Technology is all about convenience. Nearly every industry on the planet has kept pace with the digital age, leveraging technological advances to create a more convenient client experience. Yet somehow, the logistics industry remains largely mired in inconvenient, old fashioned legacy systems and management practices. Incredibly, many logistics companies still painstakingly manage individual shipments with spreadsheets and little or no visibility. This almost invariably leads to wasted time, increased cost and frustrated clients.
According to a recent survey published in the February 20, 2018 issue of Supply Chain Management, more than half of American import businesses are in fact still using spreadsheets to manage their international supply chain.
“More than 20,000 users have experienced significant cost reduction as a direct result of utilizing ims’ tracking and rate solutions – Slava Kleyman”
The survey revealed the depth of the rampant inefficiencies plaguing the industry. Although the US Department of Commerce reported a 6.7 percent increase in imports in 2017 - the fastest rate of growth in seven years–nearly half of import business owners often spend over two hours arranging a single shipment. 83 percent do not have full visibility into the location of their shipment during the import process. Dismal rates of shipments arriving on time were reported across the board, and less than 12 percent of large importers believe their freight providers are technologically advanced.
AN INDUSTRY INNATELY DRIVEN BY THE CLOSE COORDINATION OF MULTIPLE PARTICIPANTS CONTINUES TO RELY UPON TOOLS FROM THE PRE-DIGITALIZATION AGE
Why would an industry that’s innately driven by the close coordination of multiple participants continue to rely upon tools from the pre-digitalization age? It’s not as logic-defying as it seems. As technology evolved at a lightning pace, businesses that failed to recognize or adapt to the profound changes brewing fell further and further behind. At the same time, those that did see the writing on the wall went on to become pioneers of industry and shape the face of transportation in America.
Slava Kleyman and Nir Granot, key players on today’s transportation landscape, were two of the original pioneers. The duo co-founded IMS in 1995 on the premise that information technology, then in its earliest stages, would fundamentally alter the nature and function of the transportation business. Their vision, in a word, was Simplify. Combine old expertise with new tech innovations, streamline land transportation for international shippers, and give everyone in the logistics chain one-stop-shopping for their entire drayage services.
They believed the paradigm shift would reduce costs, increase efficiency, and create an opportunity for exceptional customer support.
Changes to current trucking regulations will continue to negatively impact truck capacity - Nir Granot, President
Granot and Kleyman’s first order of business was reducing the cost and effort required by the old quoting systems. In the late 90’s they launched IMS’s Instant Rate Inquiry System (IRIS), a carefully crafted solution which revolutionized the industry. Today IRIS continues to provide the tools needed to systematically manage the challenging quote process. “We provide customers a complete multi-point request for quotation (RFQ) solution, which enables them to pull 100-150 quotes per minute,” explains Granot.
True to IMS’s vision, IRIS effectively streamlined the quoting process while significantly saving administrative and labor costs. The tool also reduced billing errors, improved cash flow, and increased sales productivity through quote-based activity analysis. Firms gain outright control over their quoting speed, accuracy and visibility, client fuel surcharge management, reporting and analysis, and invoicing.
The electronic invoicing system allows truckers to submit invoices directly through the IMS portal, simplifying the invoicing, vetting, and processing for clients.
“We have complete invoice integrity due to our electronic billing tools,” says Granot, “they save clients an enormous amount of time and money. They are no longer required to deal with the cumbersome task of matching paper invoices to appropriate files and manually entering the data.
Ever the innovator, IMS continued to stay a step ahead of the technology wave. In recent years the company diversified and launched Logistics Management Solutions (LMS), a Logistics Management provider.
The new division delivers an intuitive, cloud-based logistics management platform, while IMS Transport continues to provide outstanding drayage brokerage services. “We provide custom-tailored solutions that benefit everyone in the logistics management chain—from Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCOs), shippers, retailers, and suppliers to freight forwarders, customs brokers, third-party logistics, and motor carriers,” says Granot.
The IMS carrier neutral platform allows clients to easily connect and seamlessly switch between carriers, while maintaining the highest level service.
End-to-End Logistics Management
The prime objective of IMS remains providing companies with a powerful vantage point from which to control their logistics operations. The centralized platform offered by IMS gathers all participants into a single dashboard. The process improves planning, execution, monitoring, tracking, reporting, and analyzing of the operations. With their unique approach to data tracking, IMS’ sophisticated platform catalogs all necessary information in one place and facilitates real-time decision making.
“IMS’ carrier-neutral platform empowers the participants to access the right information, at the right time, to solve their ‘piece of the puzzle’,” says Granot. Every time a stakeholder processes or provides any information, that data is automatically visible to other participants in real-time within the dashboard.
“Our experience shows that we can collect approximately 77 percent of tracking data electronically, but the remaining missing 23 percent can disorganize the entire shipment,” says Granot. IMS manually tracks shipments to fill in the missing pieces of information. With consistent and chronologically arranged data about their shipment, clients are able to completely harness demurrage, storage, and per diem charges that can add up to be extremely costly.
“CHANGES TO CURRENT TRUCKING REGULATIONS WILL CONTINUE TO NEGATIVELY IMPACT TRUCK CAPACITY”
The Optimum Solution
IMS’ wide spectrum of clientele includes some of North America’s largest BCOs, logistics companies, freight forwarders, customs brokers, NVOCC’s, shipping lines, and motor carriers. The solutions each specific client utilizes depends on their business needs, whether that is through the IMS Logistics management platform or through IMS Transport’s managed drayage brokerage services. IMS has been an industry leader in Data Integrity for over 20 years, with a stellar reputation for meticulously collecting, cleansing, and chronologically organizing data from shipping lines, ports, railroads, trucking companies, and customer facilities.
IMS Implementation is a simple, fast, and cost-effective process. The system communicates with legacy tools and is entirely compatible with the client’s current operating system, no new equipment is required.
“THE IMS CARRIER-NEUTRAL PLATFORM EMPOWERS USERS BY ALLOWING THEM IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION WHICH IS NECESSARY TO EXECUTE THEIR PIECE OF THE PUZZLE”- NIR GRANOT
Prepping for the Future
“Changes to current trucking regulations will continue to negatively impact truck capacity,” says Granot. The new ELD mandate went into effect in December 2017 became fully enforceable this month. It’s already causing significant disruptions in service, as well as drastic rate increases. Granot says that the impact on hours of service, combined with the strong economy, will continue to cause turmoil within the logistics community.
“It will take time before the problems work themselves out and equilibrium is established,” says Granot, and adds that before it does, the sector will likely continue to endure uncertainty. He and his customers agree, however, that the solutions provided by IMS have been key in maintaining stability amid the chaos. “Our tools are significantly mitigating the problem for our clients,” says Granot.
Currently offering its solutions and services in the U.S. and Canada, IMS aims to expand its footprint in Europe over the next two years. Additionally, IMS is in the final stages of developing pioneering solutions for truckers to manage their entire quoting process. Moving ahead, IMS is focused not only on addressing the current and emerging needs in the transportation industry, it remains committed to the original vision its founders: identifying budding market needs and remaining a step ahead of them.