Globe Connect Image by Gerd Altmann from PixabayFourKites has announced that it will join the Scheduling Standards Consortium (SSC) as a collaborator. Set up in 2022 by J.B. Hunt and Uber Freight, the SSC aims to create industry standards for interoperability for scheduling freight with shoppers. Currently, shipping solutions maintain their interface and APIs. It means that interoperability is a huge challenge and an additional cost as companies try to work together, or during M&A activity.

FourKites is the first real-time visibility platform to join SSC whose membership has grown quickly in recognition of the challenge it aims to solve. Other members include Arrive Logistics, BlueYonder, Coyote Logistics, DHL, e2open, Echo, J.B. Hunt Transport, Lineage, Mastery, One Network Enterprises, Oracle, Ryder, TI NTG, Uber Freight, Werner and Worldwide Express.

The organisation published its first API Standard in October 2023. It targeted transportation management systems and is accessible on GitHub as open source. This is the first step to simplify the integration challenges that exist globally, with connectivity between individual solutions time consuming. As TMS developers update their systems using the standard API, connectivity between systems adopting the standard will be much simpler to complete. This will enable carriers to interact using a single interface.

As more carriers and organisations adopt the standard, or those using solutions such as FourKites, BlueYonder or Oracle release updated supporting solutions, the challenges that existed should be reduced.

FourKites customer Viral Parekh, Head of Logistics Operations at The Kraft Heinz Company, commented, “Embracing a universal scheduling API unlocks seamless coordination across supply chains. As more companies endorse this unified approach, we pave the way for unparalleled system efficiency, streamlining operations and driving transformative growth throughout the industry.”

 What is FourKites doing

Joining a Consortium does not always mean anything changes. However, FourKites appears engaged with the process. It also aligns with its commitment to optimize ecosystem performance and carrier success and to build a more user-friendly operating environment. As a collaborator, it aims to help develop the API and accelerate its adoption across both its customer base and partner network.

Mathew Elenjickal, founder and CEO of FourKites
Mathew Elenjickal, Founder and CEO of FourKites

In adopting the API, FourKites will also hope to simplify the maintenance of its connectors as more systems adopt it. Its platform has already scheduled over 100,000 appointments every month. The announcement comes at a key time for the FourKites Appointment Manager. One of its fastest-growing products, which already eliminates the friction associated with the manual time slot booking it replaces. The implementation projects for this solution should also be simplified going forward.

Mathew Elenjickal, Founder and CEO of FourKites, commented, “We’re thrilled to participate in this consortium of industry heavy-hitters. A single API between our Appointment Manager solution and our shippers’ carrier networks will create a frictionless operating environment for everyone involved, and will make FourKites customers Shippers of Choice, with lower cost to serve and a reliable, reputable integration.”

Looking forward, the SSC has four objectives:

  1. Define an API standard for sharing scheduling information
  2. Eliminate manual processes by automating interactions where possible
  3. Implement the standardized interfaces and integrations across core systems
  4. Advocate for the standard across the industry. The SSC aims to partner with shippers, carriers, brokers, and solutions providers to drive towards a standard

The first phase of development of the API saw support for the TMS dock scheduling application. Moving forward, the second phase will further develop the API for standalone dock scheduling solutions (i.e. non-TMS scheduling solutions).

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

SSC already has an impressive list of members. With FourKites joining the consortium, it has a significant proportion of technology providers within its membership. It will be interesting to see whether companies such as Infor, Microsoft and SAP join or other technology firms.

For FourKites, this seems a sensible decision. However, it remains to be seen how much it contributes to the development of the standards. Or whether it just looks to take advantage of them. Either outcome is positive for SSC. But investing commitment into the development of the API could enhance the benefits that FourKites and its customers receive.


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