May 2, 2019

SAP adds Uber Freight to logistics network

Move could "future-proof" companies dealing with e-commerce growing pains, Uber Freight says.

By Ben Ames

Uber Freight has integrated its digital freight matching tool into German software giant SAP AG's Logistics Business Network, a unit of the company's "supply chain execution platform" that is designed to help business partners work together under the growing strain of providing e-commerce fulfillment.

Those software platforms are part of SAP's enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, known as S/4HANA, that also includes the company's warehouse management and transportation management modules, as well as other supply chain software products.

Adding Uber Freight to the mix could offer the freight industry better access to a network of connected and reliable drivers, thanks to "intelligent process automation," SAP said Monday. By using Uber Freight to create a networked approach to booking cargo in trucks, SAP Logistics Business Network's customers will now be able to: obtain upfront pricing and real-time tracking, utilize excess capacity to make driving more efficient, and reduce the emissions created by under-utilized trucks, SAP said.

Users of the Logistics Business Network—such as shippers, freight forwarders, carriers, and other logistics partners—can all benefit by using the tool, according to San Francisco-based Uber Freight, which is the freight brokerage arm of ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc.

"For the world's biggest shippers, an efficient, digitalized supply chain is critical to their business success," Bill Driegert, director of operations for Uber Freight, said in a release. "Uber Freight is partnering with SAP to bring shippers and carriers together at the level where freight decisions are being made. This innovative tech-forward approach to freight means shippers can spend less time sourcing quotes and capacity and more time getting goods to market."

That partnership can help "future-proof" supply chains that are being buffeted by the rapid rise of e-commerce, Uber Freight said in a blog post.

The SAP deal follows the company's 2018 launch of its Uber Freight platform for shippers, which drew hundreds of shippers across the U.S. to use that interface to tap into a nationwide carrier network, Uber Freight said. "Now, our partnership through the SAP Logistics Business Network delivers another access point for enterprise shippers to leverage two of Uber Freight's crucial benefits through their own TMS," the company said, in reference to the features of real-time data and freight capacity.

Gaining access to those capabilities is critical in an age when global supply chains have grown more complex than ever, a trend that is pushing many companies to focus on their core competencies while outsourcing other logistics tasks to carriers, freight forwarders, and customs agents, said Richard Howells, vice president - solution management for digital supply chain at SAP.

SAP's Logistics Business Network helps them simplify and streamline the multiple steps standing between shippers and their customers, said Howells. The integration with Uber Freight will simplify load management for those users, in all geographies where the company is operating, he said. And that footprint is expanding, since Uber Freight announced in March that it planned to extend its operations into Europe beginning with a launch in the Netherlands "in the coming weeks" and expanding to additional countries in the near future.

Fast growing Uber Freight says that since launching in May 2017, it has "contracted with over 36,000 carriers that in aggregate have more than 400,000 drivers and have served over 1,000 shippers, including global enterprises such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Niagara, Land O'Lakes, and Colgate-Palmolive."And it has been busily converting that market share to revenue; the company reported that it recorded $359 million in gross bookings in 2018.

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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