Earlier this month, three of the largest national carriers formed the Scheduling Standards Consortium (SSC). It aims to solve transportation scheduling challenges by establishing the freight industry’s first formal set of appointment scheduling application programming interface (API) standards. The three carriers: Convoy, J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., and Uber Freight.
“Complex, pervasive, industry-wide challenges such as this require collaborative, industry-wide solutions,” the group says. “The makeup of the SSC’s founding members underscores the need to standardize how information is exchanged around scheduling shipments.”
Today, scheduling system and interface fragmentation is a point of friction among carriers, brokers and shippers. As the industry turns increasingly to an integrated network of providers and solutions to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of each shipment, the group says, it has become increasingly important to define and share a consistent data architecture and API standard for the distribution of scheduling information.
The SSC’s objectives are to define an API standard for sharing scheduling information, implement those standardized interfaces to enable integrations in existing systems, and advocate for the standard across the industry. The standard will bring more cohesion and resiliency to the movement of goods, the group says. That will make it easier to book and manage appointments, optimize processes for drivers, shippers, and receivers, and drive operational efficiencies for the industry at large.
“Every year, the industry sets approximately 1.5 billion appointments,” says Convoy CEO and co-founder Dan Lewis. “And scheduling inefficiencies slow everything down and create a lot of waste. Freight runs 24/7, and, for most situations, every hour counts. Scheduling is a technical problem at the end of the day. When all the trucks are plugged into a digital network, the industry can better orchestrate freight needs with data-informed systems.”
Additionally, the new standards will eliminate other inefficiencies in the $808 billion freight industry. Companies spend 80% of every dollar moving freight on trucking. However, 35% of all miles driven are empty miles, Lewis says. That leads to waste, including 87 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions, he says.
“A standard API-based approach allows companies to access the latest data and make smart decisions to increase efficiency, reduce empty miles and waste, lower costs, and improve service outcomes,” he says. “This is the future of freight.”
Convoy is a B2B marketplace. It pools buying power for small and independently owned businesses to reduce business expenses, according to Crunchbase.com.