I interviewed Ketan Badhwar who discussed Future of Freight Forwarding with Disruptive Technologies.
Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?
Sure, Dustin. I have been in the freight forwarding industry for the last 15 years. I started my career in India and then moved to Australia in 2010. And since then I have been working in various roles within the freight forwarding and the overall supply chain and logistics industry.
Most of my roles have been customer facing. So I visit several supply chains every year, look at what they are doing, what are the best practices, and then for my company, I try to position my product and services in front of the supply chains.
What is happening in the industry in terms of disruptive technologies?
There are inefficiencies in the logistics services industry. This is an industry sector which is worth billions and billions of dollars. And you would see that the market is actually expanding due to rapid pace of globalization. In terms of disruption, we are looking at new technologies such as drones, self-driving trucks, uberization of warehousing and visibility through the use of RFID chips. So logistics providers are becoming more transparent, and it feels like it is also becoming easier for new organizations to enter the market offering similar solutions.
So essentially, the market is more open now. It is getting more difficult to identify a competitive advantage, because new technology has made it possible for more people to enter the field.
How can these challenges be addressed?
These challenges can only be addressed by adopting some of these technologies. I understand the companies, especially the large ones. Due to corporate structures and sheer size, they are not very agile. So they find it difficult to move quickly and adopt to changes. And that means that these companies start losing market share to innovative players.
So the best thing to do is to look at these technologies and understand their ROI. Look at the benefits that these technologies have provided to the customers. If you cannot innovate — because brand new ideas require time and money to research and to develop, then it's better that you simply look at already existing technology, ready available, complementing your overall product and services portfolio.
Other than that, you can choose to sit back and do absolutely nothing. But its likely that you will losemarket share. And worst case scenario, you company might become redundant in the near future.
Could you talk about any success you've seen, or how to implement these changes?
Yes, I have. For example, in my organization, we are already successfully using drones in our warehouse environment to keep count of inventory. We are also using electric trucks for inner city deliveries in China or Mexico to reduce our carbon footprint. Innovation is in part of organization DNA.
Coming back to the example of drones, it was a concept which was initially made popular by the likes of Amazon. But you'll be surprised to know that a lot of supply chains have already deployed drone technology in different areas of their operations. Think of Amazon last mile delivery by a drone. Drones are also being used to providing spare parts within the oil and gas industry at offshore locations. So drones are very good example of the fast progress our industry has made!
Apart from that, we are looking now at asset lean companiesproviding online platforms to aggregate small service providers helping clients leverage from local service expertise . So for example, now you can get APIs and EDI messages from all the service providers. You can integrate those messages into one place. That means that for your customer, they would have seamless visibility of their entire supply chain. They can look atreal time the status updates of their cargo flow which provides greater planning security and enables management by exception. Client can also improve their demand planning. For example, GEODIS offers the IRIS platform which provides seamless visibility of end to end supply chain down to SKU level.
The question is how many companies are realizing the benefits of these technologies and how quickly are they deploying in this space. Because what I experience in the market is that we as an industry are not fast enough to develop cutting edge futuristic solutions, and that's where the the startups are succeeding and giving established players sleepless nights and a lot to think about.
Thank you for sharing today.
No problem, Dustin. Thank you for inviting me.
About Ketan Badhwar
Supply Chain Solutions and E-commerce Lead | Assisting your supply chain to become more agile.