Archive for the ‘Collaboration’ Category

The Value of a Connected Community

Posted on: July 7th, 2015 by The IAS Team No Comments

Community is a big word. It represents an affinity in any number of dimensions– neighbors, friends, locations, capabilities and other measures of connection. That affinity through connection is almost always positive. And so it is in the business context too.

Companies in the logistics industry rely on other companies to achieve their business objectives. They can be called vendors, trading partners, service providers and maybe even frenemies if they are in coopetition– that grey area between cooperation and competition common in the “small world” of logistics.

No matter what they’re called, interaction between parties is easier if they’re already “connected.” In logistics and international goods transportation, this connection is most useful if it means integrated by data, standard technology or common process shared by several stakeholders, say serving common customers. The connection can be leveraged to serve existing customers more efficiently; or to acquire new customers more quickly. The mirror image works too: being connected makes it easier for your vendors to work with you, or, on-boarding new vendors is made more efficient if they’re already connected in the community on behalf of someone else. Nowhere is this truer than when considering a community of connected motor carriers. In different markets or at different times, one side may have more “leverage” than the other. But being connected through common process, by data integration or over a shared portal ensures benefits of collaboration are delivered beneficially to all.

IAS has connected a community of over 3000 service providers and motor carriers in over 46 countries. They interact on behalf of our mutual customers via the IAS Dispatch suite, according to their capabilities– by web application or data integration or both (as is quite often the case if they find the IAS Dispatch capability in a particular function is better than their own). The underlying business processes are standardized, and the customer’s needs are understood, transparent, and efficiently met. All by virtue of a connected community.

IAS Dispatch – Many Modes – One Global Solution

Posted on: June 30th, 2015 by The IAS Team No Comments

IAS provides a high-service, secure, and scalable technology platform connecting a global network of customers and trading partners. IAS’ cloud-based applications foster collaboration within that connected community and bring visibility to actionable information for both asset and transportation management.

Critical criteria for effective transportation management systems, according to logistics industry analyst group Gartner, are breadth and depth of the systems involved, meaning natively supporting multiple modes, including international transportation capability.

Although IAS has its roots in ocean/intermodal and has long been connecting customers and trading partners in literally dozens of countries worldwide (88, by latest count); through continued product development IAS Dispatch now supports “any load in any mode” to support its growing 3PL user-base. In fact, a significant portion of work order volume is comprised of LTL, local pick-up and delivery, airfreight trucking and domestic line haul in over 30 countries alone. This enables “one version of the truth,” a unified process, improved compliance with customer needs and sustained achievement of management objectives for both buyers and providers of international gods transportation.

IAS Dispatch is a cloud-based suite of modules that bring together order assignment, delivery scheduling, amendment management, invoicing, visibility, tendering, optimization, and business intelligence – all within a single, easy-to-use workflow “pre-connected” to thousands of carriers worldwide.

By Blair Peterson

Enterprise SaaS vs. Networked Platforms in Supply Chain and Transportation Management

Posted on: February 3rd, 2015 by The IAS Team No Comments

A recent report from Boston-based ChainLink Research on supply chain platforms compares Enterprise SaaS applications serving single, multi-tenant instances with true “Networked Platforms” that provide SaaS solutions for multiple parties–not necessarily in direct commercial relationships, initially–interacting on one platform. A networked platform features a many-to-many model for data, security, connectivity and onboarding. The network platform approach is best for supply chain and transportation management applications that require communication and collaboration among trading partners, be they customers/vendors or other third parties. In IAS’ current world of transportation management, the parties are buyers or arrangers of transportation on the one hand, and providers of transportation and related services on the other.

Some key features of a Networked Platform include:

  • Critical mass of trading partners that can either be easily added to the network or may already be connected to the network, reducing the startup time.
  • Easy discovery of new partners.
  • Ability to automate manual processes with visibility into operations.
  • Open marketplace for competitive bidding by qualified providers of supplies and services, lowering costs and finding capacity in tight markets.
  • On Demand, Real-Time Market that links buyers and sellers for immediate services, such as drayage and goods transport.
  • Sharing and leveraging of network-wide data allowing for analysis of trends and benchmarking of performance, costs and more.

