Transplace delivers useful blend of transportation software, logistics and consulting services

Transplace is creating a compelling niche for itself as both a third-party logistics provider (3PL) and an on-demand transportation management software (TMS) vendor—a hybrid capable of delivering a custom mix of services depending on company needs. Qualifying itself as non-asset based, CEO Tom Sanderson explains, “We don't have trucks,” electing instead to focus on the human ...

09/01/2008


Transplace is creating a compelling niche for itself as both a third-party logistics provider (3PL) and an on-demand transportation management software (TMS) vendor—a hybrid capable of delivering a custom mix of services depending on company needs.

Qualifying itself as non-asset based, CEO Tom Sanderson explains, “We don't have trucks,” electing instead to focus on the human capital expertise embedded in Transplace's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform. Customers are supported in every aspect of physically moving goods to market—from designing distribution chains to measuring the performance of carriers—including turnkey outsourced transportation management services.

The company processes more than 40 million electronic transactions annually, hosts 15,000 concurrent users at any given time, and moves more than one million shipments a year. It also just launched Transplace Consulting , which it says offers the right blend of expertise and services for building flexible supply chains.

The new consulting unit delivers logistics engineering analysis and design services to uncover areas where customers can reduce total transportation and inventory holding costs.

Managing $2.75 billion in freight, the Transplace database holds information on present lane costs and capacity available in the market. Transplace Consulting combines that information with analytical skills sets and software to build an understanding of specific supply chain challenges and opportunities for improvement.

Senior VP Matthew Menner say a key advantage is the vendor's independence in selecting the optimal combination of carriers to enable end-to-end supply chain visibility.

“We have full capabilities to handle shipments, for example, that originate in Shanghai and are destined for Portland,” says Menner, “including movement by truck to the port in China, to loading, ocean transit, and off-loading and transit to L.L. Bean in Maine.”

Customer needs played heavily into Transplace software development for Chicago-based United States Gypsum (USG).

“USG uses our platform, but it is very involved in managing its carrier relationships, doing its own price negotiations, and holding contracts,” explains Menner. “We do auditing and rating of carrier shipment performance. We modeled USG's business—and the way they think about business—and emulated that in our software.”

Another service Transplace offers is its annual Shipper Symposium . The most recent event surrounded issues like carbon footprint reductions and coping with rising fuel costs.

Carbon footprint is a hot button because transportation represents a significant source of CO2 emissions, says Adrian Gonzalez, director of the logistics executive council for Dedham, Mass.-based ARC Advisory Group . For many companies, he adds, fuel now accounts for 20 percent to 30 percent of their total transportation spend. Since fuel prices are not something companies can directly control, the challenge is in gaining visibility into spending on fuel surcharges.

“The best way for shippers to mitigate rising fuel costs is to optimize their transportation operations, looking for ways to reduce the number of trucks needed for shipments, and the number of miles driven,” says Gonzalez. “This is where a logistics services provider like Transplace can provide the greatest value.”

Right now, rising fuel costs are impacting Norcross, Ga.-based Rock-Tenn 's packaging products business, which is why the company is working with Transplace to investigate rail and intermodal opportunities, a dedicated fleet, its own private fleets, and average truckload weight.

“Our customers now focus more on sustainability, which makes it easier to sell intermodal/rail,” says Ben Cubitt, VP of logistics and transportation for Rock-Tenn. “It's a big shift where there's a tie to 'green' or 'sustainability' that helps sell transportation modes. Transplace is a unique venue to collect a lot of information and benchmark what we're doing against what others are doing.”


Logistics management systems specialist Transplace seeks to blend the optimal combination of carriers, services, and integration efforts to achieve end-to-end visibility across the supply chain.