EKA Solutions debuts Omni-TMS for small, medium-sized carriers

The transportation management system is the second part of its triad of freight solutions

Brian Straight Monday, June 8, 2020

Expanding its freight ecosystem, EKA Solutions has announced a TMS offering for small and medium-sized carriers. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

EKA Solutions has unveiled the second weapon in its triad of supply chain transportation management system (TMS) offerings with the release of its EKA Omni-TMS for small and medium-sized carriers.

EKA Omni-TMS for carriers is a native cloud-based SaaS TMS that provides affordable, quote-to-cash, best-in-class, intuitive, easy-to-use functionality to empower small- and medium-sized carriers with the functionality and services to grow and perform as well or better than large fleets,” JJ Singh, founder, investor and CEO of EKA Solutions, Inc, said.

Singh told FreightWaves that the offering is targeted to the “heart of the market,” those long-haul truckload fleets operating between two and 100 trucks that handle movement of 80% of the freight in the country.

“That said, the EKA carrier TMS as currently configured can be used by larger truckload fleets with simple and distributed operations and any size short-haul and last for-hire or private mile fleets,” Singh added.

EKA offers a digital freight management ecosystem, dFEMX, that helps clients manage all of a customer’s freight business including freight exchange and third-party services. It serves as the system of record across multiple applications and seamlessly ties into other freight solutions (TMS, driver apps, etc.) and third-party services, the company said.

“Intuitive precision asset and revenue management tools, real-time availability of all the data and information at the point of decision-making, automated work processes that facilitate exception management, real-time load movement visibility and live ETA will help deliver best-in-class carrier performance,” Mark Walker, investor, president and chief digital officer for EKA solutions, Inc., said.

Under the dFEMX offering, EKA offers the Omni-TMS for brokers, carriers and shippers. Providing real-time information, EKA Omni-TMS enables brokers, carriers and shippers to provide visibility and transparency as they trade across an expanding and verified network with key, trusted partners.

Singh noted the new carrier option “enables a comprehensive end-to-end and intuitive carrier TMS designed to meet the needs of the carrier and every other player in the supply chain.”

Benefits include:

  • Communicating with trusted trading and services’ partners in real-time
  • Enabling carriers to transform their organizations as the needs and opportunities of the supply chain change
  • Empowering a carrier to easily adapt to changing business circumstances
  • Allowing carriers and trading partners to wield their versatility as a competitive strength
  • Creating a role-based environment, allowing all parties to optimize the use of personnel and resources
  • Bringing to bear any peripheral services and tech/stack components in an efficient and affordable manner
  • Giving carriers the power to “tech-up” in a cloud-based, scalable, and secure environment

The solution adds more precise asset/load matching and revenue management tools, real time availability of all the data and information at the point of key decision making, automated work processes that facilitate exception management continue to streamline carrier management work processes.

Singh said the cost of integrating all these tools continues to fall, and carriers are able to start benefiting from this. The EKA Omni-TMS for carriers is highly intuitive, he said, and features pricing “based on dollars per truck per month” that makes it affordable for small fleets. It also enables automated tools to allow the smallest fleet or owner-operator the ability to answer common customer customers such as “where is my order,” in an automated way with real-time order and load movement visibility and live estimated time of arrival.

The solution is scalable so as the carrier grows, so too can the EKA Omni-TMS for carriers.

“Legacy and ‘contemporary technology’ carrier systems have done little to support carriers to compete in the new supply chain world,” Singh said. “Many allow carriers to dispatch loads using traditional tools, post capacity to load boards or some other load sources, and some provide effective operations and financial record keeping for customer billing and payments to speed-up cash flow. Unfortunately, carriers continue to generally rely on phone, e-mail exchanges and disparate APPs that gobble time and do not create the digital record needed to generate the next level of intelligence for high productivity and precision load sourcing for them to compete effectively and grow their business profitably.”

EKA Carrier TMS connects real-time and seamlessly with EKA broker system for the full lifecycle of load activities, including load availability, tendering, negotiation and assignment, real-time load movement visibility and ETA, exception events and notifications, automated document capture and settlement status monitoring, and settlement notification and details.

In addition to the Omni-TMS solution, EKA is building a private marketplace platform, fourth-party logistics provider (4PL) solutions, and solutions for service providers such as insurance companies as part of its ecosystem approach.

In a May interview with FreightWaves, Singh and Walker explained that the platform allows users to add web portals for any vendor, allowing customers to extend capacity and loads, and enabling “digital freighting in a marketplace environment,” Walker said. 