Many networked platforms target a particular industry segment, such as high tech, B2B, consumer or retail. This is one of the key differentiators between the various networked platforms that serve industries such as drayage and goods transport (IAS), couriers (Grand Junction), personal transport alternatives (Uber, Lyft, Sidecar), grocery delivery (Instacart), or housing (Airbnb); all examples referenced in the ChainLink report.

Transloading and Other Factors Affecting Drayage Truck Capacity

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014 by The IAS Team No Comments

There is a growing trend in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach whereby retailers and other importers increasingly are avoiding shipping ocean containers inland by rail and instead transloading into domestic containers that then move by truck or rail. This has exacerbated an ever-growing shortage of drayage truck capacity that is under strain from many issues ranging from vessel size to chassis availability.

Containers are backed up on the docks at Los Angeles and Long Beach, while trucks wait in long lines at the terminal gates. Frustrated importers and exporters are diverting cargo to other ports in an effort to get their containers to the right location at the right time. Together the two ports handled a combined 14.4 million 20-foot-equivalent units annually. Whether Trans-Pac trade growth will recoup coast-wise volume diversion, remains to be seen.

There’s a real estate effect too: importers and exporters need more transload facilities, which is causing available industrial retail prices to skyrocket in the LA Basin and Inland Empire. As the US economy continues to grow, the volume of containers reaches tremendous levels, adding even more pressure to the ports to reduce congestion. Per the Journal of Commerce, “More than 32 percent of import containers at LA-Long Beach was transloaded into domestic rail containers last year, up from 31.7 percent in 2012, 28.4 percent in 2010 and 20.7 percent in 2006, according to data provided by the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority. They predict the share will rise further, to 33.2 percent this year.”

Shippers choose to transload because, depending on the cargo’s characteristics, they gain better economies from 53-foot domestic containers versus standard marine 40-footers. They can also take control of goods earlier upon arrival in North America. However, transloading requires real estate for cross-dock facilities and drayage to move containers from the port to transload facilities. Many of the current cross-dock facilities do not have spare capacity for new customers.

One of the reasons drayage is under pressure is due to ocean carriers no longer providing chassis for containers in most cases. This has forced truckers to make multiple stops at different terminals to pick up or drop off chassis, resulting in a reduction of productivity. One solution addressing this inefficiency is IAS’ ChassisManager application that provides visibility and accurate re-assignment of liability and costs for chassis in “street-turns.” A Street-turn is the re-use of assets that enables intermodal companies to reduce empty mileage, cut fuel costs and emissions, and decrease congestion.

Customer commitment – IAS Support Portal forums

Posted on: May 3rd, 2013 by The IAS Team No Comments

This month for our best practices series we will be discussing our commitment to providing exceptional customer support to our clients. Let’s begin with a look at one of our most valuable tools: the IAS Support Portal. In a nutshell, the IAS Support Portal keeps you updated on product functionality and helps you find answers to your questions through its two key components: forums and tickets. Today we will discuss how to navigate the categories and forums within the Support Portal.

To begin, log in on the IAS Support Portal home page. If you  are not yet a member, click ‘sign up’ on the upper right hand corner of the welcome page and you will be directed to a new page where you can create a user id and password. Now you can use those credentials to log in. Note that you don’t have to be a member of the portal to view the forums, but we recommend signing up so you can use the features we are about to address in this post.

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Once you have logged in, either scroll down the home page or select the ‘Forums’ tab on the top menu. The forums are sorted into relevant categories with the top 3 articles displayed. You can click any forum title to see the complete list of articles associated with that topic. You have the ability to browse the forums to see what questions have already been addressed or you can use the search bar to locate a specific topic.

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When you find the answer to your issue, you can comment or vote for it by clicking on the ‘thumbs up’ icon located at the bottom of the article. Not only does voting let us know what kind of answers you are looking for, but it will also point users towards popular articles.

In addition, you have the option to subscribe to any forum so that you receive an e-mail notification for all new activity, such as new articles or comments. To do this, select an article or forum and simply click ‘subscribe’ next to the envelope icon located on the upper right hand corner of the article screen. If you change your mind, you can unsubscribe in the same way.

