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TMS – The Digital Disruption Enabler for 3PLs


TMS – The Digital Disruption Enabler for 3PLs

It’s clear that digital transformation is rapidly upon us in transportation and is changing the way managed transportation 3PLs and truckload brokerages are doing business. Advances in technology, adoption of APIs, and huge disruptor companies are evolving the market faster than most can keep up. This transformation is only accelerating.

Disruptive Companies Are Changing Customer Expectations

Uber Freight, Convoy, and Amazon Freight are examples of the new digital freight marketplaces (DFM). A DFM is designed to allow shippers to book truckloads in the spot market electronically – usually over an app or an API. It’s a service that gives real-time truckload quotes, electronic tendering, and real-time tracking. If your business is primarily a classic brokerage, then this affects you.

The DFMs are already changing the way many shippers do business. These marketplaces are not going to erase classic brokerage, but there is no doubt they will change it and the way that many are doing brokerage. Not that classic brokerage is going away anytime soon, but we are seeing a rapid evolution of customer expectations. Customers’ digital expectations for visibility, automation, tracking, quoting, and payment are now growing and will soon evolve into general requirements.

To be clear, only very few companies with deep pockets can set up a DFM. A mid-sized brokerage firm trying to compete with what Uber Freight is doing is unrealistic. Instead, companies can look at their own strengths and carve their own path. LSPs (3PLs and Brokers) have the opportunity to write their own digital transformation story or run the risk of remaining complacent in a changing world of digital technology.

What Is Your Digital Transformation Strategy?

Every LSP company should be asking themselves how they are dealing with digital transformation. As an LSP, the details of digital disruption are unique to your business model, and it’s important to have a plan. Yet many companies overthink the issue or feel it’s too large of a task to do anything about. History shows us that most winning strategies come from simple core ideas, not just massive disruptors.

Innovative companies know that disruption creates opportunity. And it’s clear that the digital transformation going on in transportation will create opportunities. Every LSP needs to look at their own business model, figure out what makes them unique, and carve a path. It’s ineffective to try to duplicate what the high-profile companies are doing. It would be like trying to replicate what Amazon did for retail. Competing against Amazon in retail is reserved for the very few, yet many have learned how to profit off Amazon by creating their own specialized fulfillment model. The same is true of the digital disruption going on in transportation.

Very few companies should be looking to compete directly against Uber Freight or Convoy. Yet all should be looking at their own model and chart their own digital transformation path. This is where transportation management software like 3Gtms is uniquely positioned to help. It is not the system that will turn an LSP into the next Uber Freight, but it will serve as the central platform – the intelligent system of record that allows flexibility in how an LSP executes its own unique business model. A TMS is the central point of an LSP’s transformation – it’s the digital disruption “enabler.”

Putting a Digital Transformation System in Place

When it comes to system structure, the key to designing a good environment starts at the core. And a successful core includes functionality and automation that supports business objects, workflow, intelligence, and integrations. For an LSP, that system is their TMS, as the TMS runs their transportation operations. Call it their “central rally point” for information or their “single source of truth.” A technology that connects customers, vendors, and carriers while serving as the platform to leverage digital disruption opportunities. A Fully Connected Transportation Management System goes beyond simple RESTful API integrations because it connects natively to other business systems and operates as an enabler for different technologies.

Leveraging a cloud-based TMS as a rallying point combines information from integrations with business intelligence for a total technology package. Turning data into business intelligence, workflows, and automation is more complicated than mapping fields. Most systems can use an API to map fields but lack functionality to determine rates/margin, find a distance, calculated drive times, chose equipment type, and most importantly, identify missing data and create this data when necessary. Technology has to be smart to execute on digital transformation opportunities. Exception-based management is a basic requirement as next-level systems look to manage as many exceptions as possible so users can focus on true issues and generate more business.

A solution like 3Gtms delivers the different integrations and technology required to build a successful digital transformation strategy. For example, the solution includes connections to load boards for TL capacity, mileage engines, tariff services for rates, OCR for paperwork and document management, ELD and visibility mapping services, carrier insurance onboarding, rate index data, informational portals, and many other features. It’s the robustness of the software in combination with the software’s integrations to create an actionable platform for LSPs to get ahead. The technology’s ability to scale is also essential, especially when maximizing opportunities created by larger DFMs.

