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Carrier adding software to app; J.B. Hunt plans real-time rates

by Nathan Owens | December 11, 2019 at 7:11 a.m.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services plans to integrate its digital freight-matching platform, J.B. Hunt 360, with another supply chain platform developed by JDA Software Inc.

At a time when companies are in transition -- going paperless, making fewer telephone calls, etc. -- those in the transportation industry are doing what they can to make operations more efficient. J.B. Hunt developed an app for customers with a goal of doing away with time-intensive freight-matching phone calls.

To improve upon that, the Lowell-based carrier said it will soon offer customers real-time rates, pricing and quote updates through the J.B. Hunt 360 app, in collaboration with JDA.

"Customers want a more efficient way to do business, and integrating these two platforms will provide JDA and J.B. Hunt 360 users with the information needed to make timely decisions," Shelley Simpson, executive vice president, chief commercial officer, and president of highway services at J.B. Hunt, said in prepared remarks on Monday.

The agreement came about after J.B. Hunt noticed that many of its customers were using JDA, a supply chain software firm based in Scottsdale, Ariz., in some form or fashion. JDA uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate what gets overlooked or is done manually in various supply chains, according to its website.

Both companies had talks about improving their customer satisfaction through better connectivity. They agreed to integrate their platforms, with JDA offering new automation services for J.B. Hunt.

JDA Transportation Management users will be able to access the marketplace within J.B. Hunt 360 through the app when seeking trucks for freight transport on the spot market, the carrier said. Rates and pricing will be generated by historical and industry data captured by both platforms, providing a "near true market price" and "automating a time-consuming process," J.B. Hunt said in a news release.

The J.B. Hunt 360 app, marketed as a way to find loads and make offers faster -- "No phone calls required!" -- was an industry disruptor when it was implemented two years ago. A report by Goldman Sachs called it one of the most popular freight-matching apps, second to Uber Freight, and said it was "quite possibly" the most successful at generating revenue. It allows users to search for loads, offer prices and accept loads directly from the app, among other services.

Feedback from shippers who've used the app is "very positive," according to Stephens Inc. analysts. Despite industry headwinds in the brokerage markets, J.B. Hunt is expected to come out a leader in the digital transformation in the industry, precisely because of its digital platform, the analysts wrote in a September research brief.

"Integrating J.B. Hunt 360 with the JDA SCM Platform showcases the criticality of a continuous supply chain and the ability to tap into previously inaccessible data streams to create efficiencies," Terry Norton, vice president of third-party logistics and distribution at JDA, said in prepared remarks.

"This joint offering for J.B. Hunt's customers -- and our own -- unlocks real-time information for carriers and shippers for the first time, while aiding an integrated logistics strategy for J.B. Hunt," he said.

A spokesman for J.B. Hunt did not return messages left for comment.

Business on 12/11/2019

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