Why is B2B Integrations in Logistics So Challenging?

The Complexity of Data and Technology Integrations

Logistics data and technology integrations present unique challenges, surpassing those in other B2B connectivity domains. The fundamental issue lies in the disparity between shipper systems, like ERPs, which focus on orders, and LSP (logistics service provider) systems, centered around shipments. This divergence often leads to what 1Logech (1LT) terms the “order to shipment gap,” a mismatch in data and process flow. Moreover, each ERP implementation varies, leading to inconsistencies in data usage and custom business flows. This complexity is compounded by a frequent lack of domain and institutional knowledge among teams tasked with addressing these logistics technology (logtech) connectivity issues.

Diverse Provider Landscape and Technological Gaps

Another major hurdle is the sheer number of logistics providers, each at different levels of technological advancement. In North America alone, there are over half a million TL carriers, supplemented by numerous 3PLs, brokers, forwarders, and other logistics services providers. These entities range from having advanced custom connectivity solutions to relying on basic API publications for customer integration. However, most logistics providers are not even at this basic level of technological readiness and still use Basic EDI, or email/manual. The resulting connectivity gap is partially bridged by various connection products and services, but these solutions often require extensive custom, one-off connections, burdening customers with error handling, upgrades, and maintenance costs.

1LT’s Innovative Approach

The founders of 1LT, with decades of experience in designing business connectors for logtech, advocate for a low-effort, non-technical, self-connect model to address these challenges. Their approach minimizes the user’s workload, requiring only a few hours to a few days of effort, and allows operational resources, rather than developers, to set up connections. This strategy not only streamlines the integration process but also mitigates the loss of legacy institutional knowledge in logtech projects.

1LT leverages advanced business logic, refined through years of integration experience, combined with a user-friendly interface akin to Excel. This enables even non-technical users who are familiar with operations and Excel to easily set up integrations. Despite its simplicity, this system represents a significant technological advancement, incorporating modern continuous integration/continuous delivery practices, microservices, docker containers, and cloud hosting.

Impact and Benefits

1LT’s solution has far-reaching implications for logistics optimization, potentially reducing carbon emissions significantly through better coordination and consolidation of logistics activities. The self-connect capability shifts the responsibility of connectivity from customers to providers, streamlining the integration process. 1LT’s support for various APIs, including webhooks and EDI, as well as email, enables seamless connectivity with a wide range of technology levels among logistics providers. This comprehensive digital commerce integration encompasses everything from shipment quotes to financials, enhancing visibility, manageability, and overall operational velocity. Furthermore, 1LT’s Excel style interface simplifies ongoing updates and maintenance, reducing long term costs and complexity.

In summary, 1LT is not just a tool for logistics integration but a catalyst for digital connectivity across the supply chain. Its approach addresses the pressing need for more efficient, user-friendly, and adaptable integration solutions in the complex and varied landscape of logistics technology.

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