Summary: MercuryFleet combines fleet and freight management for all modes of transportation in one platform and allows users to manage drivers, equipment, and operations.
MercuryFleet also assists companies in maintaining compliance with all regulatory requirements. The solution uses the algorithms and logic used in the Driver Safety Management System, the system used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to calculate measures and percentiles for each driver, allowing managers to analyze driver performance and predict CSA scores.
“There are many problems associated with disconnected systems or using spreadsheets to manage data, but the worst scenario is that a company has a service failure to a customer because they did not have full and current knowledge of every aspect of their operation, including drivers and equipment,”according to the Vice President, Fleet, MercuryGate International, Inc.
LogisticsTI Take: The press release cites Adrian Gonzalez, President of Adelante SCM, a supply chain analyst firm, who notes that there is a real need for integrated planning and execution in transportation management. Gonzalez says, “The name of the game is to utilize your assets as efficiently as possible, which requires a holistic view of information.”
We agree with Gonzalez and consider this a growing trend. We fully expect more software providers to offer similar solutions if they are not already. The key to success will be customer service, ease of use, response time and implementation. A competitive advantage? Not really but it should provide needed efficiencies.
Summary: Mercedes-Benz is utilizing what3words into their next generation infotainment system launching next year. Drivers will be able to type or say 3 words to pinpoint an exact destination anywhere in the world. What3words is a global addressing system that has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares, each with a unique address made of 3 dictionary words.
According to the press release, 3 word addresses are more reliable than street addresses or postcodes, allowing drivers to navigate with precision to a specific building entrance or car park. The company cites a JD Power survey in which drivers find car navigation systems difficult to use and inaccurate.
‘Traditional street addresses just were not built for voice input’ said the CEO and co-founder of what3words. ‘Our approach is entirely focused on giving our customers the best, the easiest and the most comfortable experience’ said the vice president of Digital Vehicle and Mobility, Daimler AG.
LogisticsTI Take: We’ve followed what3words for a while now and included them in a few articles including last year’s blog post – No Address? No Problem. In this particular article, we focused on the need for standard addresses in emerging markets in order for e-commerce and final mile delivery to grow successfully. However, this latest use for location purposes is another great way to use this unique address verification. Hopefully more auto manufacturers will take note.
Summary: Navisphere Vision provides real-time global visibility across all modes and regions in one platform.
According to the press release, in addition to providing real-time visibility down to a SKU level, Navisphere Vision also provides insights and impacts of potential disruptions from weather, traffic or current events. This service is designed for shippers to improve customer service and cost controls through management of inventory in motion, proactive status updates, limiting disruptions and risk mitigation.
“The industry has seen supply chain visibility tools before, but Navisphere Vision represents the next generation,” said the president of TMC, a division of C.H.Robinson. “Not only is it global, but Navisphere Vision goes far beyond visibility and helps our customers predict supply chain disruptions before they even occur.”
LogisticsTI Take: Logistics & forwarding providers all seem to be investing in and/or updating visibility tech solutions to include real-time status, event management and analytics for customers to use for strategy development and customer service. We believe these solutions are no longer a competitive advantage but instead a necessity for all providers to have in order to manage global and regional supply chains. How do they each differ? We’ve seen a few from various providers and they appear similar. Let us know your thoughts.
Summary: Descartes has snapped up another company. This time it has acquired US-based PCSTrac which helps specialty retailers and their logistics service providers collaborate to improve carton-level visibility for shipments from distribution centers to stores. In addition, PCSTrac supports pool distribution.The press release notes that pool distribution has become an important strategy to lower distribution costs, increase delivery frequency and improve overall replenishment performance.
According to the Executive Vice President of Product Management for Descartes,”Although store sales still represent the majority of revenues for specialty retailers, the continued rise in e-commerce and omni-channel retailing put more pressure on retailers to find new ways to compete and meet the ever-increasing expectations of the consumer.”
LogisticsTI Take: Descartes continues to expand its portfolio of services by moving further into the retail logistics/small parcel market. An interesting acquisition as it appears to be a nice complement to the company’s other services, despite some duplication. A competitive environment, Descartes will need to look to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack.
Summary: Intel announced the launch of the Intel® Connected Logistics Platform (Intel® CLP). The platform gives companies insight into the status of assets during their journey through the supply chain, allowing companies to make intelligent, real-time decisions that can minimize loss or spoilage of freight, maximize asset utilization, and optimize end-to-end supply chain operations. At the same time as Intel’s announcement, Honeywell introduced its Connected Freight solution which is based on Intel’s Connected Logistics Platform.
