Analyzing the Descartes Logistics Cloud Community

Logistics is the backbone of commerce, yet it is often very complex and thus inefficient. Descartes' SaaS solutions simplify global logistics and hence improve the productivity, performance, and security of logistics-intensive businesses. Read P.J. Jakovljevic’s writeup on the vendor and find out how Descartes’ solutions can bridge the information gap between logistics organizations, and provide visibility into the entire logistics process.

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Logistics is the backbone of commerce, yet it is often an afterthought and thus very inefficient. Once shippers hand over their loads to freight forwarders, which in turn consolidate shipments for multiple parties, good luck to any sellers, shippers, buyers, or importers with knowing exactly where their goods are!

One supply chain management (SCM) software company provides the types of systems that enable organizations to do that kind of analysis and greatly improve visibility into their supply chain logistics.

Descartes: About Simplifying Global Logistics

Descartes Systems Group (DSG) (Nasdaq: DSGX), a provider of on-demand software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, is focused on improving the productivity, performance, and security of logistics-intensive businesses. The vendor’s more than 10,000 customers are either the companies that are in the logistics business (e.g., third-party logistics [3PL] providers, carriers, etc.) or the retail, manufacturing, and distribution companies that acknowledge that logistics is important to their business. Simply said (but not that easily achieved), Descartes’ technology solutions help its customers make and receive shipments. Using its technology solutions, companies can reduce costs, save time, and enhance their customer service, while complying with government regulations.

After nearly going out of business in the early 2000s (due to unsustainable expansion and investment by its former top management), Descartes has righted its ship since 2004. One major tenet of its success has been the nearly sole focus on bite-sized SaaS solutions (rather than on large perpetual license contracts), recurring subscription-based revenue (priced per individual transaction or load unit move), and cash flow–based incremental expansion. Today, the company has more than 800 employees globally, is on an over $140 million revenue run rate, and has had more than30 consecutive quarters of record adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) performance, while averaging almost 20 percent of revenue on research and development (R&D) spend.

Descartes’ headquarters is in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and the company has offices and partners around the world. With more than 30 years of serving the logistics industry, the company has enabled connected logistics parties in 160 countries. It has the world’s largest logistics messaging network that handles about 70 percent of the top 25 air forwarders shipments and over 50 percent of US/Canada cross-border security filings. Descartes extends its customers’ command of their operations in the following ways:

  • By connecting them with their business community
  • By improving their financial performance in terms of costs, revenue, and profit (logistics is costly)
  • By helping them deliver differentiated customer service
  • By helping them comply with global customs and transportation regulations
  • By helping them improve the quality and reuse of the data moving through their systems
  • By providing planning and execution tools to help optimize and streamline logistics operations


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