I have recently taken the helm as TEC’s research analyst for all manner of strategic supply chain management (SCM) solutions designed to take businesses to a higher level, that being their aspiration and achieved with varying degrees of success. However, I’m not here to make a case of my humble credentials in this first posting of mine.
A recent entry into the circle of trust that is the TEC Certification Program is DP&C SmartFleet Plus, a transportation management system (TMS) solution from DP&C Enterprises, LLC. Scoring an almost perfect rating by our analysis (234 out of 244 criteria supported right out of the box) is a compelling argument for me to make a quick investigation. Curiosity being one of my middle names, I contacted Senior Vice President Edward P. Vrabec and his team for their take on things. Combined with some background research, here’s what I’ve pieced together.
DP&C Enterprises, LLC has been growing continuously since its inception in 2001. It is first and foremost a consulting firm that specializes in providing solutions to all points of the supply chain, such as process enhancements, technology applications, and integration, to name a few. It puts a particular focus on real-time access in the design of its solutions by integrating—among other things—global positioning system (GPS) technology into its offering.
Through various projects, DP&C came to recognize a gap between the expectations of its clients for useful positioning information conversion and the available offerings from GPS manufacturers. This was the seed behind its proprietary TMS solution (DP&C SmartFleet)—which also supports the management of sales orders, routing, the fleet (private or third party), vendors, human resources (HR), and inventory. It is designed as a stand-alone solution for companies looking to make the transition from disparate manual processes (aka paper and spreadsheets) to an integrated solution. However, it is fully compatible with existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to provide them with further functionalities.
DP&C SmartFleet supports and manages international mainland ground movements (either by truck or by rail). As DP&C does not currently offer service for intercontinental shipments by sea or air, SmartFleet is better suited to businesses that do not rely on the latter for their bread and butter.
DP&C offers SmartFleet in either a software-as-as-service (SaaS) model or a licensed on-premise version, and is being used by 50 businesses of various types (including chemicals, transport, and manufacturing). Interestingly enough, all of these companies embraced SmartFleet as a solution hosted by DP&C, the ease of access and scalability of the software proving solid arguments for this sort of implementation. Another perk the cloud offers is how much easier it is for customers and vendors to access the system using a self-service approach. Customers can track their orders in real time while vendors update information, such as assigned mobile assets, drivers, etc.
The platform also supports multitenant usage, and customization is readily available. DP&C claims that 85 percent of its customers use the software out of the box, which is quite likely given the number of supported functionalities over its competitors and also the features that are outside normal TMS offerings, such as sales orders, vendor management, and HR management. Keeping in mind that these features are not as exhaustive as some more dedicated solutions on the market, they do provide enough support to be functional for small to medium businesses. Larger organizations will find more appeal in SmartFleet’s TMS-specific features, like planning, transportation network optimization, execution, shipment tracking, analysis, system definition, and implementation.
The Bottom Line
Overall, DP&C SmartFleet has positioned itself on a par with TMS solutions from more established names such as Oracle and Quad—while pushing ahead of the industry average as defined by TEC’s model. There is still room for expansion if DP&C is looking to play a larger role in global logistics by supporting intercontinental shipments with automated export paperwork. DP&C could likely find some advantage in collaborating or even partnering with other players in logistics and brokerage to leverage the extra capabilities. This is a major market for this outsourcing-driven world economy, and any company that can fill this gap in a timely manner is bound to attract the eye of global businesses.
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