Salesforce-based software provider takes network approach to PPE production

Salesforce-based software provider takes network approach to PPE production

Suppliers and logistics providers are having to adapt on the fly to new demand for production of protective equipment as countries battle the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

A logistics software provider built on the Salesforce platform said Wednesday it is aiming to provide a new way to connect suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE) with healthcare facilities, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and businesses needing those products to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

That new connection established by software provider Neurored, which it is calling the “Critical Supply Chain Network,” is intended to serve as a neutral conduit between suppliers and logistics providers, whether Salesforce customers or not. In particular, Neurored’s goal is to allow logistics providers to cope with changes to their business by getting quick access to pockets of demand for PPE and find suppliers needing help managing the logistics associated with those shipments.

Neurored has long supplied primarily third-party logistics companies (3PLs) with software to manage a range of functions, including rate management, booking, visibility and documentation digitization. Neurored’s tools are “native” to Salesforce, meaning they are designed using the same programming infrastructure as the widely used customer relationship management (CRM) software.

That position in the Salesforce application environment means that Salesforce customers needing logistics tools can access some or all of Neurored’s suite. Logistics providers can also use the software independently of Salesforce.

“Our new digital platform Horizon, which went fully live in May, has provided us with the speed, efficiencies and real-time access to data needed to succeed during this pandemic,” Ryan Lucas, CEO of UK-based forwarder DG International, said in a statement. “We were able to ship over 9 million units of PPE for one of our customers to supply the [National Health Service] and frontline workers. Since March, we have moved roughly over 200 tons of PPE across 52 chartered, commercial and cargo planes.”

Neurored, founded in 2011, not only connects directly to Salesforce and other software in the CRM solutions provider’s app exchange, but also has direct integrations with a handful of household names in the logistics software industry, including INTTRA, Freightos, project44, Ocean Insights, Orbcomm, and Truckstop.com. The company has been mostly focused on solutions for 3PLs, Joe Hudicka, Neurored managing director, told JOC.com, but it is also now focusing on supplying importers and exporters with transportation procurement and management solutions.

Salesforce as unifier

The universe of solutions based around Salesforce makes for a unique approach to software investments, particularly for those companies, such as non-asset-based international and domestic 3PLs, that neither own assets nor the cargo but instead have a business model built around servicing customers.

Hudicka said Neurored can channel its resources toward product development, sales, and customer support while letting Salesforce’s vast engineering department develop and maintain the underlying infrastructure of the software.

Revenova, for instance, provides Salesforce-native freight brokerage software based on a similar idea of leveraging a software environment with which many operational users are familiar. There are other non-Salesforce-based software providers, such as First Freight and Winmore, that provide CRM-based or CRM-adjacent logistics software designed around similar principles. 

Hudicka said a network approach such as Neurored’s is particularly important during the COVID-19 crisis, as suppliers and consumers of critical goods are often not innately connected, and when they are, often lack access to trusted logistics providers.

The software provider also noted that Kaelis Group, a global shipper that supplies the airline and railway industries with on-board products such as blankets and galley equipment, used the Neurored network once it shifted production toward PPE.

Access to the Neurored network is available to qualified new PPE buyers, suppliers, and transportation companies through free community user licenses issued by existing Neurored customers. Eligible transportation and sourcing specialist companies can also sign up for one free license, while buyers can receive one or more free licenses.

 “PPE is the first of many vital supply chain products for which businesses, federal, and local governments need to immediately facilitate sourcing and shipping,” Hudicka said in the statement. “We’re witnessing fundamental demand shifts in many areas, including food chains, which will be long-term, if not permanent. Connected, resilient, and efficient digital supply chains will be crucial to successfully battling COVID-19 and other future challenges.”

Contact Eric Johnson at eric.johnson@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @LogTechEric.