Supply chain technology vendor project44 today unveiled a software module that supports data exchange for international and domestic parcel tracking and address validation, continuing the firm's expansion into the burgeoning e-commerce sector.
Chicago-based project44's platform allows shippers, carriers, and third party logistics providers (3PLs) to automatically exchange data between their computers by integrating application programming interfaces (APIs) into their software instead of depending on third-party interfaces like email or formats like electronic data interchange (EDI).
The company has already released units supporting less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload, rail, and what the firm calls volume LTL, a segment that includes freight shipments occupying between 12 and 28 linear feet of a truck trailer.While those previous capabilities are typically applied to business-to-business (B2B) or DC-to-DC shipments, the latest module is a response to growing market demands for real-time visibility that spans every mode of shipping, project44 CEO and Founder Jett McCandless said in an interview.
That demand comes as project44's customers are looking for ways to control costs and gain visibility and automation in their operations, including both traditional Fortune-5000 retailers and the increasing number of manufacturers and distributors that are reinventing themselves to provide direct to consumer (DTC) service, McCandlesssaid.
Project44's new parcel solution connects those users to more than 115 carriers in international markets, including FedEx Corp., UPS Inc., The U.S. Postal Service, DHL, Royal Mail, Hermes, and Deutsche Post. Additional parcel capacity providers can become integrated with the network for no charge within two weeks, the company says.
Creating a uniform data platform spanning multiple countries "was definitely a heavy lift" for project44 as the company had to "normalize" data from a wide variety of languages and nomenclatures, McCandless said. The parcel platform offers a single system that combines data drawn from sources such as electronic logging devices (ELDs) on trucks and enterprise resource planning (ERP) and transportation management system (TMS) software from various vendors.
To support its launch of that new technology, project44 plans to hire some 200 people over the next 18 months, which would triple the size of the 100-person company in a short period, said McCandless.
The firm's fast growth follows news in April that the company had landed $35 million in funding and unveiled a software module to support the North American parcel supply chain.