Keeping up with the leading 3PLs as a mid-sized forwarder can be tough. Top forwarders have greater access to resources and a larger budget for technology as well as an army of consultants required to optimize their processes.
At a time when shippers are looking for improved customer experience, RCS, like many other forwarders actively scaling their operations, needed to find a way to meet new expectations while maintaining margins.
- RCS Logistics needed to improve their BI and reporting capabilities, and find a sustainable way to build integrations at speed
- Prompt DataMart provided RCS Logistics with a centralized place to store and access data pulled from multiple sources including different forwarding and transportation systems
- The data is also simplified and made readily available for custom reporting and analysis
- Prompt’s Integrate solution provides the framework for RCS’s integrations
- RCS benefit from a simplified and accelerated integration process between systems, with both out of the box integrations such as CargoWise to FourKites, and a scalable approach to building new integrations
Modernizing a logistics tech stack to compete at the top
Modernization (an alternative to the overused buzzword “digitization”) is something that every forwarder has had to think about recently. Between the growing role that software is taking in your business, and changes in what is expected of you by your customers, there’s a lot to process. More compliance, improved customer experience, total shipment visibility. Modernization in forwarding is far more than digitization suggests.
The challenge for RCS Logistics is to compete with the cash rich and highly efficient top 3PLs, without the same levels of access to specialized resources and knowledge. Alongside building the best processes and working with the smartest people to achieve these goals, RCS quickly understood that they’d need to get more out of their existing technology stack.
The new tools would need to fit RCS’s expanding range of services, encompassing all modes of forwarding and 4PL activities. They’d also need to provide the functionality that makes a forwarder highly efficient while delivering real value to customers, such as integrations and improved visibility.
“Previous to this integration we would incur significant costs due to our inability to view data. We are now able to support data-driven decisions through a scalable tool that makes us, and our customers, more successful.” Mike Urban – Manager BI & Pricing
Enhancing existing ERP systems to increase tech ROI
One of the last things forwarders think about when tackling modernization is their Freight Management System. Whether using CargoWise, SoftLink, Riege, or Magaya, each platform lacks some of the modern functionality and customer experience expected in this decade. Rather than looking to core system changes, RCS saw the value in enhancing their existing tech stack, with solutions that they couldn’t find in any of the aforementioned offerings.
Working with Prompt was a straightforward process, as there was a breadth and depth of solutions available (which has subsequently expanded into other high value areas). Two of RCS’s main challenges were:
- Building a greater understanding of their business operations and figuring out how to be more efficient
- Finding a scalable, accessible, and faster way of building integrations with customers and third parties
Prompt’s data warehouse would be used to support RCS’s BI efforts, and Prompt’s Integrate platform would completely overhaul integrations. Using both platforms also offered RCS synergies that would allow them to get even more out of their tech stack, such as feeding data from the new integrations directly into their data warehouse.
Logistics data needs to be centralized and immediately actionable
Platforms like Prompt DataMart and Prompt Connect are usually not single-use scenarios. Working with RCS was no different, with Prompt building a scalable data warehouse allowing RCS to centralize data from multiple systems into a single location.
Centralizing the data is only one small part of the implementation. With the Data Warehouse solution, the data is also simplified, allowing easier access with third-party BI tools to get the information you need, when you need it. This was a crucial part of the development for RCS, who like many forwarders using leading transportation platforms such as CargoWise, are forced to contract third party consultants with specialist SQL and platform knowledge to build expensive custom reports.
Prompt’s pre-existing CargoWise knowledge and experience alongside the Prompt Connect solution for system to system integrations led to a simple implementation for this part of the project. As most platforms like CargoWise and Magaya exist in a single version, we hit the ground running and started building out RCS’s required integrations with third party platforms.
Scalable and sustainable solutions with unlimited potential
Aside from the savings in terms of third party consulting spend for custom reports and custom integrations, the solution offered by Prompt provided unquantifiable benefits that truly enhance RCS’s experience with their core software systems. And let’s not forget it has made them a more attractive business partner and service provider for tech-enabled companies.
In today’s ever more complex logistics landscape, being able to integrate with third parties such as customers, partner agents, and data providers is a need, not a want. By enhancing their integration capabilities with Prompt’s Integrate solution, RCS removed what was considered an obstacle when approaching new business and partnerships.
Being able to offer the quick turnaround times of Integrate helped RCS drive more business, while simultaneously decreasing their labor and costs. Whether pitching to partners for future collaborations or customers who want more granular visibility and control over their logistics – Integrate is a big selling point.
Speed is always a factor when it comes to winning and retaining new business. RCS no longer need to go to third party providers to build ad hoc integrations as requests come in. Prompt Connect offers some connections out of the box, and builds others by working closely with the third party in question. You can read more on this strategy in the press release from April announcing Prompt’s out of the box integration with FourKites for all CargoWise users.
Empowering in-house teams to do more with their logistics data
This solution has entirely removed the need for third party consultants and experts to build ad hoc integrations, which come at a cost and usually take upwards of four weeks to scope out and build. Integrate also goes beyond building a simple bridge, providing greater value such as simplifying the data structure and improving communication and understanding between platforms.
On the BI side of things, the solution put in place through Prompt’s Data Warehouse has given RCS a deeper understanding of their business, and a way to consolidate data from multiple sources and analyze it in one place, at their convenience.
Not only does this solution lead to tangible dollar amount savings as the need for third party SQL and data experts is removed, but RCS are given full control over their data, which is available in an actionable format, rather than a raw dump. RCS can use their favorite BI tools to generate their own reports when they need them, and empower their customers to do the same.
We’re extremely proud of what we’ve helped RCS achieve, and going forward will be collaborating with them on further projects and providing our full support.
Since working with RCS, our Integrate product has expanded, and continues to expand, with connections available and being built for FMS platforms such as CargoWise, BluJay, Magaya, and SoftLink, to third parties like FourKites, Gnosis, or BCO platforms and proprietary systems.
Our industry deserves to be connected, and we want to lead the charge and hold everyone to a high standard.