According to its press release, Intel CLP is designed to solve the following pain points:
- Improve visibility into the status of company’s supply chain
- Reduce cargo loss
- Reduce perishable goods spoilage
Intel CLP consists of sensors that can be attached to packages or individual assets. These sensors communicate wirelessly with a cellular- or Wi-Fi-enabled gateway that can travel with the shipment or be installed as fixed infrastructure. Honeywell’s Connected Freight solution can provide real-time status updates of each shipment’s location, temperature, humidity, shock, vibration, tilt, pressure, proximity and exposure to light.
LogisticsTI Take: Intel and Honeywell are partnering up to take advantage of the logistics technology craze. An increasingly crowded IT field, both companies are hoping to capitalize on this trend as they diversify their offerings in order to grow revenue.
Summary: DB Schenker and MAN signed an agreement to cooperate on the development of networked truck convoys for use in the logistics business. Known as ‘platooning’ truck platoons will be tested in an authentic road traffic environment as part of DB Schenker’s regular business operations.
The test phase will begin in spring 2018 operating platoons on the “Digital Motorway Test Field” on the A 9 motorway between the DB Schenker branches in Munich and Nuremberg. Each platoon will consist of two trucks utilizing professional truck drivers. To begin with the trucks will run without a load so that driving conditions can be tested. During the course of 2018, the tests will move on to regular trips carrying real freight, with the platoons running between the DB Schenker logistics centers in Munich and Nuremberg up to three times a day.
LogisticsTI Take: The trial will look to answer such questions as when does it make sense to form a platoon? and what is the best way to make up and disband platoons according to the individual situation and traffic conditions? as well as learning more about how to draw up the optimum platooning deployment plan within its Schenker’s logistics processes.
Lots of testing, learning & analysis needs to be done before platooning becomes a mainstay. Anticipate more tests between logistics providers, truck and tech providers. Eventually standards will need to be established as well as infrastructure upgrades.
Summary: Having a key strategic partnership with SEKO Logistics, Gelnius’ software was originally developed from SEKO Logistics’ technology offering.
The service platform offers three services:
- TMS Lite – A self-serve solution that offers instant set-up with pre-defined business logic, pre-book functionality, a consolidation tool, exception management, a defined set of carrier integrations and more. It is designed for small to medium-sized companies that have an either a domestic and/or international supply chain. Available in August 2017.
- Marketplace –Offers self-serve modules such as instant additions, business logic, routing guide, parts catalogue, further international languages, master labels for e-Commerce, compliance modules and more. Available in September 2017
- Enterprise – A comprehensive and customizable order management platform to help large multinational companies streamline their entire order to cash process from inception to consumption.
LogisticsTI Take: Technology offerings such as Gelnius/SEKO’s are being designed to simplify, streamline and reduce costs in order management, movement of goods and cross-border services. The competitive field is increasing and options for shippers are plentiful. For existing SEKO customers, a slam dunk already.
Summary: DHL Supply Chain purchase four Sawyer robots to be used across its 19 co-packing and production logistics centers nationwide. The robots is expected to allow DHL to leverage automation flexibility by moving the robots between different sites in support of seasonal demands.
DHL is consider a market leading co-packer in the UKI in which it processes more than 50 million cases per year from 19 co-pack centers. DHL is now exploring how automation and robotics can be introduced at other points in the supply chain as well as at its co-packing and production logistics operations.
LogisticsTI Take: Automation and robotics are being installed in sorting, packing and warehousing facilities to speed the process with goal of getting goods to the final customer faster.
Summary: J.B. Hunt Transport’s J.B. Hunt 360 is an e-commerce platform that brings shippers and carriers together. The marketplaces uses real-time data and artificial intelligence to match freight with capacity to create efficiency and cost savings. As carriers make instant offers on available loads, shippers will be provided ‘true’ market pricing of shipments. The system will automate carrier selection based on preference, ratings and reviews and other factors.
Additional capabilities will be added to the platform throughout 2017 including interactive voice-command/response, real-time load recommendations and automation tools for both shippers and carriers. The platform’s predictive analytic is expected to provide more precise delivery times that is anticipated to result in better customer service and smarter decision making.
“Technology is a huge force propelling us into the future. Customers are demanding greater visibility and information into their supply chain in real time.” According to president and CEO of J.B. Hunt.
LogisticsTI Take: Entering a crowded field of marketplaces, J.B. Hunt’s contender will have to fight to stand out. However, its marketplace appears to have some unique collaborative features that will help differentiate it. In addition, J.B. Hunt plans to invest heavily in technology to the tune of $500 million over the next five years which will help set it further apart from the pack. It plans to enhance its operating systems, develop cloud infrastructure and create “innovative and disruptive technologies”.