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Didn’t find the answer you were looking for within the portal? Stay tuned because next week we will discuss tickets and your ability to submit a request.

Chassis invoicing – managing rental events

Posted on: December 4th, 2012 by The IAS Team No Comments

To make the newly-launched ChassisManager a service that would change the industry, turn users into loyal fans, and address the current pain points of chassis rental, we knew the solution had to significantly improve the day-to-day execution of leased fleet management. So ChassisManager was designed from the ground up to ensure the most accurate and timely usage tracking and billing possible, including:

  • Automatic tracking of rental events, ensuring transparency and data reliability
  • An easy to navigate, no-headache, effective pre-invoicing and dispute process
  • Simple, understandable invoices and the ability to easily identify the billable status of chassis moves
  • Painless, streamlined payment methods with features such as automated payments and collection tracking by file

For the December series of tips and tricks posts, we will be writing about those four critical components of the solution. Let’s get started with the first one – managing rental events. ChassisManager provides the time and location of both on-hired and off-hired equipment. As rental data is automatically updated with associated events (gate-in, gate-out, tie, and untie), you gain real time visibility of chassis rentals.

EDIT: Since the time of this post, the Trip Viewer has been introduced in ChassisManager, which provides another resource for managing rental events. 

To monitor your activity, begin at the ‘Manage Rentals’ screen, which will display a detailed list of all your rented chassis, including rental number, start and end date, and chassis number, among other details. You can search by clicking the magnifying glass icon. Or you can view a list of rentals by status, such as opened, closed, or in dispute, by using the ‘View’ dropdown menu – the list will be reduced to rentals of the selected type. You can now sort by category within rentals of that particular status by clicking the arrow next to any column title. These features allow you to focus on what is relevant right now as well as quickly pinpointing chassis rentals you may have questions about.

Need to view status changes? No problem, simply click the rental in the main data grid and a list of events will be displayed in the Activity Log beneath the main window. As a rental’s status is updated, such as when your rental is opened, details are amended, or it moves into pre-invoicing, that change is recorded in the Activity Log with a time stamp, so you know all of the specifics of each rental. That same lower window features a ‘Trips’ tab which provides even further details, namely pickup and return locations and times, bill of lading, shipping company details, container number, trip length, etc. You gain added visibility to your leased fleet and have immediate access to up-to-date information on the units that are on-hire.

Our tips and tricks series just scratch the surface of what you can do with IAS solutions. For additional insight and instant answers to your burning questions, visit http://iassupport.interasset.com/home.

Back from SoCal – the IANA debrief

Posted on: November 21st, 2012 by The IAS Team No Comments

This past week, the IAS team descended on Anaheim. We were not going to Disneyland as our children may have thought but rather attending the National Industrial Transportation League / Intermodal Expo.

Each year, we look forward to this event as a good venue to explore the trends in our industry and the 2012 expo proved to be no different. Our show floor objective was simple: listen to the thoughts of the major shippers, truckers, railroads, ocean carriers, IT solution providers, consultants and other supply chain professionals regarding the business issues facing our industry and, when appropriate, help people understand how IAS solutions can help their businesses be more efficient and profitable.

A few of the items we took note of:

  • The speed at which ocean carriers are moving away from the chassis market was an oft-discussed issue with many opinions and limited consensus. Some are concerned about how the railroads will work with pools; others about the maintenance and effects chassis may have as part of CSA (FMCSA Compliance, Safety, Accountability); still others worried about pools being taken over by a small number of leasing operators. Cost, communication and inventory visibility are the common concerns amongst all constituents, which made our ChassisManager solution a topic of great interest.
  • A variety of players – ports, 3PLs, BCOs and carriers – expressed a need for technology that integrates to many systems and provides one version of the truth. This is seen as a necessity in today’s market.
  • The industry recognition of the need for more balanced intermodal traffic flows, especially motor freight in North America, is once again a key concern. Driver shortages, highway congestion, fuel costs, and terminal gate capacity are all drivers behind this concern.

