The supply chain management arm of DHL is partnering with two of the most highly capitalized logistics startups, adding to a growing list of integrations between startups and existing third-party logistics (3PLs) and software providers.
DHL Supply Chain said it will connect with the truckload freight network of Convoy, a Seattle-based freight brokerage, and also to the San Francisco-based collaborative software provider Turvo. Collectively, the two startups have raised more than $355 million.
The partnerships can be seen as part of a wider trend of logistics startups realizing that they can leverage the existing network of established logistics services providers (LSPs) and supply chain software providers. It’s also a sign that LSPs view such partnerships as a way to deepen relationships with customers without having to build software competitive to startups, which have netted aggregate funding of billions of dollars from venture capital investors.
One can see DHL turning to integrations with Convoy and Turvo as an evolution of a process that began more than a decade ago, when large global LSPs began using multitenant logistics software as a competitive advantage, as opposed to building such software themselves.
It’s the first time Convoy has partnered with another third-party LSP. DHL Supply Chain customers, through the company’s MySupplyChain visibility and analytics product, will get access to real-time pricing on available truckload carriers in Convoy’s network.
The integration with Turvo is aimed at allowing MySupplyChain users to “drive contextual visibility and collaboration across the end-to-end lifecycle of a shipment,” DHL said in a statement. Turvo focuses on connecting the systems of shipper and LSP customers to enable them to get a single normalized view across all the data produced and housed by those systems.
Separately, DHL Supply Chain said it is investing in its internal capabilities to build robotic process automation (RPA) to automate repetitive tasks, such as collecting documents for proof of delivery, scheduling loads, event tracking, and others. Aside from alleviating human resources from the responsibility of managing repetitive tasks, RPA is designed to reduce manual errors. DHL Supply Chain in North America said it has offset more than 5,000 hours of manual work in RPA pilots thus far.
RPA is likely to proliferate quickly in logistics, evidenced by the recent launch of RPA Labs by Matt Motsick, the former founder of freight rate and contract management software Catapult.
The integrations between DHL and Convoy and Turvo follow a host of recent connections between digital freight brokers and established transportation management systems providers, including Loadsmart and Oracle Transportation Management (OTM), Uber Freight with SAP’s TMS and the TMS provider MercuryGate, and Convoy with the TMS provider BluJay Solutions.