McLeod Software continues to add new software features, information and integrations for its fleet and broker/3PL customers, making several announcements at its user conference in Nashville September 25-27.
“The pressures placed on our customers by their customers make it more important than ever for them to stay on the cutting edge of technology,” said McLeod Software Founder and President Tom McLeod.
Role-Based Productivity and 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.
“It’s our new thing,” said Tom McLeod. “It simplifies remote access, which we’re all doing much more than before, but it also takes advantage of the improved workflows and functionality you can get from a web-based product.”
He explained that the company didn’t just want to put a web “skin” on their product that might not have the same capabilities as the original.
“We’re taking the time to redesign workflows, role-based processes and take full advantage of the new user interface,” he said. “A trucking company needs to have comprehensive, robust functionality at 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 in the current version. In fact, customers can continue to run their existing PowerBroker UI clients concurrently and move their users to the new web UI at their own pace.
After being tested with major 3PL customers, PowerBroker Web is expected to be available by the end of Q1 2023. In future versions of McLeod’s PowerBroker, LoadMaster and LoadMaster LTL systems, this new web UI will be extended to the entire McLeod product line.
Automation of road transport invoices
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 reconcile carrier documents electronically to expedite the carrier payment process. Carrier Invoice Processing makes extensive use of optical character recognition technology to reduce the need for human review of images. The system also works to help back-office staff manage exceptions, such as multiple loads on a single invoice or OS&D claims associated with a load.
By accurately and automatically moving carrier invoices through the process, carriers get paid faster and the 3PL spends significantly less time and labor on the process.
New integrations for fleet management with Open API
The API, short for “application programming interface,” has been McLeod’s preferred method of interfacing with other vendors for several years, said Tom McLeod.
Almost two years ago, McLeod released an open API for Digital Freight Matching (DFM) within the PowerBroker system. This has enabled providers 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, allowing them to offer these solutions as a fully integrated tool to 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 Isaac’s solution to McLeod’s DocumentPower system.
For customers of TGI-Connect, which provides intelligent trailer tracking, the integration means that data from TGI’s satellite asset trackers is mapped to asset data in the Mcleod system and updates position data 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 new Satellite Internet of Things.
Going forward, all new integrations for LoadMaster with ELD/mobile communications and trailer telematics will use this new standard Open SMCS API. This means that any qualified telematics vendor who 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 information on MPact Pro pricing and lanes
This summer, McLeod Software introduced an advanced version of its MPact lane and trucking rate analysis tool, MPact Pro. MPact Pro’s expanded capabilities allow a carrier or 3PL to benchmark themselves against the rest of the market and gain a deeper understanding of market rate dynamics in a given origin, destination or lane.
Users can access MPact Pro directly from their LoadMaster or PowerBroker system to build a step-by-step picture of capacity and volume in the markets and assess the ever-changing pricing landscape. This analysis becomes valuable when a user is trying to optimize both daily or in-season spot rates for contract rate decisions, targeting where, when, and how to price freight based on the current dollar amount and the profit potential.
McLeod’s truckload market rate dataset, derived daily from more than 1,000 rate contributing companies, includes trailer types, load length, cargo load, origins and destinations, giving users more ways to carve and dissect their markets. The tariffs are also differentiated between the spot tariff and the contractual tariff in each channel.
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 renaming its “Hosted Solutions” offering to “Cloud Services” (leading to some jokes about McLeod’s Cloud.)
Currently, more than 300 McLeod enterprise customers with over 10,000 daily users have chosen to have McLeod Software deliver its applications for their business through McLeod’s hosting service, which it has provided for a decade.
As this cloud-based approach to deploying systems has become more popular, McLeod said, he has found that there are different tiers of services preferred by some customers. According to the company, the newly renamed cloud services provide more service options to customers.