When Controlant’s Partnerships team returned from the TPMTech and TPM23 conferences last week, a few key learnings were top of mind.
“The theme of TPMTech – ‘Navigating the Land of Confusion’ – is an interesting indicator of the state of digital solutions in logistics today,” says VP Partnerships, Hristo Petkov. “New technologies have had a profound effect on the industry, but there’s still pressure for companies to go further, faster, and gain complete visibility from end to end, as well as automate processes to ensure quality and efficiency.”
Director of Business Development for Partnerships, Joao Lemus, adds: “It was interesting to hear panelists at the event put this theme into different perspectives, and it always seems to come down to the fact that no single player holds all the cards. But technology is also making it easier for collaboration between companies across the supply chain, which explains why partnerships are fundamental for success.”
Broadly speaking, three types of tech companies participated in the TPMTech event: data generators, data aggregators, and data application providers.
Presentations covered topics including supply chain risk, the race to adopt automation, and data sharing.
Petkov and Lemus cite some of the key takeaways from the event:
Two thirds of logistics companies are investing in digital transformation, where real-time tracking and cargo tracking are the main areas for investment.
Driving business outcomes for customers is the main task to solve. It’s not enough to generate data nor analyze it post-mortem.
Prescriptive analytics based on AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learnings) should be the endgame. Predictive analytics is not enough.
Main challenges in the industry include a small and shrinking talent pool, integration with legacy transportation systems and long lead-time implementations, and single-source-of-truth visibility.
TPM23 is the world’s largest logistics conference, attended by influential players including MSC, DHL, Kuehne & Nagel, Maersk, DB Schenker, Hapag Lloyd, Project 44, Expeditors, and UPS, to name a few.
“A recurring topic at the event was that global trade continues to be inconsistent and unpredictable, with sources of uncertainty including port omissions, cancellations, and truck shortages,” says Petkov.
“Resilience in customer supply chains remains top of mind and many players have committed to solving challenges by investing in digitalization and visibility. It was clear that in order to track products, partners in the supply chain need to collaborate or be able to integrate. This requires the ability to link multiple partners in one platform and to focus on quality and resilience, rather than cost.
“Being able to drive business outcomes, rather than collect and create single-point data, will bring value to customers and enable the logistics sector to drive sustainable solutions.
“The event helped bring some current trends down to earth. We’ve all heard of AI [artificial intelligence] and talked about applications in logistics, but AI has also been a buzzword, and something we’ve talked about in the future tense. Yet it has changed our ability to automate, and already has significant untapped potential to transform the industry as we know it today,” Petkov concludes.
“Visibility in the supply-chain and automation via AI are hot topics in logistics right now,” says Lemus. “This made it an easy conversation starter too, given that’s exactly what Controlant is all about. This was a great event to connect with current and future partners.”
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