Our Co-Founder and CCO, John Schmitter, took pen to paper to discuss an ever-pressing question within the rail industry: is it really a “black hole”? According to John, “While some of the reporting is not as current as people would like, the railway system is not a black hole.” In fact, there are several ways to track your cars and shipments. John outlines the history of the Transportation Management System (TMS) business, beginning in 1980, with the desire to put rail car sightings into an “aesthetically pleasing” UI. Today, there are dozens of these systems, each claiming to be more functional than the last. However, none of them provide insights into the network.
What’s missing from TMSs or other tracking systems is the ability to see things on a network level, and to adjust operations planning in accordance to the ever-changing network. Without real-time visibility of everything traveling by rail on the routes they are using, customers have insufficient data to make strategic, cost and time-saving decisions.