Descartes Systems Group said Wednesday it has acquired Exentra Transport Solutions Ltd., a leading U.K.-based provider of software-as-a-service(SaaS) compliance solutions for the European Union.
Every vehicle larger than 3.5 tons is required to have a tachograph that automatically records its speed, distance, and driver activity. Exentra's cloud-based compliance management platform, Smartanalysis, helps customers leverage the data from a vehicle's tachograph to comply with EU-wide legislation governing driver compliance, such as the EU working-time directive.
"The EU driver compliance legislation has been in place longer than comparable regulations in North America,” said Steve Fisher, chief executive officer of Exentra and now director of compliance at Descartes. “In the EU, not only is every vehicle required to have tachograph hardware, but the hardware is standardized and fitted during vehicle production. Our experience strengthens Descartes' routing, mobile and telematics suite to address the U.S. regulatory environment, while our combined solutions also have an immediate impact on the quality and safety of route planning for our collective U.K. customers."
Exentra brings thousands of U.K. routing-centric customers to Descartes' Logistics Technology Platform, where more than 35,000 trading partners connect and collaborate to improve logistics operations.
"Guided by our customers, we continue to invest in our routing, mobile and telematics suite of products," said Edward Ryan, chief commercial officer at Descartes. "We're particularly excited about making this incremental strategic investment in the U.K. market, where we have a long history of route planning success with marquee customers such as John Lewis Partnership and Wolseley."
The all cash purchase price for the acquisition was 10.7 million pounds (roughly $17 million), with Descartes acquiring about $300,000 in working capital.
Meanwhile, Descartes also said Tuesday at its annual user and partner conference that it has established a cloud-based community for its “customers to more deeply interact in their daily business within their industry and find new ways to grow.”
Through Descartes Community, the company will make its Standard Messaging Format (SMF) communication protocol publicly available for use, free of charge, to those wishing to connect to Descartes Global Logistics Network.
“Our customers are telling us that they need solutions that get them better connected to the organizations and individuals they work with every day and to be able to more easily reach across their industry to find and transact with new partners and do it in new ways," said Chris Jones, executive vice president marketing and services at Descartes.
"The Descartes Community service is unique in that it allows organizations and individuals to define their operational and electronic capabilities and roles, provides industry-wide access, and helps brings together the applications and content that are needed every day to make the best decisions across the logistics chain possible and execute them. Using Descartes Standard Messaging Format as a logistics collaboration backbone opens companies up to thousands of potential partners," Jones added. - Eric Johnson