The future favors the prepared, McLeod Software’s CEO told his customers. In this world of economic uncertainty and other disruptions, leveraging the right technology and data can give fleets and 3PLs the edge.
NASHVILLE—As fleet customer demands continue to rise, transportation technology is expanding. If used right, the technology and data can create opportunities for success, according to McLeod Software CEO Tom McLeod.
“It’s more important than ever for transportation companies to stay up on technology,” he said during a sit-down with trucking industry media at his company’s user conference at the Music City Center.
During his opening address, McLeod said it would be interesting to see how rising interest rates impact the trucking industry. “But as we’ve said before, from this platform, uncertainty and disruption create opportunity. When there’s uncertainty in the economy, uncertainty in the business climate, when there’s disruption—that creates opportunity if you’re prepared. The future favors the people that are prepared,” he told a hall of more than 1,500 conference attendees.
“We’re certainly trying to keep ourselves in that category,” McLeod later told FleetOwner.
To find opportunities, fleet leaders can use evolving technologies, such as digital freight matching.
“Much of that can be automated,” McLeod said. “So the carriers, freight brokerage companies that are prepared can tap into that capacity and available freight capability—and automate much of the decision-making. They can move more freight per person to really increase their productivity and become a leader in really providing for the needs of the shipper.
“The more that companies learn about these new technologies, these new methods, the more they know how to use them and trust that technology, they’ll be able to stay ahead of the competition and serve their customers in a better way.”
MPact PRO allows carriers and 3PLs to benchmark themselves against the rest of the market and gain a deeper understanding of market rate dynamics in any given origin, destination, or lane.
Earlier this year, McLeod Software rolled out an expanded version of its MPact trucking lane and rate analysis tool. MPact Pro’s expanded offerings allow carriers and 3PLs to benchmark themselves against the rest of the freight market, using data from more than 1,000 companies.
Using colorful maps and graphs, MPact Pro shows market rate dynamics on any origin, destination, or lane, working within the LoadMaster system for fleets and PowerBroker system for brokerages. McLeod said this data analysis could help users seeking to optimize daily spot rates or bidding out seasonal contracts.
“It’s just amazing the enormous power of computing these days,” said McLeod, who started his software company in 1985. “That that lets us do a whole lot more with the information that’s available.”
Because it’s easier for reliable data to be shared quickly and securely, software developers like McLeod can offer data and analysis to decision-makers. “It’s just amazing and really a night-and-day difference from that period in the mid-’80s when companies were installing computers for the very first time. And we really were just replacing the typewriter.”
McLeod expands TMS integrations, announces new offerings
During the conference, McLeod also announced the company published its open application programming interface (API) integration point for mobile communications, ELD systems, and tracking solutions. Two companies, fleet management solutions provider Isaac Instruments and trailer tracking provider TGI-Connect were the first to be certified within the McLeod LoadMaster system.
McLeod first introduced web service APIs for LoadMaster and PowerBroker in 2010. Since that time, the McLeod Web Services API has grown to include hundreds of available functions for customers. This has allowed McLeod customers to extend the capabilities of their systems and create their integration solutions without any modifications to their core McLeod system.
Tom McLeod said the company intends to keep expanding the API layer in the coming years, which he said will allow his customers to take advantage of the system’s open nature. In addition to the Isaac and TGI integrations with LoadMaster through the open API, McLeod added LB Technology and GPS Insights integrations earlier this year. It also expanded integration solutions with Descartes MacroPoint and Motive (formerly KeepTruckin).
During the user conference, McLeod also announced it is rebranding its “Hosted Solutions” to “Cloud Services.” The CEO said he resisted the urge to call it “McCloud Services.” The service already has more than 300 companies with more than 10,000 daily users who rely on McLeod Software hosting services for its applications.
To meet the diverse needs of its customers, Cloud Services offers more options for customers to choose from when McLeod does the application hosting.
The new Carrier Invoice Processing module announced at the conference helps brokers and 3PLs quickly collect, identify, index, and match carrier documents electronically to speed the carrier payment process. McLeod said the new offering uses optical character recognition technology to reduce the need for people to review images. In addition, the system helps back-office staff handle exceptions, such as multiple loads on a single invoice or OS&D claims associated with a load.
By accurately and automatically moving carrier invoices along through the process, carriers get paid faster, and the 3PL spends far less time and work on the process,” according to Mark Cubine, McLeod’s VP of marketing.
The company also announced a new web browser user interface for its systems, debuting with a new PowerBroker Web offering. Cubine said it was developed with 3PL customers, who are getting the beta version of the interface. It is expected to roll out to all customers in 2023.