In an effort to eliminate one of the major barriers now plaguing the electronic logistics arena, Logistics.com Inc. has developed a logistics standard designed to allow multiple industry players and software programs to communicate more effectively.
The Burlington, Mass.-based company, which markets software to help shippers and carriers buy, sell, manage, and optimize logistics, launched a logistics event management architecture this week designed to foster business process and integration standards in the logistics industry, according to company officials.
The new system features tXML (TransportationXML) to enable standard application integration among all members of a logistics chain as well as intra-enterprise requirements between legacy and new systems. The backbone of the architecture, which is called Logistics Event Management Architecture (LEMA), is its message bus designed to integrate with more than 70 external business protocols such as EDI (electronic data interchange), HTTP, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), and XML over the web.
Logistics.com already has established the LEMA set of standards with many of its customers, said John Lanigan, Logistics.com CEO. The company now is seeking to expand LEMA participation through the endorsement of standards body, he added"The ability for the industry to come together and develop standards allows for a much broader adoption of technology ... and allows various service providers to serve clients on a broader basis," Lanigan said. "Logistics is a core business process ... that is one of the backbones of commerce. This is really kind of a Trojan Horse effort on our part to get dialogue going."
The fragmented nature of the logistics and transportation industries makes them perfect candidates for a standards-based initiative like Logistics.com's LEMA, said Romala Ravi, senior analyst of eLogistics Services for International Data Corp. The lack of standards has been one of the key barriers to the rapid adoption of e-logistics services, she added.
LEMA will provide application integration, free flow of information, and the reduction of cycle time in processing logistics events, such as simultaneous offer and acceptance of shipment moves, according to company officials. It is designed to allow multiple organizations to process the same logistics event through independent workflows and customize their own specific view of that event's activity.
"There is no one way of doing things from the standpoint of how you move things," Lanigan said. "You've got a tremendous amount of variables that you are dealing with on a daily basis. Three companies can all call a truck something different in their databases. A truck is a truck. UPS is UPS. We should all call these things the same in business objects."