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How Logistics Technology Gives You the Advantage

Jessica Eynon

23 July 2018

Logistics technology could offer the cost savings you need.

Due to the capacity crunch, shipping rates are headed up with no signs of stopping. We’ve covered a few ideas for keeping costs down, including leveraging technology.

Looking to survive the constrained climate, the adoption or optimization of logistics technology is on the minds of many shippers these days. Let’s break down some of the best new technologies available to you so you can stay competitive. Know that you can access these tools directly OR through your 3PL partner, if they offer them.

2018’s leading logistics technology, explained

Transportation Management Systems

TMS solutions are everywhere these days. And for good reason — shippers must digitize their supply chain logistics to remain competitive in today’s ultra-saturated, increasingly complex climate.

According to a recent ARC Advisory report,

  • The average TMS user reduces their transportation costs by 10%.
  • 44% of new TMS users report an increased ability to secure capacity.
  • 65% of TMS users rely on their TMS to improve customer service.

TMS offer a host of valuable new options for streamlining your shipping strategy. And without a TMS, you’re at risk of missed opportunities, human error, and slower response times.

So how does a TMS work? It collects all transportation data to apply to future decisions, automatically or through manually requested outputs.

The benefits of leveraging end-to-end data are significant. You can prioritize carriers that demonstrate the best on-time performance. You can use historic transit times to estimate the arrival of goods. You can compare modes and routes to select the most efficient combination for your needs. You can avoid costly fees. And you can provide more holistic, accurate, and proactive information to those who need it. Overall, a TMS takes the guesswork out of your transportation logistics so you can operate more efficiently. The result: becoming a better partner to your customers and carriers.

There are a number of good TMS solutions out there. We recommend choosing one based on your business' needs for customization, scalability, and access. But also consider factors like user-friendliness. For example, how easy is it to learn? Is data simple to process? Are many clicks required to complete a task? Is the user interface appealing? These items are important to consider as TMS adoption is integral to TMS success.

Smaller shippers should start with a streamlined solution for the quickest and most successful implementation. But once their business grows, their TMS will need to grow, too. Rather than having to switch TMS providers, select a TMS from the get-go that offers buildable solutions from the basics to the robust.

When a shipper partners with Evans, they gain access to our industry-leading TMS with the following features at no extra cost to them:

  • Accessible via the cloud or ERP integration
  • Executes across all modes
  • Manages all service types
  • Offers end-to-end, real-time visibility
  • Provides dynamic, customizable reporting
  • Highly configurable and customizable for the changing needs of a growing business

API automation

In today’s logistics industry, success is achieved when speed, accuracy, and cost-savings are combined. For these reasons, EDI and other legacy communication systems no longer provide their users with a competitive advantage. Enter application programming interface, better known as API.

API is a modern, web-based connectivity method that enables seamless communication between various systems. In the logistics industry, APIs connect the different parts of the logistics supply chain, ensuring 3PLs, carriers, and shippers operate with the same real-time, accurate information throughout the entire lifecycle of a shipment, from quote to invoice.

Benefits of API connectivity:

  • Real-time rate quotes
  • End-to-end visibility
  • Minimized error
  • Maximized speed
  • Optimized cost-savings

Evans is proud to partner with logistics-industry-disruptor project44 for unbeatable API connectivity. project44’s API solution uses a single integration point to connect with a large and ever-expanding network of highly qualified capacity providers.

Other API solution providers tend to have low capacity-provider adoption rates. But project44’s reputation and understanding of capacity providers’ needs ensures project44-enabled shippers access a full range of coverage possibilities across every transportation mode available in the U.S.

Optimization software

If you have an established TMS, how do you maximize its usefulness? With transportation optimization software that matches your transportation data with a set of chosen parameters — including modes, lanes, and the latest market information — to provide a set of realistic load plans that reduce your transportation cost and increase efficiencies.

The best transportation optimization software will be able to pull data from your TMS, such as historical shipping rates, lanes used, fuel index data, and mileage. From the collected data, you’ll get an output analysis. This analysis will give you detailed load plan comparisons, a savings summary, graphical illustrations of routes, pooling options, and more.

Partner with Evans and gain access to our powerful transportation optimization software and expert analysis team for an unbeatable competitive edge.

Automated tracking and tracing gives you live, end-to-end visibility of your logistics supply chain, eliminating manual speed bumps.

Live tracking and tracing

A TMS is also a launch point for automated tracking and tracing. Manual tracking and tracing opens the door to human error, makes it more difficult to address unexpected issues quickly, and inhibits your ability to keep your customers up to date. To obtain transit updates manually, you must contact your carriers via phone, email, or webchat.

Automated tracking and tracing gives you live, end-to-end visibility of your logistics supply chain, eliminating manual speed bumps. The result: significant time-savings, avoided costs, happier carrier partners, and satisfied customers.

Evans employs API for LTL visibility, but for TL, our solution is MacroPoint. While both solutions automate the tracking and tracing process, they do so in different ways. Through integration, API summarizes transit updates in your TMS, directly. MacroPoint is an external, web-based solution that summarizes transit updates and shows you where your freight is located on a map. Either solution unlocks the same set of advantages, giving you an edge over your competition.

Business intelligence/dynamic reporting

More data isn’t helpful unless you can make it meaningful. Leveraging a dynamic, customizable, and interactive business intelligence platform will help you quickly analyze and present mass sets of data, honing in on the items that mean the most to you.

Instead of boring, hard-to-process spreadsheets, Evans leverages Microsoft Power BI to communicate data and present findings to our customers and partners. Thanks to modern business intelligence technology, it has never been easier to make the most of data.

Back-office automation

Automation of back-office tasks like billing, invoicing, and document management is one of the simplest time- and-cost-saving solutions available to businesses. Beyond the streamlining of systems, automation reduces the chance of human error and allows for increased agility for improved responsiveness and growth readiness.

HubTran is Evans’ back-office automation solution. With HubTran in our arsenal, we've increased the speed of new-customer onboarding and day-to-day transactions, reduced overhead, minimized error, and converted our accounting team's focus from tactical items to those that are proactive and strategic. Combined, we're better able to serve our customers and partners.


There are few industries as complexly woven as that of supply chain logistics. Blockchain technology allows for componential connectivity from point A to point Z, increasing transparency to optimize decision-making and maximize cost-savings.

Because blockchain stores shipping data permanently on multiple nodes across a decentralized network, the technology also enhances supply chain security and reduces the opportunity for fraud.

With applications like performance history, capacity monitoring, and payment security through fraud detection and theft prevention, blockchain has a lot to offer shippers.

As a member of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance, we are staying at the forefront of this buzzed-about technology and will continue to provide updates on how it will benefit you. Stay tuned to Evans' blog for more!

Getting access to the latest logistics technology

Facing the capacity crunch head-on means investing in modern solutions to unearth new efficiencies. Logistics technology can be expensive. Partnering with a 3PL and leveraging its technologies, super user teams, and data analysts is a great way to begin benefitting for a lower cost, fast.

While the digitization of manual processes can seem like a headache waiting to happen, logistics technology should be part of the solution, not the problem. When selected and implemented correctly, it will reduce your transportation costs and unlock efficiencies to give you a major advantage. If your current logistics program doesn't leverage technology, it's time to begin shopping.

Jessica Eynon

Jessica is the VP of Technology Solutions at Evans Transportation.


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