While IAS’ trip may not have been a visit to the happiest place on Earth, it was certainly a great opportunity to see how IAS solutions match our industry’s pain points. We are now busily following up on our many meetings, hungrily anticipating Thanksgiving, and preparing for Intermodal Europe.

If we missed you at the conference and you want to learn more about how IAS impacts these and other issues, please reach out to us or leave a comment.

It’s bigger than containers, chassis, trucks and ships

Posted on: November 1st, 2012 by The IAS Team 4 Comments

No matter what business you are in, focusing on the business challenges of the day/week/month can sometimes attenuate awareness to issues in the outside world. It is important to recognize this on your own and be proactive to earn credits in the citizenship department, but there is nothing like a friend’s personal story to help you wake up and smell the coffee.

One of our IAS team members has a child with some serious health challenges. The situation has its ups and downs, mostly up as of late, which is fantastic. Many of us close to her have “supported the cause” one way or another, be it emotional, financial, logistical (had to use that word here) or otherwise.

At a recent company event, the team member, normally quite reserved about the topic, opened up about one of her experiences at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. The pediatric clinic hands out toys or small denomination gift cards to kids coming in for their regular, periodic treatments. The unofficial program is supported by small donations and the nurses and staff (arguably some of the most caring people in the world). It has become quite a highlight for the kids who are otherwise in for a pretty lousy day. The toy give-away was running out of steam, they had been out of gift cards for weeks, and the kids were so disappointed. Hearing this account snapped us to attention.

We wrote a company-wide email telling the story and letting people know that even a very small action can make a big difference. Our goal was to raise $6,000 (a year’s worth of giveaways). The message went viral in our small world.

Even with a relatively small group, we collected $4,500, which IAS matched to bring the total to $9,000. The feeling of supporting one of our work-family and such a great cause pulled us closer together and has had us flying for weeks. And on October 30th, a few of us went to UCSF to present 1,700 gift cards, enough to keep the program going for a year and half. We are incredibly proud of our team for looking beyond the busy days and giving a little in order to create a lot of joy and comfort.

DispatchOptimizer – street-turns from the motor carrier perspective

Posted on: October 30th, 2012 by The IAS Team No Comments

This week, we are concluding our DispatchOptimizer best practices series by taking a look at the motor carrier side of the street-turn work order. This is the fifth and final post in the series, so be sure to take a look at posts 1, 2, 3, and 4 for the full story, or schedule a demo of the solution.

Why is street-turn matching such a valuable tool for a motor carrier?

You probably know about the many benefits of street-turns, such as miles saved, reduced fuel costs, environmental benefits, and less wait time at a port. However, few motor carriers have an automated approach in identifying and approving street-turns. DispatchOptimizer and DispatchTender help bridge the gap not only by presenting potential street-turns, but also by allowing motor carriers to communicate rates and capacity quickly and easily. These tools are seamlessly integrated with all IAS Dispatch modules, including DispatchManager – everything works together in one efficient, streamlined package.

Once a street-turn has been proposed by an originator, motor carriers are shown relevant information, such as the origin, destination, delivery points, mileage calculations, appointment times, and even suggested routing powered by PC*Miler.

For a motor carrier, sending a rate response within the IAS Dispatch system couldn’t be easier thanks to DispatchTender, which allows originators to request pricing from their trucking network and receivers to present their competitive rate. IAS Dispatch shows you the work orders you’ve quoted and won along with those still pending. Thus, motor carriers have the ability to see the status of all street-turn offers at any point in time.

All in all, the system is designed to ease collaboration as it removes the current barriers to identifying and executing street-turns by providing transparency and by facilitating the communication process in the most efficient manner possible.

A well-managed platform imperative for true connectivity

Posted on: October 26th, 2012 by The IAS Team No Comments

At the heart of a global connected network must be a robust technology platform architected and designed for the optimal management of thousands of service provider participants and the millions of transport events to be captured, processed and stored for access by only authorized stakeholders. The platform must be secure, scalable, configurable, and reliable and it should apply the same modern cloud technologies that underpin brand-name web-based businesses.

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