Descartes Systems Group

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The Descartes Systems Group Inc.
Public
Traded as
Industry
FoundedMay 22, 1981; 38 years ago (1981-05-22)
HeadquartersWaterloo, Ontario, Canada
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
  • Edward J. Ryan, CEO
  • J. Scott Pagan, President and COO
  • Allan Brett, CFO
ProductsSoftware-as-a-service applications for logistics and supply chain management
ServicesDescartes Global Logistics Network
RevenueIncrease US$ $275.2 million (FY 2019)[1]
Number of employees
1360+
Websitewww.descartes.com

The Descartes Systems Group Inc. (commonly referred to as Descartes) is a Canadian multinational technology company specializing in logistics software, supply chain management software, and cloud-based services for logistics businesses.

Descartes is perhaps best known for its abrupt and unexpected turnaround in the mid-2000s after coming close to bankruptcy in the wake of the dot-com bubble collapse. It is also known as one of the earliest logistics technology companies to adopt an on-demand business model and sell its software as a service (SaaS) via the Internet. The company operates the Global Logistics Network, an extensive electronic messaging system used by freight companies, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, customs brokers, government agencies, and other interested parties to exchange logistics and customs information.

Headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Descartes is a publicly traded company with shares listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market (NASDAQ: DSGX) and Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: DSG). It has offices in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific region.

History[edit]

Descartes was founded in 1981.[2]

In 1998, the company made an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange,[3] where its common shares trade under the stock symbol DSG.[4] Descartes was first listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market in 1999,[3] with common shares trading under the symbol DSGX.[5] Descartes’ share price peaked during the dot-com bubble and then fell precipitously in the subsequent crash.[3][6]

In 2001, Descartes switched its business model from selling full-featured enterprise software licenses to providing on-demand software on a subscription basis, becoming one of the first SaaS providers in the logistics sector.[7][8][9] After years of losses, Descartes came close to bankruptcy in 2004,[6][7] prompting it to aggressively restructure.[10][11] The company cut 35% of its workforce[12] and initiated a sweeping transformation of its corporate culture.[6][13][14]

The company returned to profitability in 2005,[15] pulling off what one analyst later described as "one of the most dramatic turnarounds in Canadian corporate history."[14] Descartes was recognized for this achievement at the 2006 International Business Awards gala, held in New York City.[16]

In December, 2013, Descartes was added to the S&P/TSX Composite Index, an index of the stock (equity) prices of the largest companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange.[17]

By January, 2015, Descartes had posted 41 straight profitable quarters[18] and was supplying logistics software and services to more than 10,000 logistics-centric businesses,[19] such as ground transportation companies, airlines, ocean carriers, freight forwarders, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.[20][21][22][23][24][25] Its customers included American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Air Canada, British Airways, Maersk Group, Hapag-Lloyd, Con-way, Kuehne + Nagel, DHL International, The Home Depot, Sears Brands, Hallmark Cards, Hasbro, Volvo, Ferrellgas, Del Monte, and The Coca-Cola Company.[19]

In 2018, Gartner ranked Descartes 6th in its list of the Top 20 Supply Chain Management Software Suppliers, based on revenue of $221 million.[26]

Acquisitions[edit]

Acquisitions have played a key role in Descartes’ growth.[27][8][19][28][29] By acquiring niche technology companies, Descartes has expanded its line of logistics software and services, enlarged its customer base, and extended its business geographically.[7][19][30][31][32]

Acquisitions going back to 2006 are listed below.

Year Acquired Company Specialty Country References
2006 ViaSafe Cross-border and regulatory compliance software Canada [33]
2006 Flagship Customs Services Customs filing software USA [34]
2006 Cube Route On-demand logistics management software Canada [35]
2007 Ocean Tariff Bureau and Blue Pacific Services Tariff filing & contract publishing and surety bonds for ocean intermediaries USA [8][19]
2007 Global Freight Exchange Electronic air cargo booking system UK [36]
2007 RouteView Technologies Delivery management software USA [37]
2008 Pacific Coast Tariff Bureau Regulatory compliance services USA [38]
2008 Mobitrac Fleet Management Business Fleet routing and scheduling SaaS USA [39]
2008 Dexx European customs filing and logistics messaging Belgium [40]
2009 Oceanwide SaaS customs and regulatory compliance Canada/USA [41]
2009 Scancode Systems Parcel and LTL shipping software Canada [42]
2010 Porthus Global trade management software Belgium [19][43]
2010 Imanet On-demand Canadian customs filing software Canada [44]
2010 Routing International Route planning software Belgium [45]
2011 Telargo Fleet telematics data gathering software and services USA/Slovenia/Hong Kong [46]
2011 IntercommIT Electronic exchange of trade data Netherlands [47]
2012 GeoMicro Vehicle routing and navigation technology USA [48]
2012 Infodis Transportation management SaaS Netherlands [49]
2012 Integrated Export Systems Logistics SaaS USA/Hong Kong [50]
2012 Exentra EU driver compliance SaaS UK [51]
2013 KSD Software Norway Electronic customs filing software for the EU Norway [52]
2013 Impatex Freight Software Electronic customs filing and freight forwarding software UK [53]
2013 Compudata Supply chain integration and e-invoicing software Switzerland [54]
2014 Computer Management Security information filing services and air cargo management software USA [55]
2014 Customs Info Trade data and research tools USA [56]
2014 Airclic Mobile logistics automation software USA [57]
2014 Pentant Customs connectivity and import/export software UK [58][59]
2014 e-customs Electronic security and customs filing software UK [58][59]
2015 MK Data Services Denied party screening data and software USA [60]
2015 BearWare Mobile carton tracking technology for retailers USA [60][61]
2015 Oz Development Logistics automation software for SMEs USA [62]
2016 Pixi Software e-Commerce order fulfillment and warehouse management software Germany [63]
2016 Apterra Business-to-business supply chain SaaS USA [32]
2016 4Solutions Cloud-based supply chain integration Australia [64]
2016 Datamyne Cloud-based trade data USA [65]
2017 ShipRush e-Commerce parcel shipping software USA [66]
2017 PCSTrac Shipment tracking software for retailers USA [67]
2017 MacroPoint Freight tracking technology USA [68]
2018 Aljex Software Cloud-based transportation management USA [69]
2018 Velocity Mail Shipment tracking service for airlines USA [70]
2018 PinPoint GPS Solutions Fleet tracking/mobile workforce technology Canada [71]

Global Logistics Network[edit]

Descartes’ cloud-based logistics messaging system, the Global Logistics Network (GLN), connects more than 13,000 customers in over 160 countries,[24][29] making it one of the world’s largest logistics networks.[19] Each year, the GLN carries more than 4.5 billion messages and manages more than 30 million shipping routes.[72]

Companies use the network to oversee shipping orders, file customs paperwork, comply with security regulations, share information across international supply chains, and automate logistics processes.[7][19][25][73][74] In 2015, Descartes signed a deal with German business software giant SAP SE that allows users of SAP’s transportation management software to access the GLN.[73]

Conference[edit]

Descartes holds an annual logistics technology conference for its users and partners. The eleventh Descartes "Evolution" conference was held in 2016.[75]

Awards[edit]

Descartes won the Stevie Award for Best Business Turnaround at the International Business Awards in 2006.[16][76] Canadian Business Magazine also awarded Descartes an honorary Stevie for being the most notable Canadian entry.[77]

In 2012, Waterstone Human Capital named Descartes to its list of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures in the "Mid-Market" category.[78][79]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]