Chicago-based project44, a technology services provider offering standardized, secure Web service API (application programming interfaces) integrations enabling 3PLs and shippers to connect with carriers in real time said this week it is partnering up with global technology titan IBM in a meshing of precise transportation data and AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities geared towards overcoming logistics challenges and improving customer experience.
This pairing is part of a larger partnership between IBM and other companies, in addition to project44, including: Salesforce, Publicis Sapient, IBM Services, and Flooid, which are focused on “developing solutions to help accelerate retailers’ digital transformation initiatives at scale” through the IBM Sterling Supply Chain platform and aid retailers in quickly solving returns, omnichannel, and logistics challenges.
IBM described its IBM Sterling Supply Chain platform as an offering that provides IT and supply chain stakeholders with greater visibility, transparency and trust to proactively predict and mitigate disruption, improve B2B information flow, and optimize inventory utilization and fulfillment.
As for project44’s partnership with IBM, the company said that through its Advanced Visibility Platform— which focuses on shipment tracking and end-to-end visibility from the start of the shipping process to delivery (and beyond), as well as automation of key transportation processes, and also eliminates gaps in real-time visibility and powers users with high-quality and trustworthy Parcel, Final Mile, Less-Than-Truckload (LTL), Volume LTL, Full Truckload, Refrigerated, Rail and Ocean data—it will integrate its global carrier network with the IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite.
And it added that this will effort will help shippers to get more accurate shipment ETAs, identify vital up and down stream impacts to inventory and orders, and also be able to quickly respond to relevant supply chain events.
“This relationship between project44 and IBM Sterling Supply Chain Insights combines the most precise transportation data and AI to unlock the value of supply chain visibility in an entirely new way,” said Will Hansmann, Chief Technology Officer, project44, in a statement. “Together, we can enable companies to take advantage of a transparent, scalable and connected supply chain solution that can help deliver predictive and actionable results in step with their rapidly evolving business needs.”
From an IBM perspective, Jeanette Barlow, VP, Offering Management and Strategy, IBM Sterling, explained in an interview that the primary objective for the partnership is to help the companies shared client base unlock and accelerate the time to value by using APIs to harness the ability to connect the IBM Sterling Supply Chain platform with project44’s Advanced Visibility Platform to give an unprecedented view into delivery status.
“The developer collaboration through the IBM Sterling ecosystem aims to combine project44’s extensive carrier data with IBM’s control tower, visualization, analytics and machine learning technologies to improve global logistics insights,” said Barlow.
What’s more, in terms of benefits of value-adds this partnership provides for supply chain stakeholders, she pointed to project44’s powerful model to board carriers and present their carrier data, coupled with IBM Sterling’s ability to receive and visualize delivery status, run analytics and offer predictive insights on delivery status gives shippers, 3PLs, and mutual clients the ability to better differentiate themselves by providing more “last mile” delivery transparency to improve the customer experience.
“This will allow shippers, 3PLs and mutual clients to drive business growth by uniquely and better differentiating themselves with a more connected, transparent customer experience for last mile delivery as well as the ability to better manage inbound inventory, thereby gaining a competitive advantage,” she said.
When asked how to describe AI’s role in the supply chain, as well as within the context of this partnership, the IBM executive said that AI plays a truly transformative role in the supply chain by helping to aggregate and analyze vast sums of data across disparate systems, including correlating all internal and external data to predict the impact of such events like weather, traffic, or port congestion and additionally, AI can help augment the global supply chain workforce’s productivity by recommending the optimal response to quickly mitigate operational impact and business risk for improved business outcomes.
“The developer collaboration partnership between project44 and IBM Sterling aims to leverage AI to learn various aspects of key shipping lanes, while aligning with the unique aspects of each client’s supply chain and their associated customer expectations by providing insights that can help prevent or mitigate the impacts of delivery status changes,” said Barlow.
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