- Convoy has launched a transportation management system (TMS) that allows shippers to manage existing carriers while having access to Convoy's network of capacity and real-time pricing, according to a press release emailed to Supply Chain Dive.
- "Convoy Connect is the digital version of a shipper's routing guide," Lindsay Watt, head of product for Convoy Connect, told Supply Chain Dive in an email.
- This new tool can be used to automatically email carriers to collect bids, schedule appointments and see which driver is carrying a load.
Digital freight brokers, like Convoy, have begun partnering with TMS vendors "to provide an integration for loads where contracted rates cannot be found or honored," Gartner noted in its 2019 "Hype Cycle for Supply Chain Execution Technologies" report.
Carrier and supplier appointment scheduling, a feature often found in a TMS, can reduce the administrative workload required to manage the process, Gartner said. " If managed properly, this approach can improve relations with an enterprise’s carriers, customers and suppliers because the system can be more responsive than manual processes," the report read.
The market for TMS technologies is expected to grow to $198.82 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research. This is being partially led by the growth in e-commerce parcels which in turn is leading shippers and carriers to look for automated solutions, Grand View Research said in a press release.
Uber Freight, one of Convoy's competitors in the digital freight brokerage landscape, announced a partnership with TMS provider MercuryGate in August. Uber framed it as having similar benefits: the visibility of a TMS with the real-time pricing of digital freight brokerage. Uber Freight said it would continue "to partner with leading TMS providers," in a blog post.
Some transportation teams still rely on spreadsheets and emails to plan shipments. Manually emailing and calling carriers to collect bids is a time-intensive process and can make tracking shipments especially difficult, according to Convoy.
Shippers can import their lanes, carriers and rates into Convoy Connect. The carriers do not have to sign up or create an account, Watt said.
"Existing Convoy shippers have automatic access to Convoy Connect and don't have to do anything differently," he said. "To be clear, Convoy Connect is a new tool and it is available automatically to all Convoy shippers."
When shippers create a shipment in Convoy Connect it walks them through the requirements for the load including the pick-up and drop-off locations, appointment times and the type of trailer. It then allows the shipper to send the load to a carrier it already has a contract with, conduct an auction or use Convoy's network