports.
One thing that has become abundantly clear over the last few years is that visibility solutions are becoming more necessary. The need to know where products and materials are, whether they are on the way to the manufacturing plant, warehouse, store, or customer, is critical to ensure a positive experience. The rise of visibility solutions at the container level is helping to drive the transportation execution market to new heights, with real-time visibility as a major growth driver. Come learn how real-time visibility solutions are part of an overall digital transformation journey.
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