Driving the Revolution of Live Connections
Initially, transportation management relied on tedious manual processes, static rate tables, and outdated routing guides. Shippers and carriers spent a lot of time referencing static rate tables, calling and emailing back and forth in response to RFPs, and manually entering shipping data. The industry took a step forward when it implemented EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) technology through TMS (Transportation Management Systems). Enabling computer-to-computer, batch exchange of data, EDI helped both shippers and carriers move away from those manual, paper-based processes to more streamlined, electronic communication. Resembling “snail mail,” the back-and-forth between shippers and carriers was still slow and inefficient. Today, EDI is fast becoming an outdated standard in the wake of API (Application Program Interface) connectivity. Systems powered by API technology can make live connections for two-way communication, resembling a real-time conversation.
Enters Banyan Technology that introduced API carrier connectivity to the freight industry, before anyone had even heard of it. Banyan co-founders, Lance Healy and Jim Walborn initially joined forces to automate Jim’s commercial construction materials distributorship Concrete Solutions in the late ‘90s, without any intention of becoming technology entrepreneurs. However, they found themselves frustrated that there was no automated way to collect shipping rates for their online construction material business, and began developing processes to automate carrier connections and better manage freight logistics. Realizing the potential for software that could help other companies do the same way, they took this innovative idea to GLIDE, Lorain County Community College’s technology incubator, in 2001 — and so began Banyan Technology.
Revolutionizing the industry with APIs
Being the first to introduce API carrier to the freight industry was a breakthrough that has revolutionized the way shippers, brokers, forwarders, and 3PLs connect with their carrier networks and do business. However, it wasn’t long before other API providers surfaced, trying to compete with platform solutions by offering live connectivity. That’s why Banyan has had to evolve beyond APIs. Banyan has created a central connectivity hub that goes beyond live connections — facilitating live rating, tracking, invoicing, and documentation functionality, all through the same API. This solution is also designed to support multi-modal connectivity across the global supply chain, and even supports alternative forms of connections beyond APIs to ensure users aren’t limited in functionality or carrier selection. Other vendors are still behind the curve. Often, they only offer APIs, lack visibility across the global supply chain, or don’t have a single carrier connection in Canada or Mexico.
Banyan distinguishes itself from others in terms of adaptation and innovation, which made it possible for the company to grow explosively since foundation, outgrowing first GLIDE and then its location in the Entrepreneurship Innovation Center in Elyria. By 2014, the cofounders had secured agreements with 3 of the top 5 largest 3PLs in the country and were growing rapidly. To manage this growth, Healy and Walborn hired Brian Smith in 2017 as Banyan Technology’s new chief executive. Moving the organization to a new headquarters in Westlake, Ohio, Smith has overseen the development of new solution features and industry partnerships, as well as the expansion of Banyan’s technology platform functionality across the global supply chain.
Boosting efficiency, improving visibility, and delivering permanent reductions in shipping costs
Today, Banyan Technology is recognized as North America’s leading provider of live carrier and API connectivity for transportation management. With more than 2,000 TL, LTL, Local and Parcel carrier connections and 34,000 client locations accessing the application, Banyan provides commercial shippers, brokers, and 3PLs with unparalleled access to carrier data. These connections boost efficiency, improve visibility and deliver permanent reductions in shipping costs. All solutions stem from Banyan’s premier data hub, Live Connections. This platform facilitates live connections between shippers, brokers, forwarders, and 3PLs, and their carrier networks for two-way communication, enabling users to exchange vital freight-shipping information instantly. This helps them to ship faster, improve visibility with real-time data, and deliver permanent reductions in shipping costs — ultimately boosting their efficiency and profitability.
Continues to innovate and driving efficiencies
Banyan continues to innovate and drive efficiencies to the market through introduction of dynamic pricing solutions for carriers and normalizing communications with hundreds of local and last mile carriers. There are always exciting new solutions in the works at Banyan, the three most notable breakthroughs include:
- Local Carrier mode
In April of 2018, Banyan launched a new user mode: Local Carrier. This new Live Connections mode was developed to fill a significant industry gap originating from the ever-growing omni-channel and e-commerce industries. This new connectivity imparts the same level of automation to first and last mile that Banyan has delivered for more than a decade to the LTL, TL and parcel market. This comprehensive, live connectivity to local carrier shipments allows shippers to rate, book, and track both pickup and delivery of their first and last mile services — in real time. Through this connectivity, users also gain insight into pickup and delivery information in previously niche markets, including residential, rural, and metropolitan areas as well as warehouses, facilities, and distribution centers. Ultimately, Banyan’s unique Local Carrier mode helps shippers improve efficiency and profitability, while gaining a competitive edge in the market.
- UPS Capital Insurance feature
Also announced in April of 2018 was a new partnership between Banyan and UPS Capital, a subsidiary of UPS, to offer users goods insurance beyond standard carrier liability. The duo’s new integration with Live Connections allows shippers and 3PL providers to more seamlessly select transactional insurance coverage at the time of shipment processing, as well as experience enhanced claims processing. Enhanced insurance options include: All-risk, door-to-door coverage, freight collect, third party, prepaid and return shipments, concealed damage up to 30 days, theft or shortages and expediting expenses. This new feature not only gives shippers and 3PLs more peace of mind regarding shipments — but competitive differentiation within the market.
- Intelligent Pricing feature
Launched in BETA in October of 2018, Banyan’s new Intelligent Pricing tool makes what was once theory within the transportation management industry a reality. The industry’s first true dynamic pricing tool, the Intelligent Pricing feature gives Live Connections users the ability to leverage existing — and create custom — rules to offer client- and contract-specific pricing adjustments based on load attributes and client behaviors. These adjustments appear directly in the customers’ workflow as they are making their routing decisions. This significantly impacts a user’s ability to manage their yield by making adjustments at the lane level to a filtered cross section of their client base. When that capability is infused with operational inputs and business logic, they benefit from unprecedented visible and actionable business opportunities. Intelligent Pricing BETA group users are not only providing proof of concept, but input to help define new filters and rules to continue enhancing the tool. Met with much interest, Banyan’s aim is to launch the refined tool option to all users in Q2 of 2019.
Banyan provides commercial shippers, brokers, and 3PLs with unparalleled access to carrier data. These connections boost efficiency, improve visibility and deliver permanent reductions in shipping costs, saving users an average of 20 percent or more on transportation spending. The customers have time and again chosen Banyan Technology for its best-in-industry services. Complementing the same, Greg Keys, Freight Manager, Kaufman Container says, “We’re benefiting from the best information available. Once we started with Banyan, we saw a 20% ROI within six months. We recognized immediate cost savings from Banyan’s ability to compare our carrier rates for each shipment and the real-time rating information has completely eliminated RFP’s. We have substantially improved our efficiency by selecting the best carrier option for each shipment, with Banyan completely automating our workflow processes from booking, tracking, and management of all our freight bill settlements. I’m able to collaborate with my carriers to align our shipments where they are competitive and also pinpoint where they need to improve their cost and service levels to be competitive. My finger is completely on the pulse of what’s going on with a shipment, and it’s all on one screen.”
Meet the maestro
Lance Healy is the Chief Innovation Officer of Banyan Technology. Lance is responsible for strategic partnerships as well as directing the next innovations Banyan will introduce to the market. As Banyan’s initial user, Lance served in many roles during the organization’s formation and growth including sales to implementation and support. Lance brings more than 15 years of experience in doing hundreds of client implementations. About the future outlook of the company, Lance believes that Banyan’s Local Carrier mode and Intelligent Pricing tool are critical to the future of both the company and the industry – and will be of significant strategic focus in 2019.