This is where LSPs look at the technology puzzle they wish to solve. Identify customer needs, capture a larger target market, and expand business lines. What digital components do you need to meet these goals and grow your business? Is it time to explore outside of traditional silos? For example, brokers and distributors are doing more managed transportation while TL fleets are offering more 3PL services. Understand what your company does best and what your customers need, then write your own digital disruption story.

Embracing Opportunities to Digitally Disrupt

This brings us back to the digital disruption going on in the transportation industry. The opportunistic LSPs will carve their own path and realize that the key to growth lies in their core technologies. Leveraging a TMS to rally around will centralize their information and enable transportation execution regardless of their planned strategies. It’s here that 3Gtms is differentiated in the marketplace as a single platform that marries technical abilities and integrations in the LSP space. Because of this, 3G customers quickly realize the importance of having a central TMS and how this technology helps obtain their vision.

It’s an exciting point in the history of logistics as digital changes emphasize supply chain technology and the need to utilize digital strategies for success. As more LSPs upgrade their technology stack, they will be better positioned to leverage new digitally-driven opportunities. And by using a scalable platform like 3Gtms, they get advanced TMS functionality for today and all the tomorrows to come.

Are you an LSP trying to decide if you should leverage a TMS to meet your digital transformation goals? Use this checklist to see if any of your objectives can be solved by 3Gtms.


-Do you need APIs and portals for customers and carriers to interact with you?

-Do you want to use TL automation to streamline processes?

-Do you need logistics exception reporting and automation?

-Do you need workflow and process automation?

-Do you struggle to connect your ERP, OMS, WMS, carrier, customer, and vendor data?

-Do your customers need simple portals for their CSR’s to quote?

-Do you use standalone load boards, visibility trackers, SMC3 rating, distance calculations, carrier tendering, OCR document management, or other disconnected systems?


JP Wiggins is the co-founder and Vice President of Logistics for 3G. 3G is a leading provider of cloud-based end-to-end transportation management software (TMS) for omnichannel shippers, e-commerce companies, 3PLs, and freight brokers. Our solutions include 3Gtms, our multi-modal transportation planning, optimization, execution, and settlement system; and Pacejet, our advanced multi-carrier shipping software. For more information, visit

digital transformation

The Digital Highway: How to further your company’s digital transformation through a shared digital space

As 2020 forced companies to move their employees largely from shared offices to individual home offices, the exchange of digital information became even more vital and the process of digital transformation was accelerated. Without the ability to physically interact with a printed document in a group setting, collaboration has moved to a virtual space and the digital exchange of documents, whether that be via email, remote conferencing solutions, or shared cloud solutions, is more common than ever.

When thinking about a company’s shared digital space, consider it a digital highway, with documents and information zipping around between users and being shared across two opposing directions. This framework encourages enterprising companies to think of this shift to the digital exchange of information in terms of an on-ramp and off-ramp and then determine how they are best enabling employees to get important information on and off that digital highway.

Determining employee needs

Before deciding on how to implement the digital transformation for your organization, consider how information is being shared currently. Does your sales team print out each contract for a signature and then save the hard copy? What about HR paperwork? If you have transitioned to an online onboarding solution, hard copies of W-2s might not be printed in your office anymore. Determining how your organization is currently sharing information and the pain points of that sharing will help define the best way to digitize moving forward.

Getting on the digital highway – from paper to digital

How does information get on the digital highway within an organization? While some documents are created digitally and stay digital throughout their lifecycle, others exist in the physical world on paper, such as signed documents, written notes, reports, contracts, and forms. Scanning those documents from paper to digital is the on-ramp onto the digital highway. When users can’t walk over to their colleague’s cubicle to share the document, file it away in a file cabinet, or drop the file into interoffice mail, the file must be digitized.

