Efforts to streamline via technological collaboration the scheduling of truck drivers waiting dockside are well underway, according to executives speaking at FreightWaves’ Future of Supply Chain event in Cleveland.
Convoy, J.B. Hunt and Uber Freight have been working officially since December to create and standardize a process that uses technological tools such as application programming interfaces to coordinate scheduling at the dock level. The three companies have just released their API requirements, with plans to release the specifications in mid-July, according to Dorothy Li, chief technology officer for Convoy.
Implementation of the specifications are anticipated to occur in late 2023 and into 2024, Li said.
“What this really is is a set of standardized APIs. You can imagine things like, ‘get me a list of scheduling appointments,’ ‘schedule this appointment,’ ‘reschedule this appointment.’ And that [would be] standard across our systems, such that from one carrier to another TMS, we can all talk to each other,” Li told the conference audience Wednesday.
Spencer Frazier, executive vice president of sales and marketing for J.B. Hunt (NASDAQ: JBHT), said the impetus of the collaboration among the three companies was finding a way to solve the problems that all carriers face related to scheduling, such as the variabilities in detention time that drivers face.
Challenges in scheduling is a “pervasive problem” and a “direct line to cost,” and addressing this issue in a collaborative manner ultimately helps not only drivers but shippers and customers since the standardizing scheduling might help prevent delayed orders or missed sales, according to Frazier.
Others have since joined in on the endeavor, the executives said. According to a website on the consortium to standardize schedules, other companies involved include Arrive Logistics, BlueYonder, Coyote Logistics, e2open,Oracle, One Network Enterprises and Echo.
“J.B. Hunt is a good-sized organization in our industry, but we can’t solve this alone. And really, even the three of us together — we make a good chunk of the business, but the three of us are not big enough to tackle this alone. This is something where the industry has to come together. The industry has to do that in a way that we’re solving for the betterment of all.”
As the companies develop standards for scheduling, there is an expectation that this effort could serve as a jumping-off point for other collaborations that provide value-added services.
“We’re trying to define what at least the bare minimum should look like. And we are hoping that people go above and beyond that minimum standard,” said Raj Subbiah, head of product for Uber Freight. “And I think there’s a layer on top where a lot of innovation can happen, and we’re definitely enabling that by defining what the minimum should look like.”
This collaboration also comes at a time when supply chain stakeholders wonder if — or when — the next disruptive event akin to the COVID-19 pandemic will occur and shake up supply chains.
“It’s amazing how this industry has not been helped by technology and improvements over the last 10, 20 years. And we see this as a bare minimum that what we need to do over the next few years to kind of get us to the next level — this digitization of freight that needs to happen for us to fully use technology. We see tshis as a stepping stone,” Subbiah said.
Future of Supply Chain
JUNE 21-22, 2023 • CLEVELAND, OH • IN-PERSON EVENT
The greatest minds in the transportation, logistics and supply chain industries will share insights, predict future trends and showcase emerging technology the FreightWaves way–with engaging discussions, rapid-fire demos, interactive sponsor kiosks and more.