Summing up “Rock your Supply Chain with Real-Time Visibility”

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November 23, 2021 5 min read

On November 11th, Innovecs hosted “Rock your Supply Chain with Real-Time Visibility” featuring Michele Pelino, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, Kristian Kaas Mortensen, Senior Director at project44, Ken Evans, CEO of Konexial, and moderator Michael Beelar, VP of Supply Chain & Logistics at Innovecs.

We had a fascinating talk with leading supply chain experts who shared their perspectives on the future of FreightTech. We outlined some of the key points that were discussed. Let’s go!

Macro vs. Micro Visibility: What’s More Important?

First of all, to be clear: macro visibility refers to the entire supply chain while micro visibility specifically serves fleet management. We start with this topic as our speakers share their thoughts about the latest trends, and refer to cases and examples to support their opinions.

Kristian believes that visibility is applicable to all stages of the supply chain. When a consumer buys an item on an e-commerce platform, they expect immediate visibility of the shipment. And they get want to know the delivery date before they press “confirm order”. So why can’t shippers have the same visibility when they procure materials worth billions of dollars and euros?

Kristian provides another good example: he suggests an example of a single mom. She goes to the supermarket and wants to buy baby food she can afford. She enters that store and sees the empty shelf. He points out that this is not a logistics problem; it is a sales challenge. Shipments typically go into a black hole until something is missing or someone complains. And here, macro visibility is expected like never before.

In many companies, a shipment, regardless of transportation mode, ocean, air, road, rail – from containers to pallets and parcels, is something we do not really think about. At least until a factory runs out of product packaging and production stops for two shifts. Or a key account is missing three shipments in the same month.
Kristian Kaas Mortensen,
Senior Director, Global Partnerships & Alliances at project44

As opposed to Kristian, Ken greatly supports micro visibility technologies that are helpful for trucking companies that aim to track transporting “loads” by truck.

Ken says that in the United States, several large mega-carriers control about half the trucking capacity. However, the other half is provided by many small trucking companies that own less than 100 vehicles. Subsequently, they lack visibility of their routes. How can these companies compete with those having 1000+ trucks in their fleet? Ken explains that the mission of Konexial is to provide these companies with valuable and easily-accessible information to enable transportation visibility and guide them through their journey with the help of technology. Konexial decided to create a tech ecosystem and put the user at the center of the experience. Only with this new technology can companies get access to valuable data to satisfy customer needs and expectations.

When we look at the trucking industry, what we see is a very fragmented base. You can’t deliver that mission [satisfy customers] unless you’re gathering all of this real-time – we would call it live – information at the edge of the computing systems.
Ken Evans,
CEO of Konexial

Technologies for Achieving Real-Time Visibility

In the discussion, our speakers outlined many technologies that help gather real-time data and use it for increased visibility over processes and operations.

Digital Twins

Using digital twins which are virtual representations of key processes, so you can represent the end-to-end supply chain and all the inputs into that supply chain depending on elements of different suppliers themselves from the Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 perspective as well as aspects of what’s happening in different geographic regions or with critical elements of that process in terms of issues that may be happening in certain parts of the world concerning weather or delays that may be impacting the supply chain initiatives.
Michele Pelino,
Principal Analyst at Forrester Research

Video AI and Telemetry

Ken explained how they use AI-powered videos at Konexial. They set up cameras in trucks that are pointed both at the road and the driver. The primary purpose is driver security – recordings from cameras available through a single system to all managers that provide immediate visual and audible warnings.

It’s layers of technology. So, you know what’s the base telemetry, you add video track, you collect data, and you analyze it with edge computing. And then you wind up with TMS systems where people can track all of the key events and transactions. So, we build that entire stack, but with regards to video.
Ken Evans,
CEO of Konexial

Internet of Things

As an expert of IoT solutions, panelist Michele Polino explained that IoT is transforming the end-to-end elements of the supply chain – connecting various types of objects, gathering information, and using it to identify actions that need to be taken.

You can overlay the value proposition of IoT solutions in fleet management, warehouse, or inventory management that are the parts of the supply chain.
Michele Pelino,
Principal Analyst at Forrester Research

API Networks

Kristian describes how project44 provides real-time visibility through multiple APIs using the example of VISA and MasterCard. These companies provide a global infrastructure for banks to issue cards, process transactions, make payments, etc. A customer can take their card, visit any restaurant anywhere in the world, and be sure that they will pay with their card. Both VISA and MasterCard networks work based on multiple APIs connecting one network, and project44 has the same approach.

Behind Visa and Mastercard are many global API-driven networks that very much resemble what we in project44 have created and continue to extend. It would be impossible to imagine a real-time visibility world, functioning without project44’s Visa/MasterCard approach.
Kristian Kaas Mortensen,
Senior Director, Global Partnerships & Alliances at project44

Getting sustainable through real-time visibility

Sustainability has become a growing buzzword, and real-time visibility across transportation and supply chains can help achieve it. All our speakers agree on this.

For example, Kristian determines three tasks that companies have to rethink to become more sustainable:

  • Providing more accurate and real-time fuel consumption weight and emissions data
  • Improved efficiencies that stop trucks from needlessly idling at pickup and delivery points, and empty kilometers and miles
  • Creating planning systems to contemplate emissions in addition to cost and lead time

Ken supports Kristian’s statement regarding empty miles, saying the following:

20% of all the miles traveled in the United States by a commercial vehicle have nothing in it and that’s the same in Europe. To solve this, we have some intellectual property that we’re bringing to the market to combine not only the location but information about the driver and his availability to help solve that.
Ken Evans,
CEO of Konexial

More statements from the event

We tried to outline the most interesting points from the event. However, watching the video recording proves to be much more enjoyable. By the link, you can watch the event and listen to many more thoughts, cases, and great examples from the speakers – https://youtu.be/pLMfmkqMCv0

 

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