In 1994, the commercial internet (or World Wide Web, for us who remember!) was still in its infancy; ICL launched the Integrated Logistics Management System (ILMS). Roughly twenty million Americans had internet access, and the system was PC-based, with data exchanged through a CompuServe mailbox, accessible via dial-up modem. The screens and reports were accessible through a Local Area Network, so access was limited to those within the OEM’s logistics team, but Pat recognized that the web would transform ICL.
In 1997, Mercedes-Benz USA approached Pat about using ILMS to track shipments from their new assembly plant in Vance, AL. While they didn’t have a name for it yet, ICL was one of the first companies to offer Software as a Service (SaaS); and introduced the ability for users to access the system via the internet using a commercial web browser. This marked a period of rapid growth and development for ICL, culminating in our current platform, VLMS, a complete solution for end-to-end visibility for finished vehicle shippers, centralizing and digitizing data from supply chain partners across the globe.
This year, we celebrate our twenty-fifth year as a business partner to MBUSA, and the need for great visibility tools is just as critical as ever. Our VLMS platforms let our customers predict vehicle arrivals, analyze transportation data, and automate the auditing of freight invoices, ultimately saving time and money and is used by more OEMs than any other system, far exceeding what was possible back in 1997.
For OEMs or automotive 3PLs/4PLs who want total visibility from plant to dealer, ICL’s VLMS transportation management system seamlessly integrates with logistics providers for all segments of the finished vehicle pre-delivery and transportation process.
In the first of our 30th Anniversary blog series, Tom Swennes looks at the history of our business, from our origin story in the back bedroom of a beach house to our plans.