How is technology changing the Logistics industry? Just now?
Old-school and a notable laggard on the digital investment until recently, now the logistics industry is turning quickly into a hotspot for startups, concept proofing and new products. The convenient verse that logistics is a conventional and conservative domain, a near-commodity business with thin margins and limited potential for innovation, simply doesn’t hold anymore.
Now, the digital transformation journey is a daunting effort for sure. Ever more so the less the understanding of the overwhelming change. On the flipside, the opportunity is to jump stairs in groups (triplets).
Below are 5 recent cases in digital adoption and transformation.
1. Google and J.B Hunt – ML and AI for the Transportation
J.B Hunt , one of the largest hauliers in North America turns to Google Cloud to innovate across the segments of its core business functions– capacity, pricing, supply chain, IT and customer and partner segments. The case summary [on Google] is the telling beachhead for Google (into the Transportation) and the edge gained on the part of J.B. Hunt. Note the reference to ML, and AI components of the solution, enabling J.D Hunt to work on recommendations, automation and end-to-end visibility.
2. Deugro and CargoWise – Diversified Project carrier moves on a comprehensive logistics management platform
The press clipping [on Deugro] runs the summary hitting linkedIn and trade sited.
Deugro runs a modern fleet of specialized ships, but the essense is the group’s core specialty to solution out-of gauge, heavy, project cargo, construction equipment. CargoWise is a leading Integrated Transport Management Platform, tailored to Sea- and Airfreight companies, and self-sufficient in that it offers all the functional modules to accommodate the entire business operations of a freight forwarding and shipping companies – Operations, Accounting, Reporting, CRM, Business process. The tone of cooperation on this project is around mission, people, competence, experience, partnering, execution, customer centricity.
3. Coca-Cola Hellenic and Shippeo – Volume distribution optimized and Transparent.
Shippeo is a 4PL providing Supply Chain visibility, (asset and deliveries tracking in real time) with added and expanding AI and Predictive product features. CCH, as a bottler runs an intense distribution of a volume consumer product, bound by marketing and channel campaigns. Intuitively, the better the control of the fleet and loads, the higher the equipment utilization, and the happier the customer. The benefit – expanding return on investment and pushing up sales efficiency.
4. Paack – Last mile expands with investment.
The Spanish startup is serving the last mile and time-definite segments – same/next day, immediate. Prime targets – ecommerce, hybrid retail, shared models and brands with build-in service differentiation. Now not really a notional startup as already heavily invested in own warehouse, equipment fleet and reference customer to build on network effect and grow footprint.
The last mile deliveries segment is a buzzer fledgling which is a cross between the typical courier and a ultra-focused enabling platform (usually saas or hosted/partnered) with Geo-location and Route optimization features. This is the transformation itself, real time geo and route computing to boost the physical deliveries.
5. Trade Finance in a Digital Application – Traydstream.com
Trade Finance run on a modern platform. This is to move a conservative and multi-tiered process in a digital environment.
The project is a venue for expanding for financiers and a fresh alternative for the shippers. It streamlines the Documentary process for financing a physical trade. The endorsements from the Financial institutions (on the Traydstream site) serve as early validation of the product. Easy to spot the cross selling potentials into cargo insurance, factoring, brokerage services. On the end-customer side (exporters) platform carries the appeal to smaller and tech-leaning shippers.
If you have your own idea how to bring change to transportation, there is enough funding chasing quality project. For one, check out this reference from TechCrunch for Trucking-themed Venture Funding .
Business take different routes to innovation and growth. They partner, pool, acquire, develop own systems, hire change agents.
Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why many large enterprises optimize their in-house logistics quicker and better than the logistics services market itself. They follow own strategy, control the operation, earmark the adequate budget for investment and control execution. And notably these innovators enforce culture of change, challenge and resiliences. Amazon Logistics, AliBaba, Lufthansa, VW have their own logistics arms, warehouses, supply chain management systems. The owned logistics operations lean on the organizational shoulders (infrastructure), core product pricing and large enough trading volume of the parent organizations, so risk-free and not a real benchmark for a venture product offering in competitive market. However, Flexport, Freightos, UberFreight though with the blessing of the investment community, operate successful business models based on innovation and technology.
Bottom line is companies should quickly decide, plan, partner, develop, rollout, learn, repeat. Failure is an option, bottling out is not. And the better the planning and execution, the stronger the performance out of the transformation.
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