EKA is not a brokerage, but digital brokerage is a subset of what they offer broker customers. “We give them a whole gamut of lanes based on relationships, rather than a singular one-touch or touchless lane for doing their business,” explained Singh.

In mid-2019, EKA launched MPlace, a private marketplace for shippers and brokers to trade with “trusted providers in a more precise, automated and real-time manner.”

The company launched its unified, cloud-based Omni-TMS platform for small and medium-sized brokers and shippers in 2018. MPlace allows shippers that need a load hauled in a new freight lane to find partners in its own private space and not have to go out to the spot market or load boards, Singh told FreightWaves at the time.

“Utilizing the EKA MPlace, customers reduce direct labor, transportation spend and contracting risk while providing end-to-end visibility, audit and analysis,” Singh said.

Startup aims to democratize digital freight management

EKA Solutions builds ecosystem for small and medium-size brokers, carriers and shippers

Linda Baker, Staff Writer  Friday, May 15, 2020

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

J.J. Singh, a longtime transportation and logistics executive, decided to launch a digital freight management solutions company a few years ago after he realized that many small and medium-size shippers, brokers and carriers were not ready for “the Amazon world,” a pressure cooker environment that requires an immediate answer to the question: “‘Where is your load?’”

“We knew from the start these folks were at a cost disadvantage and an effectiveness disadvantage,” said Singh, whose previous experience includes stints at C.H. Robinson and Flying J. The reason for starting the new venture, he said “was to respond to the new business environment, help digitize folks and provide them with services so they are at least on par with larger companies that have a lot more resources.”

Founded in 2015, EKA Solutions offers a cloud-based logistics platform designed to facilitate collaboration and data exchange among small and medium-size shippers, trucking companies and brokers.

The Sacramento, California-based company is developing a range of products aimed at helping customers connect and thrive. Among the offerings: a broker, carrier and shipper transportation management system (TMS), a private marketplace platform, 4PL solutions, and solutions for service providers such as insurance companies.

“We are building an ecosystem for freight management,” said Singh, EKA’s chief executive officer. 

Several features distinguish the company’s products and services from others in the supply chain technology management sector, the company’s executives said.

EKA’s platform is end-to-end, “from order to cash,” Singh said. A centralized system of record, the platform enables real-time load management, shipment tracking, trade partner negotiations, payment and more.

Customizing offerings for different freight participants, EKA starts with a supply chain engine, then crafts different “lenses” on top of that engine, said Mark Walker, EKA’s president and chief digital officer, explaining there is a tailored TMS for carriers, for shippers and for brokers.

“The nuances of each of those lenses allows each party to run their business,” Walker said,  “and it is highly configurable as well, so one company could have a completely different look and feel in a lot of their use of the system.”

A broker TMS launched last fall, and a carrier TMS will be ready on July 1. A shipper TMS is ready to deploy.

The company’s supply chain platform features an intuitive interface and reports can be generated throughout the day in an easy-to-read dashboard style. Because of the “intelligent design,” the cost to deploy is a fraction of what other systems might charge, according to Singh, and the company offers its lowest pricing for the smallest customers, upending the common practice of giving large customers discounts.

“Our whole model is price as you need it,” he said.

Connected to the platform are web portals for any vendors, allowing customers to extend capacity and loads, and enabling “digital freighting in a marketplace environment,” Walker said. 

But unlike the large freight-matching services, typically wide open to all carriers and brokers, EKA’s offering is built around “trusted relationships,” the executives said. Customers can extend information to outsiders, but it is not suggested, Walker explained. “We are not trying to open freight up so they can get the lowest price or generate the highest profit.”

EKA is not a brokerage, but digital brokerage is a subset of what they offer broker customers. “We give them a whole gamut of lanes based on relationships, rather than a singular one-touch or touchless lane for doing their business,” explained Singh.

Looking ahead, the startup aims to broaden its ecosystem to include service providers such as insurance companies for brokers and carriers. That will debut in the second half of 2020.

Mirroring the experience of other technology companies, EKA Solutions experienced a tough time for sales in March and April, as the pandemic upended the economy, according to Singh. But the platform “shines” as a work-from-home solution, he emphasized. “All you need is high-speed internet and we take care of the rest. It’s just like running an airbnb platform.”

As the team continues to build out its product suite, “we are very close to delivering to the marketplace our vision of an end-to-end supply chain platform,” Singh said, “where the shipper can run their business end-to-end, the broker can run their business end-to-end and the carrier can run their business end-to-end. And they can all collaborate very effectively.”