With the UK logistics market estimated to be worth $481.46bn in 2023 and expected to grow to over $650 bn* by 2028, leading software supplier to the intermodal transport sector, Fargo Systems, is only too aware of the importance of future-proofing its business to retain its status as the industry’s digital TMS of choice.
And with the sector’s future focus on automation, artificial intelligence and real-time tracking for efficient supply chain management, the company has been working behind the scenes to ensure that its award-winning TopsTMS® solutions remain cutting-edge, simplify users’ experience, and maximise users’ productivity.
Managing director of Fargo Systems, Steve Collins, says: “With our systems currently managing over 5 million container jobs per year with an estimated revenue of more than £2 billion, we need to ensure our technology is continually evolving to meet the needs of our customers across the UK, Europe, Africa, and central and north America; as well as global industry advancements.”
Renowned for its innovative transport planning and resource scheduling, a ubiquitous element of today’s globalised logistics sector, Steve Collins continues: “Our focus is to feed the optimisation tools in TOPS with industry data, day-to-day data from our driver applications and historical data. For example, data-rich information previously collected can give a complete job history, including if a delivery or collection takes 30 minutes or four hours. TOPS can inform the planner of the approximate journey time, average tip/load times and previous job detention history.
“With improving efficiency across our end-to-end solutions, an example of our commitment to go further together is our advanced TOPS next-generation Twin & Reload Wizard.
“Now an integral part of the next-generation functionality in TOPS, the wizard provides planners and operators with an interactive, intuitive, and user-friendly tool for the continuing optimisation of twins, reloads and indirect reloads. Background processes that are pre-set with specified parameters proactively search for the best optimisation matches. As we like to say, your wizard, your way.”
With smart working practices embedded into the MO of Fargo’s Tops TMS® suite of products, Fargo’s innovative optional add-on tool, Smart Vendor Planning (SVP), is already garnering significant praise from those transport planners using it.
Fargo Systems’ project director, Jim Slade, explains: “Very rarely is one vendor cheaper on every route, and a transport operator can only keep some of the rates and capabilities of vendors in their head in a busy planning environment. The Smart Vendor Planning tool provides a cost-effective solution that enables users to quickly assign subcontractors to some (or even all) transport orders for a given date range and accept or reject the system-provided suggestions. The tool is designed in such a way as to assist, not replace, the transport planner. With the combination of human expertise and experience and a logic and rule-based semi-automated system, this technology is a game-changer.
“An example is a container transport operation outsourcing 300 container moves a day; we’ve estimated that the Smart Vendor Planning tool could generate savings in the region of £1m per annum. And, for the more modest operation, or where a combination of own fleet and subcontracting occurs, the efficiency of SVP can still provide operational benefits and deliver significant savings.”
Whilst innovation can further build a company’s success and potential to store evermore data on behalf of legitimate organisations, the unfortunate and potentially destabilising flipside of holding such ‘valuable’ information is the risk of cyber-attack also increases.
With 39% of UK companies identifying a cyber-attack in 2022, Fargo Systems decided that, in addition to its regular safety reviews, it would commission cyber security experts, Corbel Systems, to evaluate its business operations.
Tasked to identify any evolutions in security protocols that could help safeguard Fargo’s data and its clients, Steve Collins continues: “Working with Corbel Systems has added to our awareness of the implications of cybercrime.
“We’ve now put in place a range of systems across our entire business to ensure that users are who they say they are. It also ensures that our cloud system remains safe from unauthorised access. We have also embraced additional security offered by Microsoft Azure cloud services and have increased the frequency of our cyber security assessments and progressive penetration testing. Ensuring we are aware and can quickly act on newly identified vulnerabilities.
“And, as part of our commitment to protecting our systems and customers from cyber-attacks, we have introduced SSO (Single Sign-On) with Windows Active Directory into TOPS, which is available to customers regardless of how TOPS is deployed.”
With its six TOPS products and ability to offer flexible and modular business solutions, Fargo Systems is leading the way in transport management software. Steve Collins adds: “We’re constantly looking at NextGen functionality and developments to further support the needs of our customers. With the industry a very different beast than it was even ten years ago, digital TMS are destined to play an even-greater role in its future. And Fargo Systems is committed to being at the forefront of its evolution.”