During Down Market, Leading Competing DFM Industry Brokers Met Last Month at FW F3 to ‘Collaborate and Attack’ Appointment Scheduling Standard APIs
The FreightWaves Future of Freight (FW F3) event last month in Cleveland opened with the highly anticipated update on “A Blueprint for the Future” moderated by Craig Fuller, Founder & CEO of FW, who interviewed the three participating executives from the three corporate entities who established the Scheduling Standards Consortium (SSC) in December 2022.
If you have not seen it yet, the FW article entitled “Truck scheduling technology collaboration making strides” was published to cover the SSC panel gathering by FW’s own Joanna Marsh on June 21, 2023. And, the video titled “Connectivity: A Blueprint for the Future” was published on Friday July 7, 2023 by FW on its YouTube channel.
SSC’s leader Spencer Frazier, Executive VP of Sales at J.B. Hunt, opened the panel stating, “Appointment scheduling has been an industry challenge for a long time.” He added, “And in all of the conversations with our customers, they’ve been saying, hey, we need some help here!”
“What if we tried to work together?”
“What if we tried to do something different?”
“What if we tried to collaborate and attack this appointment scheduling issue?”
So, the blueprint for the future, from the three leading DFM brokers is “collaborate and attack”?
According to the WTO’s Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations, standards development is about 1. transparency, 2. openness, 3. impartiality and consensus, 4. effectiveness and relevance, 5. coherence, and 6. development dimension. Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) develop more than industry practices or innovative ways of doing things. They establish vetted, proven methods that can be used by any entity to harmonize execution or deal with a threat.
On stage in Cleveland, it sounded like the three largest competing freight brokers identified together the need to try to solve the appointment scheduling problem. In response to the SSC announcement, 600 applicants asked to participate. So far, only seven of the 600 have been announced as collaborators. This approach appears to leave at least 590 interested stakeholders uninvolved on the sideline.
How can ten entities solve a problem that affects at least 590 other entities, without talking to those 590 entities?
Leaders must plan and strategize before they get READY to Aim, and AIM before they Fire.
READY → AIM → FIRE
Qualifying Questions for Executive Leaders (to get READY):
- As competing leaders in the Digital Freight Matching / Freight Brokerage industry, where are the legal boundaries for collaboration?
- What are the Federal Trade Commission and US Department of Justice Antitrust guidelines for collaborations among competitors?
- When does “cooperation” become “collusion”?
- How does the FMCSA final guidance on Broker and bone fide Agent definitions impact the SSC leading Digital Freight Brokers?
- What impact does Section 4 of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act: Shipping Exchange Registry have on the Digital Freight Brokers leading and participating in the SSC?
- What’s the White House position on promoting competition in the American economy?
Proper Answers from Authoritative Sources (AIM):
On July 9, 2021, President Biden’s signed Executive Order (EO)14036: Promoting Competition in the American Economy. Quoting from Section 1: Policy,
The American information technology sector has long been an engine of innovation and growth, but today a small number of dominant Internet platforms use their power to exclude market entrants, to extract monopoly profits, and to gather intimate personal information that they can exploit for their own advantage. Too many small businesses across the economy depend on those platforms and a few online marketplaces for their survival. And too many local newspapers have shuttered or downsized, in part due to the Internet platforms’ dominance in advertising markets.
On May 4, 2023, the Biden Administration announced its National Standards Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technology. The section Putting the Strategy into Practice states:
The U.S. private sector leads standards activities globally, through standard development organizations (SDOs), to respond to market demand, with substantial contributions from the U.S. Government, academia, and civil society groups. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) coordinates the U.S. private sector standards activities, while the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) coordinates Federal Government engagement in standards activities. Industry associations, consortia, and other private sector groups work together within this system to develop standards to solve specific challenges. To date, this approach has fostered an effective and innovative standards system that has supercharged economic growth and worked for people of all nations.
- Antitrust Laws and You – US Dept. of Justice (Updated 2023-06-22)
- When does “cooperation” become “collusion”? by Steptoe & Johnson
- Antitrust Guidelines for Collaborations Among Competitors – Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice (April 2000)
- Final Guidance Clarifying Broker and Bona Fide Agents Definitions – US DOT/FMCSA
- Public Law No. 117-146 – Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (2022-06-16) – Federal Maritime Commission
Authorized Standard Development Organizations (FIRE):
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
- All ANSI-Accredited Standards Developers (ASDs) are required to comply with the normative policies and administrative procedures established by the ANSI Executive Standards Council. (ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards Section 1.10)
- ECCMA (Electronic Commerce Code Management Association) – the ANSI-appointed Administrator for the ISO US TAG
- ASTM International
- Specifically, Committee F49 on Digital Information in the Supply Chain
- Committee Chairman: Jeff Weiss
- Vice Chair : Jack Crumbly
- Committee Manager: Jennifer Tursi
- F49.01 Terminology
- F49.02 Interoperability
- F49.03 Minimum Data Set for a National Freight Data Portal
- F49.04 Recommended Practices, Guides, and Specifications
- F49.05 Enabling Technology
- F49.06 Measurement
- F49.90 Executive
After watching and listening to the panelists, the Appointment Scheduling issue is a valid industry need that would likely be classified in the F49.04 Recommended Practices, Guides, and Specifications. That subcommittee would likely reference X12 EDI 163, the X12 Transaction Set containing the format and establishing the data contents of the Transportation Appointment Schedule Information Transaction Set (163) for use within the context of an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) environment. The transaction set can be used by transportation carriers and their trading partners to request and accept freight pickup and delivery appointments.
Comm. Bentzel’s Recommendations on the Marine Transportation Data System Requirements, under the section titled Best Information, states “…the MTDI recommendation for the MTDS does recommend a minimum proposed requirement that all information be provided through an Application Programming Interface (API), a time and date stamp for each operational event status change, public access of this information for at least three months, and storing the information for either two to one years depending on if it is carrier or protected cargo specific generated information.”
Ready… Aim… Fire! …
Review the get Ready strategy, the Aim strategy, and Firing results…
Adjust… READY… AIM… FIRE… Reset, Re-aim, then fire…
Review strategy and results… rinse and repeat.
The WINNING Standards strategy for standards development is greater stakeholders’ collaboration which yields much more accurate results and is representative of many more diverse stakeholders.
Disclaimer: John W. Hesse, II is DFM Data Corp., Inc.’s Corporate Counsel and Chief Revenue Officer. Nothing contained herein is intended to be or should be construed as legal advice. DFM Data Corp., Inc. with ISO 8000-116 ALEI:[US-GA.BER:19056389] is collaborating with ECCMA and ISO with the ISO 8000-119 Transport Unit Identifier (TUID), and with ASTM as a Member of F49.01 and F49.04. Information on the TUID standardization can be found at https://dfmdata.com/tuidwg. To work through the industry associations that are collaborating with ASTM and ISO to produce World Trade Organization principled standards, sign up at www.dfmdata.com/join to get started. All interested stakeholders are welcome in the consensus-based standards development process.