Summary: Beacons are being installed in UPS package cars to notify workers if they have placed an item in the wrong delivery vehicle. The initiative known as Preload Smart Scan is part of a group of projects that will use error-proof processing operations to ensure timely delivery and customer satisfaction.
Preload Smart Scan uses Bluetooth-enabled beacons that communicate with package-scanning devices worn by UPS employees loading packages onto vehicles. The scanners, which read package labels, are programmed to know where a package belongs in a specific vehicle. The beacons send signals that are unique to certain vehicles and their position within the vehicle. The scanners detect those signals. If a package enters the wrong vehicle, the scanner will notify the loader of the error.
LogisticsTI Take: According to the press release, misloaded packages waste time and money. Adding beacons to the process should improve efficiencies and speed the final mile delivery. The preload smart scan is part of a group of projects under the UPS EDGE (Enhanced Dynamic Global Execution) program which uses data and technology to enhance operations inside the company’s facilities and on delivery routes.
Summary: GlobalTranz, a freight management technology provider, has introduced GTZrave, a collaborative platform that enables shippers, carriers and freight agents to:
- Connect with each other in real-time.
- Ship freight while maintaining visibility at every stage.
- Manage all aspects of freight movement from carrier selection to customer delivery, in real-time and from a single interface.
The CTO of the company notes “The GTZrave platform brings a whole new level of integration, visibility and collaboration to the freight brokerage market. GTZrave has the power to transform how shippers communicate with carriers and how freight agents manage their operations.”
LogisticsTI Take: The freight brokerage market has undergone numerous changes including acquisitions by large 3PLs and other logistics providers/carriers. A logical move for GlobalTranz whose solution is designed to target this market but it appears similar to other online freight platforms. The market is becoming cluttered with these types of platforms so either they will need to differentiate themselves from each other or face some kind of consolidation themselves.
Summary: A pilot test using a collaborative, autonomous robotics solution is underway at DHL Supply Chain’s life science facility in Tennessee. The pilot will last for two months and involves robots, from Locus Robotics, serving as picker companions for piece picking order fulfillment in the warehouse.
The pilot rollout will utilize different picking strategies with the LocusBots in the warehouse. the press release notes that assessments will be made on the robot’s ability to communicate with the picker and the warehouse management system, how it navigates the warehouse and its overall versatility.
LogisticsTI Take: Investments in robots are steadily increasing as logistics providers look to not only improve efficiencies but prepare for any potential labor shortage.
Summary: 6 River Systems announced its Collaborative Fulfillment System (CFS) is available. The system is a turnkey automation solution for split case picking operations. The solution uses proprietary mobile robots and cloud-based enterprise software that integrates with all Warehouse Management Systems. The system requires no new infrastructure and can be fully operational at a customer site in a couple of weeks.
“We expected 50% rate improvement using a small number of robots, but we achieved greater than 100 percent improvements during initial pilots and used fewer robots than expected. That’s great news for our customers. Faster rates and fewer robots allow us to deliver the best payback in the industry for our customers,” said the company’s co-founder and head of engineering.
LogisticsTI Take: Another solution to improve fulfillment efficiencies utilizing robots. Solutions such as these will only increase in the coming years as robotics plays an increasing role in warehousing.
Summary: Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) acquired Vanderlande, a provider of value-added logistic process automation at airports and in the parcel market, as well as a supplier for warehouses, from the company’s current owner NPM Capital. According to the press release, the transaction signifies TICO’s strategic ambition to increase its presence in automated material handling. It follows the recently announced expansion in North America with the acquisition of Bastian Solutions LLC.
According to the Managing Officer for TICO and the designated Chairman of Vanderlande’s Supervisory Board, “Vanderlande complements our current offering by providing a full range of integrated automated material handling solutions. We also see a strong strategic match in our extensive sales and service networks. This acquisition creates even better global coverage across almost all of the markets that have a requirement for automation.”
LogisticsTI Take: The acquisition will expand Toyota’s portfolio of automated material handling products and services and will further complement its prior acquisition of Bastian Solutions which forms the basis of of its newly formed Toyota Advanced Logistics Solutions division to sell integrated automation and productivity solutions to material handling and logistics markets in North America.
Summary: Through the new office in Mexico, Coyote Logistics will offer truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal brokerage and transportation management. According to Coyote President, ” We have been arranging the movement of freight into, out of and within Mexico for years, but this expansion allows us to further develop the intra-Mexico business and execute a broader, more complex array of services to existing and new customers both in Mexico and North America. Coyote’s Director of Mexico Business Strategy further notes, “Being closer to customers and carriers will put us in a great position to increase our footprint at an even faster pace.”
