Though Freight Exchange Network celebrated its first anniversary in March 2017, the company is built on ideas and relationships that go back much further. Let’s look at a brief timeline that charts its success and growth.
Setting Out to Create an Industry-Changing Tool
In 2012, co-founders Mark Eichinger and Steve Wineriter began tossing around ideas to develop a transportation management system. They envisioned moving toward a GPS-based tracking product. While the use of GPS was common among the public, the logistics industry did not yet have viable options. Mr. Eichinger and Wineriter were determined to make real-time GPS information available to the industry using something the drivers already had — their smartphones.
By 2013, Eichinger and Wineriter realized that they wanted to target their GPS tool to manufacturers and distributors, not to the actual transportation companies. There was no solution in the marketplace for a manufacturer to track its shipment, whether it was using company drivers, brokers or national chains. At this point in time, the shipping company had all the information — and the shipper had no access to real-time data. Between 2014 and 2015, work toward product development began in earnest.
The Freight Exchange Network was formed in 2016; FreightTracer, the most powerful full-truckload GPS management tool for the manufacturing industry, was introduced. Manufacturers now had the ability to track freight in real-time, regardless of whether they used company drivers, asset-based trucking companies or third-party logistics (3PL) companies. This was “freight tracking, made simple.”
Creating a Product with Instant Credibility
Since FreightTracer was a new-to-market GPS-based tool, it was all about the maps. Freight Exchange opted for Google Maps Platform. “It’s the de facto standard in the industry,” according to Eichinger.
As he noted, the company looked at other options, “...and there wasn’t anything worthwhile. With the investment Google makes in the product and APIs, it was an easy decision.”
Freight Tracking Made Simple
The company runs a lean operation, using a network of partners, including developers, designers, architects, sales and support representatives. This team built all aspects of the FreightTracer product including its web application and portal.
These partners work closely with Freight Exchange to deliver ongoing tech support, product maintenance and development — and to deliver the appropriate expertise for technical roadmap items.
The FreightTracer dashboard gives users a single pane view into their entire distribution network, providing key decision-makers the information they need in real time.
FreightTracer offers mobile applications for iOS and Android, and a SaaS-based customer portal, both of which use the Google Maps APIs.
Manufacturers Have Google Maps Platform and Real-time Data in Their Hands
Having a tool built on Google Maps Platform and Google Maps APIs instills user confidence in FreightTracer. “Google is always building out the platform. The predictive traffic information Google has added is a huge benefit. Shipments could be at risk, and shippers now have that information immediately,” Eichinger said. “Behind the scenes, using Google Maps Platform gives us confidence selling into accounts. We have total confidence in our product and its reliability. The innovation that is ongoing at Google also allows us to be creative in our roadmap. There is so much information we can offer to our customers because of Google.”
Wineriter added, “Onix has been a tremendous help in our Google Maps Platform deployment. They explained how the licensing would work and the initial costs. More importantly, they’ve stayed engaged. Not all reps work to maintain the relationship, but Onix has stayed involved, visiting us on site in Dallas and following up quickly on any questions or concerns. They also help by making us aware of new product developments. To us, that’s a huge plus.