To help power its GTZconnect platform, GlobalTranz, a full-service third-party logistics and transportation provider, marries its technology with products from the 2012 BI startup ThoughtSpot.
By incorporating ThoughtSpot's analytics and AI-driven search technology into GTZconnect, GlobalTranz created a scalable and collaborative analytics and AI in logistics platform that intelligently plans driver routes and enables employees and customers to more easily find and use relevant data.
Lots of data with nowhere to go
Founded in 2003, GlobalTranz has access to a lot of data, said Greg Carter, CTO at the company, based in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"We've been accumulating data since 2006 on the movement of goods throughout North America," he said, adding that, until recently, the company didn't know exactly how to make use of that data.
"We needed a technology that could help us leverage that data," Carter said. That technology, he said, had to be powerful, as well as relatively easy to use.
"We really wanted to find a tool that could do sophisticated code and analysis without having to learn a new code, a new technology," Carter said.
So, a few years ago, GlobalTranz began testing out predictive analytics and AI in logistics technologies from different vendors.
The GlobalTranz team tried a variety of products, Carter said, though he didn't specify the products. Some used impressive technology, but none of the systems the team tried were self-service.
But they were too difficult to use for the typical business end user, Carter said. He also had concerns about the scalability of certain products.
GlobalTranz's customers use a variety of cloud providers, and Carter felt unsure that some of the products he tried would work on all the different cloud services.
Carter also had trouble finding a product that could be modified quickly, an essential feature as Carter wanted to unite GlobalTranz's technology with the third-party predictive analytics and AI in logistics technology.
ThoughtSpot, he said, met all of the requirements, and Carter began incorporating its products into GlobalTranz's technology soon after doing a demonstration with ThoughtSpot.
Building out GTZconnect "was a gradual affair," Carter said. Within the six months, many customers used ready-to-use ThoughtSpot products through GlobalTranz. Fully customizing those products, however, took months of work.
"In trying to build a data set, it's always difficult when you have 20K shippers and 30K shippers to anticipate what people want," Carter said. He and his team constantly tweaked and modified ThoughtSpot in GTZconnect. The finished product, he said, was worth it.
Greg CarterCTO, GlobalTranz
With GTZconnect, GlobalTranz can "build a persona of a carrier and a driver," using predictive analytics and AI in logistics technology to discover which routes the driver prefers, such as routes near their families, and then match the driver to stops along that route.
"Knowing the behavior of the driver, we want to not only book that driver for one movement but for four, five, as many as we can at once," Carter said.
The drivers get more work while driving a route they prefer, and the shippers can make more deliveries.
GlobalTranz's software, thanks to ThoughtSpot's AI-driven search capabilities, is reasonably easy to navigate, enabling customers and employees to access needed information without the need for data scientists.
"Users can now do very complex queries that they don't think are complex," because the system is easy to use, Carter said. "These are people that have never been trained on analytics."