Knowing how to quickly set-up and configure supply chain technology so the solutions work for individual customers is the key to getting the most flexible and powerful performance from industry leading package application. Read this Q&A with Director of Integrated Solutions Graham Page about Ruan's technology platform and the experts who operate it.
Can you describe Ruan’s technology platform mix?
One of Ruan’s strategic priorities is to invest in technology that improves the lives of our customers and team members. Ruan’s approach to business enabling technology is primarily a package of software applications across transportation management systems (TMS), warehouse management system (WMS), and Network Design. Our platform is based on Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) for logistics management, TMW for dedicated fleet operations, and JDA for both WMS and Network Design solutions. Importantly, we have leveraged our domain expertise to integrate these systems across our organization. However, there are also areas where we built and run our own custom in-house applications when we do not find maturity in the marketplace around solutions that our customers need. A great example of these Ruan developed applications is what we are doing around driver mobility and customer-facing tracking applications.
What sets Ruan’s solution apart from other transportation providers?
There are many solution differentiators here at Ruan when we think about our people, processes, and technology. However, I believe that our people and their expertise really set Ruan apart from other asset-based 3PLs.
Our operations are designed with the intent of having dedicated people assigned to each customer, and we don’t take the “call center” approach to logistics where a different person or group could be addressing a customer need on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, we become an extension of our customers’ operations, and our people become experts in the specific ways that our technology solutions are applied for each customer. This is critical in our success with deploying solutions for the complex supply chain challenges we are solving for our customers.
Our technology solutions teams are consistent from the beginning of a customer engagement during the onboarding process through continuous improvement projects that happen on an ongoing basis throughout the years of engagement. This knowledge about a customer’s business, how the systems are set-up for that customer, along with the 80+ years of expertise that our teams have on our applications, means that we can be very nimble with technology changes to address our customer’s needs and respond to process changes and improvement opportunities quickly.
Our ability to adapt is one of the primary reasons that we lean on package applications as the backbone of our platform. Many of these system changes are performed through “system configuration” that can be completed by a business analyst rather than through “code development” with IT involvement, which typically requires a longer cycle-time from idea to implementation.
Another advantage to this approach is that it does not force our customers to fit into a “Ruan” box. Instead, our process allows us to build the “best” box for the customer since every customer is unique. As we think about the end-to-end transportation processes, there are many similarities across customers with the tasks that take place in the middle, such as securing capacity, execution and tracking, and freight payment. But, our ability to tailor solutions in the front of the process with how we capture orders and plan freight and the back of the process with customized billing formats and key performance indicators are critical to meeting our customer’s needs. This would not be possible without industry leading package applications and, more importantly, the knowledge of how to quickly set-up and configure the technology so the solutions work for our individual customers.
Should shippers consider hiring a transportation provider instead of purchasing technology to use on their own?
The question of whether to outsource logistics services is an important decision for any shipper. When we speak to shippers that are shifting transportation technology strategies and evaluating whether to “buy” or “partner” for TMS services, it’s typically the following areas that drive the “partner” decision:
Integration and training with existing carrier network.
Managing the system upgrade process to keep current with TMS functionality and support agreements as well as the ongoing support to the application for business process changes and continuous improvement projects.
Cost and timeline overruns with system implementation when performed in-house.
Desire to focus on the core functions of the business while partnering with a provider with expertise in managing transportation and the associated technology.
Want to learn more? Contact one of our logistics experts today at Solutions@ruan.com.