Digitizing physical paper makes archiving documents much more efficient, eliminating excess paper files and the need for filing cabinets or storage. For example, a doctor has endless files on all their patients and needs to be able to quickly access those files at any given moment. Having these files digitized makes it possible to find a patient’s file at the click of a button, instead of thumbing through a physical file cabinet to find a paper version. Furthermore, the doctor can also edit this file digitally, adding notes after a patient’s visit or updating their list of medications.

Getting off the digital highway – from digital to paper

Conversely, sometimes information needs to get off the digital highway. Taking an existing document that exists only digitally and making a real-world copy is an often-cited requirement for many industries. Some contracts still require a “wet signature.” Some documents can only be productively reviewed if printed. Some customers and clients may expect or even need physical delivery of paperwork. And even if it’s not a requirement, certainly hardcopy it is a preference for some. Moreover, looking at screens is a drain on the eyes and mind, while interacting with paper can be more productive in many cases.

Printed documents are still very much a part of business transactions today, and many industries still require physical copies for their records or legal reasons. Take the real estate business, for example, which utilizes both digital and physical documents. As a buyer goes through the steps of closing on their new home, they may sign paperwork digitally via applications like DocuSign. This digital paperwork allows the process to keep moving regardless of where the homeowners live in relation to the seller or real estate agent, but upon closing on the home, homeowners receive a physical copy of these documents, an important step in archiving and solidifying the process. The homeowner can then maintain a complete file with copies of all the paperwork that was signed during the transaction with the seller. Homeowners are encouraged to keep a physical copy of this paperwork for several years even after they sell this home so they can easily reference or review it, or use it in the event that they need to file a legal claim.

Choosing the right solutions

Technological advances, such as mobile print and scan apps, connect the digital and physical worlds within a company’s technological ecosystem from an easily accessible device like a cell phone. Companies that take full advantage of technology such as this can enable their employees a simple interchange between the digital and the physical worlds from a device in which every employee is already armed with. Those that started using these technologies prior to the pandemic were poised for a better transition and will continue to be in today’s changing work environments, compared to those that have focused solely on digital or solely on physical information exchange.

There are substantial benefits to both employees and employers in connecting the digital and physical worlds. For one, solutions that connect these two worlds streamline workflow in any industry, increasing the efficiency and productivity of employees. They further an organization’s digital transformation while ensuring simple solutions for employees that don’t require extensive IT knowledge. They also create business resiliency by maintaining some normalcy for employees who have different job functions and require different equipment. Increasingly we are seeing companies investing more in at-home set-ups and in the future, printing and scanning solutions could be part of that setup. And the companies that give more time and energy to their digital transformations will best be set up for the changing future of our workplaces and work environments.


5 IT Best Practices for the Digital Transformation of Businesses in 2021

Many businesses across North America just experienced their worst year for sales as the pandemic, and its associated restrictions, prompted closures for much of 2020-2021. As a result, every aspect of business has been challenged – from supply chain issues and evolving delivery methods to addressing new expectations from both consumers and employees.

To meet the demands of the new digital-first era we now find ourselves in, companies are adopting cloud-based tools and technologies at an accelerated rate. But true digital business transformation is more complicated and 70% of digital transformation strategies will fail (BCG analysis, October 2020). To ensure long-term, sustainable change, companies’ IT departments must focus on five key things:

1. Establishing a digital mindset, one of continuous innovation, across the entire organization

Culture change is one of the most difficult challenges of any business transformation. Executive leadership must initiate the change and demonstrate commitment to pivot by adopting an agile governance mindset. As the relationship between IT and business value deepens, the role of the IT department will become more critical to creating and accelerating profitable business growth. It is important for CIOs and the executive team to actively drive agile behaviors across the enterprise. This means establishing agile principles cross-functionally and adapting to change based on context and continuous learning.

2. Adopting modern, agile, and scalable digital technology architecture to fundamentally redefine the ways in which the organization operates

Many companies manage a wide variety of IT systems and mobile tech devices, but not all have mastered how to efficiently integrate new applications and cloud services with existing and/or third-party infrastructure. Solutions that enable full, omnichannel integration across all platforms will be important for businesses to ensure that key data is always available in real-time to make agile, more informed decisions. This helps businesses streamline operations to enhance efficiency, while reducing costs and building resiliency.

