Welcome back to our series on shared capacity. So far we’ve covered the market forces requiring capacity sharing, and why FourKites is unlocking hidden capacity through dedicated fleets and contracted carriers. While this approach seems simple, it’s actually quite complex. Historically, there have been three main barriers to widespread adoption of this approach:
We’ve designed Lane Connect to overcome these three barriers, and to ensure that shippers, carriers, and brokers can tap into unused capacity in their networks.
The first step in embarking on any collaboration initiative is identifying optimal partners with whom to partner. When it comes to sharing capacity, this can be incredibly difficult without the right data. Companies need a way to identify others who are interested in collaboration, and then securely share lane-level data to find complementary lanes. To further complicate things, once companies agree to collaborate across specified lanes and have solidified their route guides, they need a way to ensure that freight from one partner is automatically matched to an asset from the other partner. Without a purpose-built platform ingesting real-time data from each partner, this relationship is impossible to facilitate without substantial manual intervention.
Lane Connect was built to break down data siloes. While one half of the solution allows users to identify others who are interested in collaborating and provides a list of complementary lanes between them, the other half solidifies that collaboration into their route guide, and helps them match pre-tendered loads to assets within the partner network.
There are, of course, some success stories of companies who have been able to identify collaborative lanes and set up ad-hoc processes to share capacity without a third-party software solution. While impressive, these projects are rarely repeatable because they are based on tribal knowledge. They are typically spearheaded by one person at each company, who has entrenched knowledge of the existing technology platforms at their company and the partner; knows who to contact at the partner company when issues arise; and understands the unique business practices and goals of their partner. These things can take years to master, and if one of the leaders of this initiative leaves the company or is reassigned to another team, the project is doomed to failure.
FourKites’ Lane Connect provides a clear framework for digital collaboration that decreases the reliance on tribal knowledge. Our platform acts as a technological bridge between companies, so that collaboration can easily scale, regardless of changes in technology, staffing, or lanes.
Lack of Real-Time Data
While some existing software solutions can help shippers identify complementary lanes, the biggest barrier to capacity sharing remains the lack of real-time data in these platforms.
Identifying complementary lanes is just the first step in capacity sharing. To ensure companies can seamlessly collaborate across those lanes, they need a way to match pre-tendered loads to assets in their partner network – in real time. From the beginning, our expertise has been in ingesting real-time data to provide visibility to shippers, carriers, brokers and 3PLs, and we are proud to be the first and only provider to address this critical step of the collaboration process.
Before implementing a collaboration strategy for capacity sharing, companies must ensure they have the resources they need to securely share data, scale the project, and execute in real time. Without these core elements in place, companies will be unable to realize the full potential of collaboration and the value it brings to all parties across the supply chain ecosystem.