How popular is API connectivity in the LTL industry?

Application programming interfaces are becoming more common in the less than trackload industry. This is an important change that will bring great efficiency to the evolving industry from the analog world.

The API allows two different systems to communicate with each other. This allows applications to transfer data and execute transactions in real time.

“Until now, with LTL cargo, basic charges, carrier coverage points, and other information have been manually passed using physical discs and CDs, requiring multiple loading, modeling, and setup on individual systems. There was, “said Curtis Garrett, Chief Strategy Reconnaissance logisticsTold Freight Waves.

“It was the true definition of information silos. No one was interrelated and no one benefited from the scalable attribute of automatically passing information,” LTL pricing and technology for 15 years. Garrett, who has been involved, continues.

The industry has evolved into electronic data interchange. This allows you to transfer load bids, track updates, and invoice details between systems over time. Some information can be transferred back and forth via EDI, but more complex features such as pricing and valuation cannot be transferred.

“We didn’t have enough speed or flexibility to process the valuation, so it was common for shippers and 3PLs to model and load LTL pricing in their systems. Too many errors. We hope it matches the carrier’s price without any hassle, “Garrett said. He said.

Migrating to API

Several companies began building API capabilities by the mid-2000s, and today the initiative continues to grow internally with many carriers, 3PLs, and visibility providers servicing the industry.

According to Garrett, EDI is still very commonly used today, but the focus is shifting to a wider range of API connections.

“Even today, the industry is very early on, ultimately all processed via API connections, but due to the fact that it is covered by valuations, bids, tracking, documentation, and now electronic bills of lading. , Build on. “

The use of APIs in the evaluation process is especially marketable Dynamic pricing.. The Digital LTL Council also helped keep the industry away from the manually generated bill of lading, which Garrett described as an “industry game changer.”

However, some carriers cannot accurately model all ancillary charges and pricing components.

According to Garrett, Recon uses a “hybrid evaluation” approach to solve the TMS API evaluation holes. “Modeling a particular accessory internally using the evaluation engine. Then it pulls out lineholes and fuel surcharges via the API and automatically combines them to show the end user the full rate. The shipper is not even aware that we have to do so. “

The future of APIs in LTL spaces

In the near future, Garrett hopes that the industry will API everything it manages through email, portals, and customer service queues.

The rating API immediately informs carriers whether they are pinged for analysis or for actual shipping quotes, and the tracking API has evolved to be more dynamic for pick-up and delivery. Provides shipping details. He also expects the billing process to be as easy as a shipper or 3PL submitting from its own TMS.

“If a process or feature that is part of the software and results in information being repeatedly passed to another platform is a variable that only changes the details of the current shipment, it will eventually be all API driven. It will be, “Garrett said. “This will allow people in the industry to make good use of it for decision making, exception checking, and applying logic to gray, rather than acting as an information node that sends and receives bits and bytes.”

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