02.03.15

Enterprise SaaS vs. Networked Platforms in Supply Chain and Transportation Management

By The Blume Global Team

Posted on February 3, 2015 by Tara Tate

A recent report from Boston-based ChainLink Research on supply chain platforms compares Enterprise SaaS applications serving single, multi-tenant instances with true “Networked Platforms” that provide SaaS solutions for multiple parties–not necessarily in direct commercial relationships, initially–interacting on one platform. A networked platform features a many-to-many model for data, security, connectivity, and onboarding. The network platform approach is best for supply chain and transportation management applications that require communication and collaboration among trading partners, be they customers/vendors or other third parties. In REZ-1’s current world of transportation management, the parties are buyers or arrangers of transportation on the one hand and providers of transportation and related services on the other.

Some key features of a Networked Platform include:

  • Critical mass of trading partners that can either be easily added to the network or may already be connected to the network, reducing the startup time.
  • Easy discovery of new partners.
  • Ability to automate manual processes with visibility into operations.
  • Open marketplace for competitive bidding by qualified providers of supplies and services, lowering costs and finding capacity in tight markets.
  • On Demand, Real-Time Market that links buyers and sellers for immediate services, such as drayage and goods transport.
  • Sharing and leveraging of network-wide data allowing for analysis of trends and benchmarking of performance, costs and more.

Many networked platforms target a particular industry segment, such as high tech, B2B, consumer or retail. This is one of the key differentiators between the various networked platforms that serve industries such as drayage and goods transport (REZ-1), couriers (Grand Junction), personal transport alternatives (Uber, Lyft, Sidecar), grocery delivery (Instacart), or housing (Airbnb); all examples referenced in the ChainLink report.

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