Logistics Provider Descartes Acquires Shipping Expert Scancode
April 6, 2009 Dan Burger
Descartes Systems Group–a global logistics solutions provider that specializes in hosted, transactional, and packaged solutions–has acquired privately held Scancode Systems, a developer and integrator of carrier-compliant parcel and less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping solutions. The acquisition brings additional services–as well as 500 new members–to the extensive Descartes Global Logistics Network.
The acquisition is the latest in a series that Descartes has strung together as it strives to build out its suite of products and its hosted services. Here’s a review of the past 18 months.
Beginning in August 2007, it acquired Global Freight Exchange, a U.K.-based company specializing in electronic freight booking services for the air cargo market. That was followed, in December 2007, with the purchase of map-routing software vendor RouteView Technologies. Only one month later, in January 2008, Descartes hand-picked assets from a fleet management company called Mobitrac from Fluensee, which specialized in RFID-enabled asset management and supply chain technology services. Later that month, Descartes nabbed assets from Pacific Coast Tariff Bureau, a San Francisco-based tariff and contract publishing services provider for ocean carriers, non-vessel operating common carriers, and shippers. Then, in October 2008, Descartes reeled in a European customs filing and logistics messaging provider called Dexx. In February 2009 the buying binge continued with Oceanwide, an enterprise software company within the marine insurance market. One month later Scancode was in Descartes’ shopping cart.
Scancode technology helps companies manage small parcel shipments with postal services, a variety of small-package delivery carriers and over 150 LTL carriers. The software allows shippers to comply with carrier manifesting and labeling requirements and it also includes support for warehouse and automated data collection functionality.
It communicates with IBM AS/400, iSeries, and System i servers in a variety of ways including, data queues using Client Access, WebSphere message queues, SQL requests, flat files, FTP and HTTP file transfers, and COM connectors.
Scancode provides complementary services to Descartes’ broader transportation management solutions by adding enterprise shipping solutions that plan, pick, pack, and manifest shipments. By gathering information at the loading dock and source of the shipment, Descartes officials say it has extended the shipment management process to support “the first mile” of the delivery/shipment and added tracking detail and visibility.
“Our focus is to bring together importers, exporters, customs brokers, transportation carriers, logistics intermediaries, and regulatory and customs agencies around the world in a shared-services environment using standardized business processes,” said Art Mesher, Descartes’ CEO. “The acquisition of Scancode adds another dimension of services to the Descartes GLN and broadens the community of shippers and logistics service providers, enhancing the productivity and performance for all.”
Scancode is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and has approximately 50 personnel. Descartes paid approximately $8.4 million (that’s Canadian dollars, approximately $6.6 million U.S. dollars at current exchange rates) and incurred certain transaction expenses.