Com-mu-ni-ty (noun) a unified body of individuals - a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society.  Merriam Webster Dictionary

Few words better describe logistics than community. To be successful, logistics-intensive companies need to work well together. They need to be able to efficiently connect, communicate and collaborate with each other. As markets evolve and business changes, they need to be able to find new partners and new ways to work together to improve their productivity and performance. But as the definition states, logistics organizations are “scattered.” So who helps bring them together? Descartes can.

Working closely with customers, we have learned that there are many elements to a logistician’s daily job. We’ve also found that these elements (detailed below) are also equally scattered, which can limit productivity. We asked ourselves, “How can Descartes help not only our customer’s productivity, but their entire ecosystem? Could there be one tool our community could use to have thousands of trading partners a click away, a broad range of decision support applications for use on a single dashboard, consolidated industry news and content from a variety of sources at their fingertips, and more … ?”

This is where the Descartes Community cloud-based service comes in to play. We are introducing new technology to our Logistics Technology Platform that helps members of the Descartes community to work more efficiently, be more agile and do more business.

We believe that there are nine elements that make communities and their members successful:

  • Connect
  • Define
  • Transact
  • Search
  • Learn
  • Collaborate
  • Market
  • Trade
  • Evolve

There are numerous examples from cargo community systems, to messaging networks, global data pools, load boards, content aggregators, multi-party application providers and social networks that deliver some aspects of these nine elements. However, to date, no one has pulled them all together for the logistics world.

The Descartes Community cloud-based service is unique in that it provides industry-wide access allowing organizations and the individuals that are part of them to define their operational and electronic capabilities and roles. Leveraging the Logistics Technology Platform, the Descartes Community helps bring together the applications and content needed every day to make the best decisions possible across the logistics chain and execute them.

This may sound like a pretty noble and lofty goal, but we believe we have the proven technology and critical mass to make it happen. Our community now comprises over 63,000 connected parties, our Global Logistics Network manages billions of messages annually, and we have one of the industry’s most robust portfolios of logistics management solutions. Our new technology, called eCellerate, has a proven track record integrating supply chains. We are bringing all of these great assets together to take a step further in offering innovation.

The Descartes Community framework is designed to encourage other logistics solution and content providers to provide you and your partners with the platform you need to work better together. To facilitate the widespread adoption of the Descartes Community, Descartes is making its industry-leading Standard Messaging Format (SMF) publicly available to those wishing to streamline the execution of logistics transactions across the Descartes Global Logistics Network (GLN). Descartes has been working to standardize logistics transactions across the multiple modes of transportation with leading industry bodies such as IATA. The goal of making these 25 critical logistics and regulatory message standards available to all organizations free of charge is to make communication and collaboration between parties involved in logistics as seamless as possible. We are inviting not only transportation and logistics companies, manufacturers, retailer and distributors, but complementary and competitive logistics solution providers, to take advantage of the SMFs to improve their ability to communicate and collaborate.

Written by Chris Jones

Executive Vice President of Marketing and Services