UltraShipTMS is a twenty-year-old provider of supply chain management software solutions serving enterprise-sized organizations’ transportation logistics operations. Our customers are large, leading players in their respective industries moving significant volumes of freight by the truckload, container load, and rail car, all over the world.
In this interview with Anthony Vitiello, VP of Sales and Marketing, let us know more about UltraShipTMS.
Tell us about UltraShipTMS.
UltraShipTMS is privately owned and continues to be an innovator in the space, having been one of the very first Transportation Management System (TMS) applications delivered in the cloud or via the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, long before those terms were even part of the business lexicon.
What were the initial challenges you faced?
Well, I have been with the company going on 8 years, so I was not involved at the earliest junctures. But, I’d say that initial challenges facing all web-based software companies back in 2001 were driving user adoption for solutions that were not hosted on-premises. Today, everyone takes the security and reliability of cloud-based software for granted. In the earliest days, we not only had to prove the efficacy of our TMS solution but also convince IT, stakeholders and executives, that web-based delivery was secure, stable, and safe.
Which was that point that triggered the growth of the company?
By 2012, SaaS solutions were enjoying much more widespread adoption so that certainly didn’t hurt. But what became apparent at that time was the need to automate transportation logistics management processes, which had largely been managed prior via manual processes using spreadsheets, fax machines, telephones. Even many of the largest companies – while they may have had ERP software deployed for decades – were not yet fully embracing technology for logistics management. That began to change at the beginning of the decade and the appetite for these solutions grew ravenously.
What is the reason behind your company’s long-standing success?
UltraShipTMS’s success in the TMS space is due to the applicability of our product. Many of the competing products in the market were built in a VC-funded vacuum where developers were paid to solve business problems about which they lacked any first-hand, operational understanding. UltraShipTMS executive leadership, application developers, and training/support personnel have always been hand-picked for their real-world transportation logistics career history. Our product is built and supported by people who innately understand the challenges and environment real-world transportation professionals face every day. That applicability is reflected in high customer satisfaction levels and industry-leading account longevity.
What are the products/services the company focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?
UltraShipTMS delivers a modular transportation logistics platform. Many TMS providers exist in the market. UltraShipTMS differentiates by delivering features and functionality that goes “Beyond TMS” (our tagline). UltraShipTMS offers the core TMS features expected of a TMS – carrier management, automated freight tendering, track and trace, claims, etc. However, the platform offers five additional modules. A proprietary, algorithmic optimizer to improve mode selection, rate, and route consolidation, and so forth. A robust fleet management module for companies using private/dedicated assets as well as commercial freight carriers.
A freight settlement and invoice auditing solution. A freight yard management module (YMS). An advanced scheduling solution to automate appointments for pickup and delivery down to the dock door level. UltraShipTMS’s pricing model allows a shipper to select the modules they need and deselect those they don’t so that, if I might borrow a slogan from a popular car insurance advert, “you only pay for what you need”.
Our product is built and supported by people who innately understand the challenges and environment real-world transportation professionals face every day.
How do you decide to take the company a step further in terms of your products/services?
UltraShipTMS prides itself on going “Beyond TMS”. Ultra in Latin means “Beyond”. Living up to this ethic means staying ahead of developments both technical and market-based. We have historically led in innovative areas. First as one of the earliest SaaS-based applications for logistics management.
Then over the years with the first TMS-based solution to deliver fleet management on the same screens as common carrier management; the first real-time temperature-controlled freight tracking through integration with leading visibility provider, FourKites, and many other instances of advancements that were quickly emulated by our competitors.
The other key piece to this answer is manifest in our approach to account management, support, and training. All UltraShipTMS customers are assigned dedicated resources for the duration of their contract (typically 3 to 5 years). Whereas most providers charge on a per-user basis for ongoing training, system support, and other critical professional services, UltraShip customers are provided with hands-on, first-name-basis teams that are routinely considered an extension of the customer’s logistics department.
This high touch service model is included in the monthly subscription cost and saves considerably over time for a very attractive total cost of ownership.
Can you please brief us about your professional experience?
Results-driven, dynamic professional with comprehensive interpersonal, operational, and analytical acumen with twenty-five years of successful marketing and selling across multiple industries, including PR/marketing agency management, in-house experience with startups in Silicon Valley during the DotCom boom, and up to Fortune500 companies like Volt Information Sciences, where I was employed in marketing leadership for 5+ years.
I specialize in promoting B2B enterprise technologies across numerous industries including human capital (workforce management), supply chain management/transportation logistics, financial services, and fine food & beverage industries. Masterful at leveraging online/new media marketing techniques as well as all traditional channels I have demonstrated a proven track record of success. Skilled in leading and collaborating with cross-functional teams to drive progress while balancing a high volume of competing demands and deadlines. Expertise in project management, account management, process improvement, and building consensus through proactive stakeholder engagement.
Competition is always a motivating factor. Without it, we’d have no way of measuring our advances and shortcomings.
What does your work culture look like? How do you keep your employees motivated and driven?
I strive to foster an environment of open communication, collaboration, and affirmative leadership. I empower my subordinates as well as my colleagues in other departmental leadership to believe in their instincts and to channel their passion into actionable results. My innate posture aligned very nicely with the organizational culture at UltraShipTMS and that’s why I have been with the organization for these many years. It is gratifying to contribute to the growth and expansion of the company and to be part of a winning team.
What is your take on the competition in the market? How do you cope with it?
The field of supply chain management software, particularly in the transportation logistics segment of the supply chain, is growing at a remarkable pace. There are mature players similar to UltraShipTMS and recently a blossoming array of disruptive upstarts. There is fragmentation in the TMS space because there is such disparity in the sizes and natures of the organizations that need this type of application. Not all TMS software is appropriate for all types of organizations.
So, each opportunity must be viewed through the prism of whether or not the prospective customers’ supply chain is well suited to our product portfolio. We’re built for large volume, enterprise-level shippers and not so well suited for small companies or freight brokers (who also use a type of TMS solution). While we do often compete against a handful of the same competitors, we don’t focus too much on the competition’s capabilities. Instead, we focus on driving value for a prospect and illustrating how our flexible, powerful, proven solutions can be expertly configured to address the customers’ very specific needs in ways that highlight how our software outperforms other alternatives.
Is competition a motivating factor? Does it help to bring out the best?
Competition is always a motivating factor. Without it, we’d have no way of measuring our advances and shortcomings. It is one of the factors that helps propel us to continuously improve and grow, but it is not the only such factor.