This article is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the best logistics startups today.
The logistics world of today is multi-tiered, multi-faceted, multi-supplier and collaborative. Components, parts, and elements can be spread over many thousands of kilometers, and at times it can be difficult to simply track where everything is. More than frustrating, this fragmentation leads to major inefficiencies in the logistics sector. Less than one-third of respondents in a logistics survey viewed their collaborative process as effective, and while 84% of respondents from the same survey reported that although they have implemented real-time data sharing into their supply chains, only 13% have done so effectively. Only a quarter of supply chains currently have an autonomous supply chain in place, according to a recent Supply Chain Reinvention Survey.
This is where today’s new options for increased supply chain visibility come in. As more companies around the world have begun outsourcing parts of their supply chains, visibility has become more crucial than ever, as a growing number of companies around the world outsource parts of their supply chains and lose control over what used to be part of their own operations.
New supply chain visibility technology promotes quick response to change by allowing privileged users to take action and reshape demand or redirect supply, and fully integrated supply chains see 20% more efficiency than those without integration. The value of autonomous and integrated supply chains speaks for itself: 90% of the Supply Chain Reinvention survey respondents with autonomous supply chains reported that their market share increased somewhat or significantly in the past year, and 97% reported their customer satisfaction somewhat or significantly increased, compared to just 8% of those without autonomous supply chains. According to Diversified Industrials Global Sector Chair Jeff Dobbs, improved supply chain visibility can significantly assist logistic operations. “Obtaining real-time visibility across all tiers in the supply chain can significantly increase speed to market, reduce capital expenditures and manage risk,” he said. “Moving toward a demand-driven supply chain is probably the single most important step a global manufacturer can take today.” And the industry agrees: Most surveys on supply chain challenges consistently rank visibility near the top as one of the most necessary components.
But despite the recognized need for integrated and transparent supply chains, a 2017 report found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of companies do not use any technology to monitor their supply chain performance. However, plenty of great supply chain visibility startups have recently been created to address this exact need and offer more efficiency to the logistics industry. Let’s take a look at some of these tech startups from around the world who are developing smart solutions to make the supply chain more transparent, digital, and cost-effective
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Because supply chain teams typically receive poor information and visibility from their service providers, they often must result in excess inventory, unnecessary transportation cost, and a challenge to meet customer demands. But with so many new supply chain solutions on the market, it can be difficult for shippers to differentiate between software providers when everyone is using the same buzzwords or failing to deliver on their promises. ClearMetal is a startup that believes visibility can only be gained and business problems can only be solved when the underlying data problem is solved first.
ClearMetal is one of the remarkable supply chain visibility startups aiming to solve this data problem through its cloud-based software-as-a-service application, which leverages proprietary machine learning and AI technology to first clean and make sense of inaccurate supply chain data, then deliver end-to-end inventory visibility with proactive exception management, alerting, functionality, and collaboration capabilities.
Founders: Adam Compain, Diego Canales, Will Harvey
Headquarters: San Francisco, USA
Learn more about ClearMetal:
- “ClearMetal Named a “Cool Vendor” by Gartner”
- “Logistics Startup of the Month: ClearMetal” – Transmetrics Blog
This Switzerland-based startup is aiming to solve the challenges of obtaining visible and intelligent trade by offering real-time, end-to-end cargo monitoring services. Its sensors collect data on anything from the location of the goods-to-door status, to outside disturbances and conditions such as climate and temperature.
Arviem also recently announced an expansion of its offerings to start financing goods from ‘door closing to door opening,’ in order to improve how banks assess risk and thus provide more and cheaper financing than they do today. And because Arviem can monitor goods all the way from supplier to buyer, it can take ownership of the goods while working with financial institutions to finance them. The Swiss startup is one of the very first in the industry to offer such a service, which could be a serious game-changer.
Founders: Pieter van de Mheen, Stefan Reidy
Headquarters: Zug, Switzerland
Learn more about Arviem:
- “Arviem linking visibility with trade financing” – JOC.com
- “Cargo monitoring firm launches IoT-led trade finance service” – Global Trade Review
Even years after GPS was put into commercial use, major shippers were still relying on phone calls to carriers to figure out where their shipments were and if they were on time or not. Ready to change that process for good, FourKites was founded in 2013 and has since grown to become the largest predictive supply chain visibility platform. The startup delivers real-time visibility and predictive analytics for the broadest network of Fortune 500 companies and third-party logistics firms across 70 countries. Its load matching network allows world-class shippers, carriers, and 3PLs to collaborate across organizations.
FourKites focuses heavily on actionable predictive intelligence for road freight, rail, ocean, and parcel supply chains across the globe. Its core tracking algorithm uses real-time data from its proprietary GPS, ELD and telematics network, combined with predictive weather, traffic, and mode-specific routing to generate accurate arrival time predictions.