3. Capturing and activating data to better engage audiences and improve the customer experience

Customers’ expectations are radically changing – and so should the experiences your business delivers. Cloud-based tools and technologies allow brands to compete more effectively by ensuring that every interaction across every platform is delivering a consistent experience for the customer. This is achieved by seamlessly integrating commerce with other IT applications to give business decision makers a comprehensive picture of the customer journey, thereby allowing them to capture and activate key data to improve personalization, engagement, and brand loyalty.

4. Ensuring the best people are in the right places to drive the transformation

Undertaking a digital transformation is no easy task. Many organizations lack the right mix of skills and expertise required to execute a successful pivot to digital. Companies should carefully assess the roles and talent needed and look to external staffing and consulting firms that specialize in digital transformation solutions to fill gaps in their IT department.

5. Creating clear and effective tools to monitor progress and measure success

Businesses that develop effective monitoring tools and strategic metrics are more likely to be successful at digital transformation. This may include clearly defining operational or financial metrics, regularly tracking outcomes and roadblocks, and measuring productivity. Most importantly, it is advisable that companies maintain a single source of truth on data to ensure everyone involved – no matter their role or department – has access to the same analytics and information.


Keith Hontz is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Savantis. In this role, he oversees all key aspects of operations across Savantis SAP Global Solutions consulting services and Savantis Global Staffing services. With nearly 25 years of industry experience, Keith is a digital business transformation expert, helping organizations create operational efficiencies, derive deeper insights from data, improve their customer experience, and transform into Intelligent Enterprises. Keith joins Savantis following his successful role as CEO of SocketLabs, an industry leader in high-volume email infrastructure, where he quickly built his leadership team, onboarded an enterprise sales organization, and helped establish double-digit YoY revenue growth in his first year with the Company. Prior to SocketLabs, Hontz spent more than two decades at SAP America where he held key positions including Global VP, Regional VP, and other leadership roles in consulting, presales, product management, sales, and executive management, and engaged with hundreds of SAP customers in the private and public sectors.

northern triangle

The Northern Triangle is Ready for a Digital Trade Agreement With the United States

The COVID-19 crisis highlights the need for a digital trade agreement between the United States and the Central American nations of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – and the Northern Triangle is ready.

The power of digital technologies to curtail corruption, strengthen governance, reduce labor informality, improve the investment environment, and promote job creation was recognized by the region’s governments and businesses even before COVID-19, but the pandemic has made the benefits of digitization even clearer and more urgent.

This opens an opportunity that the Biden administration should move fast to seize. A digital trade agreement consistent with U.S. practices would accelerate the Northern Triangle’s digital transformation while locking in much-needed reforms.

In an innovative approach, the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative simulated a digital trade negotiation to assess the readiness of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – individually and as a regional group – to commit to the most rigorous digital trade provisions in effect today. Participants in our simulation included former government trade negotiators, business leaders and tech entrepreneurs, as well as prominent think tanks in Central America. We published the results in a recent report, in which we determine that the countries of the Northern Triangle are ready for a high-standard digital agreement.

Each country has been developing regulations to govern digital transactions and online platforms that are broadly in line with provisions in the most recently concluded digital trade agreements. They include the digital trade chapter of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the U.S.-Japan Digital Trade Agreement, and the groundbreaking Digital Economy Partnership Agreement signed by Singapore, Chile and New Zealand.

The United States already has a free trade agreement with Central America, but it was enacted long before digital chapters became routine in U.S. trade agreements. Concluding a freestanding agreement on digital trade is an expedient and efficient way to add significant value to the free trade agreement already in force.

It would also complement the technical assistance provided by organizations including the Inter-American Development Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation that is focused on building the infrastructure needed to digitize Northern Triangle economies.

A U.S.-Northern Triangle digital trade agreement could also incorporate regulatory cooperation and trade capacity building designed to encourage interoperability of regulations and hard infrastructure in the region, which would reinforce resiliency and attract higher investment.

