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TECHNOLOGY & LOGISTICS: A Match Made In Digital Heaven

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To really appreciate how far logistics and Transportation has come, we must look far down the global timeline to 3500 BC. Man discovered that a potter’s wheel could be affixed to a chariot, and used for logistics and transportation of men & goods. Suddenly, the world became smaller. Continents drifted closer. And soon, the earth turned into a global village, and the world kick started a foray into a promising future with each turn of the wheel.

Fast forward to the 21st century, the wheel still rules industries, in several different forms – the cogs in our machines, the fans in our processors, the wheels on our trucks. Words like cycles, revolutions and rotations have now found new meaning in binary codes. Indeed, digital technology has created a glorious step up for logistics and transportation of the past, and pushed it to become the $10 trillion industry that it is today.

The growth in digital-tech has added an enterprising edge to market ideologies. Businesses no longer view logistics as an overhead cost or quantify it only by price. Instead, the supply chain is viewed as a strategic tool that, operated in an optimized manner, offers a competitive advantage. Innovation & network modelling is now what businesses demand.

But the market is anywhere but close to providing that right now. For we have hit a roadblock in the shape of a fragmented logistics industry, dominated by traditional players. Most of these players are yet to embrace the benefits of a tech-enabled supply chain. And what could have been a glorious highway to the future is currently a road filled with potholes. The $10 trillion industry has the potential to double itself in less than 5 years. The only way to hit those numbers is to bring in tech-enabled players that operate on digital platforms.

Start-ups across the globe have mushroomed to form a cohesive ecosystem of smart logistics and transportation. These tech-enabled players leverage digital platforms to address various pitfalls or pain-points in the logistics industry.

Shippo (USA)
This shipping aggregator uses an all-digital platform to connect e-commerce companies with logistics services at the cheapest rates in real time. The better rates allow businesses to pass on their savings to customers.

BoxTango (Switzerland)
One of the biggest pain-points in the supply chain are road-rail intersections. BoxTango solves it by using a transshipment technology that moves containers horizontally between road & rail. It leads to up to 50% cost savings.

Instavans (India)
Not to toot our own horn (pun intended), but Instavans is a successful Indian-built platform to connect businesses to truckers directly over a digitized platform. It reduces the need for financial haggling and provides flexibility in terms of freight capacity, and pick-up & drop locations.

Vestracker (Ghana)
Vestracker offers a SaaS platform to the freight-forwarding industry to track consignments in real time. The unique part is that it also allows an offline alternative to track via SMS. This is useful for remote delivery locations.

Shotput (USA)
This start-up allows users to control their shipping preferences for e-commerce shopping. Customers can digitally link their e-commerce accounts with Shotput, and get them to pick-up and deliver.

Swapbox (USA)
Conceived by Indian-Americans, Swapbox works on the last-mile delivery front of logistics. It involves setting up 24/7 post offices, from where customers can collect their shipments at any suitable time. The customer receives all notifications digitally.

InstaFleet (India)
A tool by Instavans, InstaFleet helps clients with their own trucking fleets utilize their vehicles when they lie idle in between trips and providing them with an extra source of profit. It essentially alleviates fleet management grievances by providing a subscription based technology driven platform for easier tracking of assets and their running costs and times.

Cargo Beacon (Sweden)
A logger-based device based on IoT. It is placed with valuable shipments to track parameters like temperature, humidity, pressure etc, all in real time, digitally.

The idea is to target various links of the supply-chain with technology, and eventually, bring them all under a digital, transparent, trackable umbrella. Instavans operates in a similar fashion, bringing smart trucking solutions through an all-digital platform.

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