McLeod Software continues to add new software functionality, insights, and integrations for its fleet and broker/3PL customers, making several announcements during its User Conference in Nashville Sept. 25-27.
“The pressures put on our customers by their customers make it more important than ever for them to stay on top of technology,” said McLeod Software founder and President Tom McLeod.
Role-Based Productivity and a Web User Experience
McLeod announced a new web browser user interface for its systems. The first release is PowerBroker Web; similar functionality will be rolled out for its LoadMaster product for fleets in the future.
“This is our new thing,” said Tom McLeod. “It simplifies remote access, which we’re all doing a lot more of than we used to, but it also takes advantage of improved workflows and functionality you can get out of a web based-product.”
He explained that the company didn’t want to just put a web “skin” on its product that might not have the same capabilities as the original.
“We’re taking the time to re-engineer workflows, role-based processes, and take full advantage of the new user interface,” he said. "A trucking company has to have full robust functionality with multiple levels. They don’t want a 1.0 product just to get a browser interface."
The same application layer processes, functions, data, and capabilities are still present in the web version as the current version. In fact, customers can continue to run their existing PowerBroker user interface clients concurrently and move their users to the new web user interface at their own pace.
After testing with core 3PL customers, PowerBroker Web is expected to be available by the end of the first quarter of 2023. In future releases of McLeod’s PowerBroker, LoadMaster, and LoadMaster LTL systems, this new web-based user interface will be extended across the entire McLeod product line.
Motor Carrier Invoice Automation
McLeod Software has added Carrier Invoice Processing as a new module in McLeod’s Logix Solutions family of automation products.
Carrier Invoice Processing helps 3PLs and brokers quickly and easily collect, identify, index, and match carrier documents electronically to speed the carrier payment process. Carrier Invoice Processing makes extensive use of optical character recognition technology to reduce the need for images to be reviewed by people. The system also works to help back-office staff handle exceptions, such as multiple loads on a single invoice, or OS&D claims associated with a load.
By accurately and automatically moving carrier invoices along through the process, carriers get paid faster and the 3PL spends far less time and work on the process.
New Integrations for Fleet Management with Open API
API, short for “application programming interface,” has been McLeod’s preferred method of interfacing with other suppliers for several years, said Tom McLeod.
Almost two years ago, McLeod published an Open API for Digital Freight Matching (DFM) within the PowerBroker system. This allowed suppliers of digital freight-matching products and services to develop their own integration solution with PowerBroker using a standard published web services API interface. So far at least six companies have certified their integration with the McLeod DFM API, enabling them to offer those solutions as a fully integrated tool for PowerBroker users.
This year McLeod is introducing the same type of Open API integration point for mobile communications and electronic logging device systems, as well as trailer monitoring and tracking solutions.
The first two deployments of this LoadMaster Symphony Mobile Communications Service (SMCS) API are Isaac Instruments and TGI Connect.
With Isaac now officially a McLeod Certified Integration Partner, fleets can view hours-of-service and other critical data from the Isaac solution directly in LoadMaster's Symphony Mobile Communications module. The integration also allows document images, such as a bill of lading, to automatically flow from the Isaac solution to McLeod’s DocumentPower system.
For customers of TGI-Connect, which provides intelligent trailer tracking, the integration means data from TGI’s satellite-based asset trackers is mapped with asset data in the Mcleod system and position updates are sent in real time. In the future, users of the Loadmaster system and TGI-Connect asset tracking will be able to take advantage of TGI’s newly introduced Internet of Things over satellite.
In the future, all new integrations for LoadMaster with both ELD/mobile communications and trailer telematics will use this new standard Open SMCS API. That means any qualified telematics provider that wants a supported integration solution with McLeod will be able to move forward at their own pace, and complete the necessary development, then arrange testing and certification with McLeod.
More Rate and Lane Insights from MPact Pro
This summer McLeod Software introduced an advanced version of its MPact trucking lane and rate analysis tool, MPact Pro. The expanded capabilities in MPact Pro let a carrier or 3PL benchmark themselves against the rest of the market and gain a deeper understanding of market rate dynamics in any given origin, destination, or lane.
Users can access MPact Pro directly from their LoadMaster or PowerBroker system to create a step-by-step picture of capacity and volume in markets and evaluate the ever-shifting rate landscape. This analysis becomes valuable when a user is trying to optimize both daily spot rates, or during bid season for contract rate decisions, by targeting where, when, and how to price freight based on the current dollar amount and profit potential.
McLeod’s truckload market rate dataset, derived daily from over 1,000 companies contributing rates, includes trailer types, load length of haul, load commodity, origins, and destinations, giving users more ways to slice and dissect their markets. The rates are also differentiated between the spot and contract rate in every lane.
MPact PRO offers a wide range of visualization tools to help users quickly and clearly understand the analysis and apply that understanding to their business decisions.
The Growth of Cloud Services in Logistics
McLeod Software is re-branding its “Hosted Solutions” offering to “Cloud Services” (which led to jokes about McLeod’s Cloud.)
Currently more than 300 of McLeod’s customer companies with over 10,000 daily users have chosen to have McLeod Software deliver its applications for their company via McLeod’s hosting service, which it has offered for a decade.
As this cloud-based approach to deploying systems has become more popular, McLeod said, it has found that there are different levels of services preferred by some customers. The newly rebranded Cloud Services has more service options for customers to choose from, according to the company.