LogisticsTI Take: Cross-border service offerings have been a major service offering for many logistics providers for years. Now, as Mexico comes into its own, thanks to good manufacturing activity as well as a growing middle-class, demand for intra-Mexico logistics solutions will grow. Coyote/UPS is positioning themselves for this shift.
Summary: An agreement between DB Cargo and GE Transportation will digitize 250 locomotives across Germany, UK, France and Poland. The deal follows a three-month pilot of GE Transportation’s RailConnect 360 Asset Performance Solution, which provided locomotive health status updates that increased efficiency and delivered a 25% reduction in service failures.
“Our pilot with GE Transportation delivered significant improvement in fleet availability and reduced the number of service failures – factors critical to our operations and delivering goods across the global supply chain.” Said Senior Vice President European Asset Management & Technology for DB Cargo AG.
LogisticsTI Take: Improving performance via digitization will speed delivery of goods through improved efficiency gains.
Summary: Zebra Technologies, JD.com and Digital China have entered an agreement to develop a joint laboratory to conduct research and development in the Internet of Things (IoT) and e-commerce logistics.
The lab will be located at JD.com’s pilot warehouse in Beijing. Zebra and its channel partner, Digital China, already provide JD.com with barcode printers, mobile devices and barcode scanners in its warehouses to give them visibility in their operations.
The lab will enable the alliance to carry out research and development, prototype implementation, test and evaluation and application demonstrations, leading to the development of next-generation solutions.
According to the press release, the output will enable JD.com to harness innovative technologies and solutions to boost its capabilities in logistics services as well as increase enterprise efficiency and productivity. The key areas of research and development for 2017 are picking and packaging operations using mobile devices, increase the visibility of the trays and cage trolleys used in operations and to see potential of applications of machine vision and data analytics in the logistics industry.
LogisticsTI Take: JD.com is a distant second from Alibaba in terms of market share. To compete effectively, speed is needed and in turn that means automated distribution centers to streamline the process. By partnering with it suppliers, JD.com will benefit in terms of efficiency and productivity but whether it will be enough to gain market share is another matter.
Summary: Omnitracs and Peloton will collaborate to bring Peloton’s truck platooning technology to Omnitracs customers. The partners will also develop joint solutions that combine each company’s fleet management capabilities.
Peloton will begin filling pre-orders of its platooning product for Class 8 trucks in 2017. The technology synchronizes braking a acceleration between pairs of trucks through the integration of vehicle to vehicle communications with radar-based collision avoidance systems enabling the trucks to travel safely at aerodynamic following distances. The driver of each truck controls steering while the platooning system coordinates speed and distance between the trucks, meeting the definition of SAE Level 1 automated driving. The Peloton system generates 4.5% fuel savings for the lead truck and 10% for the follow truck in a two-truck platoon according to independent testing by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency.
Platoons are managed continuously by a cloud-based Network Operations Center that connects to trucks through cellular and Wi-Fi communications.
LogisticsTI Take: According to the press release, a key operational benefit of the partnership for fleet customers will be optimized matching opportunities for inter-fleet platooning, leveraging Omnitracs’ routing and dispatch applications to provide navigation assistance and savings calculations fro scheduled and ad-hoc platoons of trucks from different fleets.
Summary: Forward Air will utilize the nuDeliverit mobile delivery tracking solution to provide real-time visibility to deliveries in transit and electronic proof of delivery support. The nuDeliverit enhancements to Forward Air’s distribution services include:
- Carrier network management including asset, non-asset, contractor or sub-contractor
- Single dashboard view providing real-time visual summary of events
- Real-time tracking
- Capture electronic documentation including proof of delivery and bill of lading
- Instant electronic signature confirmation and in-app photos for cargo condition capture
- Integration with Forward Air’s internal systems (nuDeliverit provides support for traditional EDI and web-based solutions)
According to CIO of Forward Air, “Customers desire not just visibility int their deliveries but the ability to know where their service provider is at any point on the pick up or delivery route”.
CTO of nuVizz noted, “Having an enterprise grade solution with flexible configuration translates to an innovative, flexible and powerful solution for distribution and logistics partners.”
LogisticsTI Take: The availability of such cloud-based services as nuDeliverit (NuVizz) are growing rapidly as the solution becomes the norm instead of the exception within the logistics and transportation industry. We continue to highlight the efficiencies gained from such services and additionally the data gleaned from such services should provide Forward Air additional insights into freight movements to use in other parts of its business as well as to further enhance services.
