A consortium of freight sector companies that is creating an industry standard for shipment appointment scheduling has added seven new collaborators, saying the announcement brings it closer to its goal of driving operational efficiencies for the logistics and transportation industry.
The Scheduling Standards Consortium (SSC) was established in late 2022 by three founding members: Convoy, J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., and Uber Freight. That group now expands to 10 with the addition of: Arrive Logistics, Blue Yonder, Coyote Logistics, e2open, Echo Logistics, One Network Enterprises, and Oracle.
Adding the group of seven prominent industry TMS and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) today adds to the project’s momentum, SSC founding member Bill Driegert, who is Uber Freight’s co-founder and head of operations, said in an interview. “We knew we had to start in a manageable way to get the documentation kickstarted. But to make this work, we have to bring the whole industry together.”
The consortium’s objective is to define an API standard for sharing scheduling information, implementing that standard to enable integrations in existing systems, and advocating for the standard across the industry. According to SSC, that standard will ultimately bring more cohesion and resiliency to the movement of goods, making it easier to book and manage appointments, and optimize processes for drivers, shippers, and receivers.
As a next step, the SSC aims to sign on additional brokers and 3PLs, transportation management system (TMS) and warehouse management system (WMS) vendors, and others in the coming months. Meanwhile, the group’s initial documentation and System Interaction Model are underway and will be shared publicly in the second quarter of this year, and the technical standard and API design will be completed and implemented in at least one TMS by the end of 2023.
Although the seven new members come aboard during a current freight cycle downturn, participants will benefit from using a scheduling standard to ease operational friction in either a soft or a tight market, said Dan Lewis, founder and CEO of Convoy. As proof of that, he said, “Shippers are already asking, ‘I also work with these other [freight transportation] partners; do they participate in the scheduling consortium too?’ So this is where we see pressure coming from to motivate more companies to prioritize joining.”
In the SSC’s view, removing that friction can reveal efficiencies across multiple facets of freight operations during any market conditions, improving everything from yard and dock throughput to warehouse labor levels.
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