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Trimble says it plans to acquire Kuebix in a wide ranging deal for various supply chain stakeholders

Earlier today, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Trimble, provider of end-to-end technology solutions to for-hire motor carriers, private fleets, freight brokerage, and third-party logistics providers, announced it has inked a definitive agreement to acquire Maynard, Mass.-based TMS provider and creator of the North America’s largest connected shipping community Kuebix.

A purchase price was not disclosed, and Trimble officials said the deal would close during the first quarter.

Trimble said that with Kuebix in the fold, it will enable the company to mesh its private fleet and commercial carrier customer network, which is comprised of more than 1.3 million North America-based commercial trucks, with the more than 21,000 shipping companies network, which, in turn, it said, will form what it called a powerful new platform for planning, executing, and freight demand capacity-matching.

On a media conference call today, James Langley, senior vice president, Trimble Transportation, said that the opportunity this deal provides, once Trimble connects into the myriad industries Kuebix serves, and help connect the physical to the digital world, through the integration of innovation, domain, and connection and subsequently transforming the industry in a fundamental way, while creating new opportunities for collaboration throughout the logistics ecosystem

Dave Lemont, CEO of Kuebix, said that he believes Kuebix has become the dominant player in the transportation management space, pointing to the transparent connectivity between shippers and carriers, which this deal will provide and result in a win-win.

“You look at Trimble’s tremendous expertise in the carrier world and what we have been able to accomplish in the shipper world, this is an exciting partnership we are about to embark on,” he said. “We have been able to build a community of shippers from over 20,000 companies that are participating on our TMS, working with their carriers on a daily basis and managing their logistics operations. It stems from weighing, booking, and tracking their shipments, auditing their invoices, getting that information back into the ERP system, planning their shipments and optimizing them in [shippers’] docks and yards…everything that is needed to make a shipper more efficient.”

Lemont added that by having so many shippers in a single environment on its platform, it has led to partnerships with myriad carriers that will allow Kuebix’s shipper customers to have more connectivity, and more opportunities for its carrier partners all in a single platform which will transform the industry over time.

“This is a really super-exciting time for the industry,” said Dan Clark, Kuebix president and founder. “Imagine a world where a shipper, at any time, knows where a truck is going or where it needs to be. This partnership with Trimble takes that vision is going to allow us to make that a reality. Bringing shippers and carriers together on a single shared platform will allow for efficiencies that have never been seen or talked about.”   

Expanding on that vision, Trimble’s Langley explained that traditionally across the supply chain there has been a lot of technology and innovation across silos, with people in those silos trying to optimize different pieces of the supply chain, whether it is for a shipper, carrier, or warehouse manager, among other roles.

“There has been a lot of change that is driving a new way of looking at things,” he said. “More than $19 billion has been spent in the transportation technology space over the last three years. Why? Because there has been a ton of inefficiency in this industry.”

Citing an example of that inefficiency, he said a typical truck driver today in North America on an 11-hour driving clock effectively utilizes 6.5-to-7.5 hours of that day, which speaks to the waste that occurs, due to the inability in being transparent and being able to optimize, coupled with at least 15% of the time trailers are running empty, and the ones that are loaded, on average, are only 70% loaded.

“Thinks about all that cube and additional capacity and waste,” he said. “How do you solve that problem if you can’t see outside your four walls? The whole point of this connected platform is how to begin to bring people together and make it easier to do business and collaborate. Initially, Trimble was focused on the capacity side of the equation, and Kuebix has done an amazing job on creating gravitational pull on the shippers’ side of the equation. When looking at what you need to solve problems, we share all kinds of data, practices, and business needs but traditionally we have not all worked to together to solve that problem. If you think about it holistically we have the opportunity to optimize all the way down to the pallet and SKU…for the entire supply chain.”

And this pairing, he added, will help shippers to better optimize supply chains and share information, through the Kuebix platform, to provide better forward-looking information and visibility to carriers for various parameters that can be optimized. By enabling through technology, he said this merger will allow for all supply chain stakeholders to do business more efficiently and effectively through visibility, transparency and connectivity in order to optimize their businesses and work better together.     

Moving forward, the executives said that the goal is to provide solutions on a single platform that shippers, intermediaries, and carriers can all use and making communication and data move from a historical perspective to a prescriptive perspective that a shipper can use to get better visibility to capacity or plan or for a carrier to get more visibility into demand and go find that demand and run operations more efficiently and increase asset utilization. And they added the merger is focused on delivering that model to the marketplace.

Dick Armstrong, chairman of supply chain consultancy Armstrong & Associates, said that this deal marks an important step forward.

“The combination of TMS and shipper use of the platform should speed the flow of information and contribute to much better control,” Armstrong said.

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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