Summary: znet provides automated customs solutions to over 500 customers including Abbott, Lufthansa Technik AERO Alzey, Nippon Express and UPS. According to znet CEO, “At znet, we have a long track-record of innovation, having worked extensively on the development of automated customs system with ATLAS connection and pioneered mobile customs handling in Germany.” WiseTech Global CEO noted, “WiseTech and znet possess a shared commitment to provision of high productivity logistics execution solutions to the German-speaking and broader European markets.”
Upon acquisition, znet operations will be integrated within the WiseTech group and will continue to offer its products, zara, zafir and zecur in Germany and all customers will be able to access WiseTech’s CargoWise One global logistics execution platform.
LogisticsTI Take: CargoWise One is expanding its capabilities with this acquisition. The company already offers freight forwarding, warehousing, shipping, land transport and more in one database. This acquisition adds a niche solution to its customs clearance capabilities.
Summary: The Honeywell and Intel collaboration will focus on developing solutions that improve operations for retail businesses which are faced with challenges to maintain profitability and compete in an environment where consumers are more often shifting to online shopping.
Vice-President and General Manager, Retail Solutions Division at Intel – “Technology can help transform retail, making stores more responsive to customer needs by connecting physical and digital retail environments. By working with Honeywell, Intel plans to enable retailers to benefit from IoT solutions by having the visibility of real-time accuracy of on-shelf inventory. This will help delight shoppers with better inventory accuracy and in-store pickup of products ordered online.”
The Honeywell and Intel collaboration will focus on solutions that utilize the two companies’ technology offerings, including sensors, handheld computers, processors, bar code scanners, RFID tags and readers and cloud-based software. These solutions can help businesses track, monitor and assess the condition of goods moving through the supply chain as well as in brick-and-mortar stores.
LogisticsTI Take: According to a TCC article, the two companies believe that the revolutionizing of retail with more digital and remote locations is the key to success for this industry in the long run. Honeywell will combine its data collection platform with Intel’s processing capabilities. This will help both of the companies to work on profitability. As customers shift to online platforms, they require real time, quick and, innovative data analysis and solutions.
Summary: The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and PSA Corporation signed agreements with automotive companies, Scania and Toyota Tsusho to design, develop and test an autonomous truck platooning system for use on Singapore’s public roads.
In the Singapore trials, the trucks will transport containers from one port terminal to another. According to the press release, efficient freight movement is critical to the competitiveness of the port. Truck platooning will alleviate Singapore’s shortage of manpower and allow more freight movement to be conducted at night to ease traffic congestion.
The truck platooning trials will take place in two phases over a three-year period from January 2017 to December 2019. The first phase will focus on design, test and refine the technology to adapt to local conditions. MOT and PSA will then select one of the companies for phase 2, which will consist of local trials. A 10 km test route along West Coast Highway has been designated for the phase 2 trials. The trials will initially involve inter-terminal haulage between Brani Terminal and Pasir Panjang Terminals and may eventually be used for haulage within the port area as well as between Pasir Panjang Terminals and Tuas Port.
LogisticsTI Take: Growing interest in autonomous trucking/platooning to address problems faced in Singapore and other countries such as shortage of drivers and congestion. Investments in Germany, US and elsewhere continue as results prove promising. How it will be regulated, if at all, will be interesting to monitor and hopefully will not be detrimental to the advancement in this important innovation.
Summary: Cargobase announced several operational expansions during fourth quarter 2016 product improvements and feature releases which contributed to the traffic figures. This included the launch of Ocean Freight, a German Version release, and the global launch of its Quick Request feature, a feature that connects non-logistics staff with logisticians. All of this in the midst of a record breaking quarter for the company.
- a 381% growth leap in December
- peak of Freight Spend of US$ 1.3m in one day
- a 79% conversion rate, from request to booking
“Our significant accomplishments in the final quarter of 2016 are a direct result of three key components. One, our collective team focus on delivering an up-to-date platform that provides an efficient experience for our global network of shippers and providers. Two, the global acceptance of smart technology and cross-technology applications to resolve traditional freight issues among both shippers and providers. Three, recent industry movements, recommendations and referrals through word-of-mouth, seem to have positively propelled an industry-wide growing interest to seek trusted ad hoc freight measures and smart and sustainable quick-fixes.” Wiebe Helder, Chief Executive Officer of Cargobase.
LogisticsTI Take: Cargobase continues to enhance its offerings to meet the increasing needs of ad-hoc freight. It is not only simplifying the procurement of such freight typical in such industries as automotive and high tech, but it is also allowing companies to better manage this elusive and often last minute need.