J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. has been hauling freight since 1961. Now it’s propelling itself ahead with a major investment in cloud and related technologies that will define its future, president and CEO John Roberts says.
The company, a provider of supply chain and freight-hauling services across North America, will invest more than $500 million over the next five years “to enhance its operating systems, developing cloud infrastructure and creating disruptive technologies,” it said at its annual shareholders meeting yesterday.
A major part of that strategy, Roberts says, was the launch this week of an online supply chain services marketplace through which J.B. Hunt will enable shipping clients to match their freight-shipping needs with available capacity from more than 1 million trucks operated by multiple carriers across North America. The portal, dubbed the Marketplace for J.B. Hunt 360, will use “real-time data with artificial intelligence to match freight with capacity, pairing the right load with the right carrier to create efficiency and cost savings,” the company says.
“Technology is a huge force propelling us into the future,” Robert says. “Customers are demanding greater visibility and information into their supply chain in real time. J.B. Hunt 360 is our comprehensive solution to meet that demand.”
J.B. Hunt says the marketplace was designed with artificial intelligence technology that will let shippers post information on where and when they need to ship freight loads, then view within seconds offers from carriers with the most suitable offers based on such criteria as a shipper’s shipping preferences and each carrier’s price offers and ratings and reviews. Artificial intelligence uses software that “learns” the preferences of online buyers, then provides them with pertinent information tied to those preferences. The marketplace also is available through mobile apps designed for Apple and Android mobile devices.
J.B. Hunt says it is still adding new features to the marketplace. Later this year, for example, it will provide voice-activated commands; customer service responses produced by software bots simulating a human voice; and predictive analytics applications designed to consider various information, including weather and traffic conditions, to provide such information as projected delivery times.
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