Pitney Bowes has expanded its e-commerce capabilities with the acquisition of transportation management system provider Enroute Systems Corp., the company says.
Pitney Bowes, a postage meter manufacturer and global e-commerce technology provider, says it can provide faster, lower-cost shipping and better package tracking for mid- to enterprise-sized retailers with Enroute’s software for evaluating the options offered by various carriers. Enroute also helps shipping and logistics companies manage a variety of carriers, the company says.
Pitney Bowes and Enroute did not disclose terms of the deal.
The acquisition comes as U.S. outbound cross-border e-commerce globally is forecast to expand at a 16% compound annual growth rate, to $44 billion in 2018 from $24 billion in 2014, according to Forrester Research. Pitney Bowes last year paid $395 million to acquire Borderfree, a company that specializes in fulfilling overseas orders for online retailers.
James Tompkins, CEO of Tompkins International supply chain consulting firm, says Pitney Bowes will now be able to manage the delivery, selling, tariffs and U.S. Customs requirements of retailers’ products.
“Enroute can select the cheapest and quickest way to deliver an e-retailer’s shipment,” Tompkins says. “The acquisition lets Pitney Bowes provide its retail customers a stronger value proposition to fulfill customers’ expectations for timely shipments at minimal cost.”
Walt Blum, FitForCommerce senior consultant, says the acquisition shows that Pitney Bowes is reinventing itself, as it needed to do, and is increasingly focusing on transportation management services.
“Pitney Bowes will be able to provide customers with various options in determining transportation services, lower costs and increased speed, as well as expand the services globally by linking with freight carriers,” Blum says. Companies that manage their own supply chains and third-party logistics providers can use a transportation management system to improve service levels and lower transportation costs and time, he says.
Enroute Systems is built on a software-as-a-service, or SaaS model, in which the vendor hosts the software and clients access it via the web.
SaaS technology like that of Enroute Systems “enables users to implement a solution with very little capital investment and quickly,” Blum says. Many companies are integrating their warehouse management software with transportation management services to improve supply chain efficiency, and Enroute Systems will enablePitney Bowes to partner with other warehouse management system providers “to offer this one-stop solution,” Blum says.
Linda Bustos, co-founder and managing partner at e-commerce consultancy Edgacent, says Enroute integrates with a retailer’s order management system and warehouse management system to support real-time rate shopping based on an order’s complex specifications.
For example, she says, Enroute can take into account an order that contains multiple items of varying weights; of varying requirements such as aerosols or other products that can only be shipped ground, and items that may need to be fulfilled from a retailer’s stores or from more than one warehouse, and match them with the best price/speed/efficiency among the available delivery carriers.