Trade capacity building and regulatory cooperation between the United States and the Northern Triangle countries could help expand the electronic delivery of critical government services, assist governments to efficiently expand broadband and allocate spectrum throughout the region, and support investments in a digital-ready workforce.

The pandemic forced economic life to move online all over the world. Online shopping and payments turbocharged online retail operations. Cloud computing and software services are transforming business-to-business transactions. Digital platforms have become a lifeline for small- and medium-sized businesses while expanding their ability to reach customers worldwide. Digitization of government services is helping curtail corruption and promote efficiency in government services.

The embrace of digital technologies in response to COVID-19 showcases one of the most critical paths for the Northern Triangle toward inclusive economic growth. Conversely, if El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras fail to digitize, they risk exclusion from modern global value chains, diminished investment opportunities, a widening social welfare gap, and sustained levels of migration away from the region.

Most importantly, the time is now. What the Northern Triangle needs is momentum toward a strong, post-COVID regional economy. A digital trade agreement with the United States would offer a major boost with long-lasting positive effects for the Northern Triangle and our own economic relationship with the region.


This article was written by Matthew Rooney, George W. Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative Director, and Andrea Durkin, Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative Advisor

Commissioned Survey Reveals Digital Maturity is Overestimated

A global research survey conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Ivalua revealed digital maturity is overestimated among most organizations within supply chain, procurement, and finance business leaders. A digital maturity index was used to evaluate organizations’ structure, strategy, process, measurement and technology and identified the stage of digital maturity. The results revealed only 16 percent of organizations were confirmed to have an advanced level of digital maturity in procurement out of the 65 percent of organizations that claimed to be advanced.

“Procurement leaders have the opportunity to deliver a true competitive advantage for their organizations,” said David Khuat-Duy, Corporate CEO of Ivalua. “Digital transformation is critical to success, but requires a realistic assessment of current maturity, a clear vision for each stage of the journey and the right technology.”

Additionally, the study discovered poor levels of supplier onboarding and poor user adoption were the top two primary reasons why organizations consider switching technology providers if they haven’t already, directly impacting their digital transformation efforts. Of these companies, only 17 percent are able to onboard new suppliers in less than one month while 59 percent take anywhere between one to three months.

“To ensure that technology empowers procurement transformation, rather than constrains it, leaders must consider their current and future requirements when evaluating options,” added David Khuat-Duy. “Doing so ensures a steady progression along their journey and the ability to gain an edge on competitors.

“Ivalua is uniquely able to empower and accelerate every stage of the digital transformation journey. Our platform helps organisations overcome obstacles like poor supplier onboarding and low user adoption. This is why we maintain the industry’s highest customer retention rate, at over 98%, year after year, while serving the most demanding brands in the world.”

To review the study in its entirety, visit:

Tigers’ Global Presence Increased with New Sales Team

International supply chain and logistics company, Tigers, continues furthering its global presence through the designation of four new sales representatives. The new sales team will cover the Asia-Pacific, South Africa, Europe, and North American regions while supporting the company’s efforts to keep up with the recent increase in customer demand.
“Following the successful global expansion of Tigers and the launch of SmartHub:Connect in 2018, the new global sales team will raise the profile of Tigers on the international market as we continue to grow,” said Andrew Jillings, Chief Executive Officer at Tigers. “It is an exciting time for Tigers as we embrace disruptive digital technology in order to provide our customers with end-to-end visibility through customizable solutions.”
Covering the Geneva region is Regional Director for Global Sales Christian Bonnet. He brings with him fashion and apparel and e-commerce specializations. APAC Regional Sales Director Paul Huang brings with him expertise in international freight management and e-commerce, as seen with his previous tenure over Tigers’ China organisation.
Chicago-based Vice President of Growth, Amber Braband, will focus primarily on the Americas region while Johannesburg-based General Manager of Sales, Sean Gothe, will invest his efforts towards growth in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The representatives are based in key locations across four continents, and as we continue to expand our e-commerce and digital technology platform, they will lead the strategic growth focus in this arena.” said Jillings.
Source: Tigers