Innovative technology has the potential to change the game in the logistics industry, automating many processes that once had to be completed manually and capitalizing on ways to make operations more efficient. I sat down with Martin Prunell, sophilabs Co-founder and Project Manager, to discuss some of the opportunities in logistics and how sophilabs helped Advent eModal rise to the occasion.
What are some of the software challenges facing the logistics industry as a whole?
MP: Logistics companies often work with legacy systems that have been in use for a long time. These systems need improvements in functionality, design, and user experience.
Another problem is that many times trucking companies need to acquire information about cargo from various data sources. They need this data to make decisions, and often they have to manually search for it in different systems and even manually check email for notifications from other systems. As a result, it's very difficult for someone in the logistics industry to stay constantly up-to-date on the status of a load.
What about the challenges facing Advent eModal specifically?
MP: The challenge for Advent is to offer all data in a consistent way for their clients (port authorities and the companies that manage containers at these ports). Keeping data up-to-date for eight of the ten largest ports in the U.S. – an enormous amount of data – is difficult. They need to maintain consistency and performance while ensuring systems are always online and functioning.
Another challenge is to offer modern solutions so that trucking companies can always obtain the information they need without having to go to multiple data providers in order to track their cargo. This requires a lot of software development, testing, QA, and product management, in addition to constant technology upgrades, systems administration, and the administration of a database of millions, perhaps even hundreds of millions, of data points.
What makes sophilabs' team especially equipped to deal with these challenges?
MP: Sophilabs' experience working with logistics companies like Advent eModal and Envio360 allows us to successfully provide support for all of these software challenges. We have an excellent team of software engineers, architects, and testers who understand the problems logistics platforms need to handle and can develop quality solutions to address them.
Sophilabs also has the flexibility to adapt to a logistics client's team and their organizational culture. We offer the additional advantage of nearshore services; in contrast to offshore software development services, our developers' times zones are the same or similar to our clients in the continental U.S.
Sophilabs worked with Advent eModal to build EDS, an API service that connects directly to a dispatcher or trucking company's existing TMS (transportation management system). Can you tell me a bit about what EDS does and the opportunities it takes advantage of?
MP: EDS offers access to the data that eModal has so that trucking companies can track containers. The system notifies the user every time there is an update about a container. In this way, users at a trucking company don't need to manually log on and search for information on particular containers. Instead, their own TMS will notify them of any changes. The trucking company can connect their existing TMS to EDS through the API that sophilabs has developed.
In addition to container updates, users can also schedule appointments for a truck to pick up or drop off a container at a port. EDS allows trucking companies to book these appointments from within their own TMS. They don't have to enter an external system. EDS can even make these appointments automatically, facilitating efficient operations management.
Sophilabs also created Empty Manager, a street turn app. How does Empty Manager improve daily operations for trucking companies?
MP: Empty Manager allows users who need an empty container to obtain one close to their location on the day they need it. In this way, they don't need to wait for the container they originally transported to be unloaded inland and return to the port. This platform optimizes transport. A user can notify the system ahead of time that they will have an empty container so that someone looking for an empty can reserve it immediately. This optimizes the number of trips that trucks and containers need to make.
Why should logistics companies trust sophilabs to help them with their software development needs?
MP: Our high level of technical expertise and our high level of commitment. We have been working with logistics companies for years, and we understand their pain points and what kinds of solutions can best help them take advantage of opportunities in this industry. Our time zone also benefits the quality of our work, as we're able to collaborate with our clients in real time.
Want to find out more about our experience in the logistics industry? Get in touch, and we'll be happy to answer any questions you may have!
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