360data: Optimizing Transportation Spend

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Dan Sellers, CIO, 360dataDan Sellers, CIO
Even as technological advances transform the freight management landscape, it is surprising that a sizeable percentage of the shippers still do not have an automated system to manage their supply chain and in particular, their transportation components. Stakeholders in the freight management system often consider a transportation management system (TMS) as an added expense and are hesitant to invest in one to accommodate their expanding business needs. Most of the logistics professionals waste time clicking through spreadsheets and continue to struggle with outdated TMS technologies that are failing to keep up with their organizational requirements. “Investing in a state-of-the-art TMS is probably the shortest return on investment that a shipper can make from a technological perspective,” says Dan Sellers, CIO of Wisconsin-based 360data. Encompassing a host of exceptional features, 360data’s advanced TMS provides complete supply chain visibility on all inbound and outbound shipments and cuts down costs in real time.

“At 360data, we push the boundaries of our TMS to integrate with customers, carrier compliance providers, load boards and even the client’s ERP, which on implementation, eliminates manual processes and the resultant errors in data to provide value and bring significant savings to the shipper,” says Sellers. Notable highlights of 360data’s comprehensive TMS system include a comparative analysis of rates for carriers, their grading and scorecards, dock scheduling, and tracking and notification for real-time visibility of less than truckload (LTL) and other shipments. “360data’s TMS enables clients to obtain a two to four percent reduction on their transportation costs with these savings primarily obtained from implementing routing guides, and carrier services,” adds Sellers. In addition, the TMS offers up-to-date information for the shippers on carrier availability.

360data’s TMS enables clients to obtain a two to four percent reduction on their transportation costs

The 360data TMS is easy to implement, with clients not having to rely on their own internal I.T. team to set the system in motion. Once implemented it is largely self-serviced. “We are a cloud-based system. Hence, a well-functioning desktop with a web browser that has an uninterrupted internet connection is all that is required to set the system rolling,” explains Sellers. Strongly committed to client satisfaction, 360data places a high priority on keeping their client’s data safe and attains that through secure data centers with penetration detection and other safety measures in place.

As part of the process to learn about a client’s specific needs, team sits down with them to understand the integration points that they require and the technological elements to be integrated with the TMS. Some of the implementation efforts utilize standard EDI, which has been in the marketplace for decades. In unique and customized implementations, XML is used for seamless integration with other technologies. At times, a client may only have PDF documents. In those cases, 360data uses optical character recognition to read the data. The TMS implementation takes an average of 60 to 90 days, the latter being the case for complex networks and requirements. “We do what it takes to make our clients happy while utilizing 360data’s technology,” remarks Sellers.

The 360data team works in collaboration with their clients to implement new functionality and maintains a high service level to address client requirements quickly. Today, leading third-party logistics providers, transportation brokers, retailers, and shippers that use all modes of transportation are a part of 360data’s expanding customer base.

The year ahead looks promising as Sellers believes that the increasing need for TMS solutions with great customer service in the U.S. shipper market will be responsible for the rapid expansion that 360data foresees. Translating this high demand into action with an augmented TMS is what 360data plans to roll out in the next few years.