Founders: Mathew Joseph Elenjickal
Headquarters: Chicago, USA
Learn more about FourKites:
- “FourKites develops predictive ETA engine for loads” – Commercial Carrier Journal
- “Freight-Tracking Startup FourKites Raises $50 Million in New Backing” – The Wall Street Journal
With a mission to usher in a new era of trust and predictability to transportation and logistics, project44 (p44) has raised more than $90 million in funding and acquired GateHouse Logistics, based in northern Denmark, to create the world’s most comprehensive global transportation visibility platform. By connecting, automating, and providing visibility into key transportation processes, p44 helps shippers and logistics service providers accelerate insights and shorten the time it takes to turn those insights into action. Leveraging the power of the p44 platform, organizations are able to increase operational efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve shipping performance.
project44 offers access to more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide, has 600 global telematics/ELD device integrations, and has more than 57 TMS integrations and partnerships. p44 supports all transportation modes and shipping types, including parcel, final-mile, less-than-truckload, volume less-than-truckload, truckload, rail, intermodal, and ocean.
Founders: Jett McCandless, Wally Ibrahim
Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Learn more about project44:
- “project44 Gets $45 Million in Funding for Freight Tech Expansion” – WSJ
- “project44 rolls out additions to Advanced Logistics Visibility Platform” – Logistics Management
In order to control supply chain processes, the entire parameters of the chain and its workflow must first be learned, understood and evaluated. This is the thesis that generated EverTracker, one of the first startups to use artificial intelligence to learn an organization’s processes and workflows of their supply chain and logistics managers. The software provides customers with more control over individual processes such as shipments, and in particular, offer better control over the upstream and downstream processes, such as orders and processing.
Some of the biggest factors contributing to inefficiency in the supply chain are unreliable scans by employees, inaccurate RFID timestamps, and inadequate tracking of delivery vehicles. EverTracker collects real-time data and uses its intelligent and self-learning algorithms to help logistics and supply chain managers make better decisions faster, automate processes, and identify difficulties and vulnerabilities before they arise.
Founders: Marc Schmitt
Headquarters: Hamburg, Germany
Learn more about Evertracker:
- “The New Age Enterprise – Enabled by AI” – Forbes
- “Evertracker: An IoT Platform That Will Revolutionize the Supply Chain” – Disruptor Daily
Tive believes that companies with a lack of supply chain visibility aren’t just dealing with hardware problems – but also a software and services problem. To solve it, one must understand how the modern supply chain works, which is why Tive’s leadership team was built to be as well-rounded as possible, featuring members with deep experience in cloud-based architecture, cellular communication, low-power circuits, big data management, and supply chain operations.
Tive works by providing a proprietary low-power multi-sensor tracker which uses cellular connectivity to provide real-time monitoring and analysis of the location, climate, and integrity of shipments. Supply chain managers access this data and analysis through the Tive software platform, where they can set up custom alerts like ETA warnings, geofences and more. Tive’s API can also be used by supply chain managers to pull data into external systems and thus gain further insights into their supply chain.
Founders: Krenar Komoni, Rob Stevens
Headquarters: Boston, USA
Learn more about Tive:
- “Tive Releases Return-By-Mail Supply Chain Tracker”
- “Tive CEO Krenar Komoni Named to the 2019 Food Logistics Champions: Rock Stars of the Supply Chain”
Calista is the brain-child of Singapore’s PSA International and CrimsonLogic’s subsidiary, GeTS. Announced in 2018, the platform is hoping to propel the global supply chain toward digitalization. The startup’s main concerns about the state of logistics were regarding the lack of standardized data between parties and the financial risks associated with payment and insurance.
To solve those problems, Calista’s new platform enables manufacturers to receive direct information about their goods in transit, and logistics service providers (LSPs) can develop supply chain solutions with higher value-adding potential for their customers. The startup has also partnered with the Development Bank of Singapore, which will be providing Calista with various financial and banking technology services in order to offer their users more trade financing solutions and necessary risk management frameworks.
Founders: PSA International + CrimsonLogic’s subsidiary, GeTS
Learn more about Calista:
- “PSA and GeTS team up to develop CALISTA” – PSA
- “Two Singapore companies launch the CALISTA platform in a move toward supply chain digitalization” – TaiwanTrade.com
According to the five-year-old freight booking and supply chain startup, Haven, logistics teams spend an average of eight hours per shipment locating status, details and documents across multiple platforms. To reduce that enormous amount of time and bring new visibility into supply chains, Haven developed its own TMS platform, the Haven Transport Management System.
Haven’s TMS offers clients a single place to automate workflows, communicate with team members about shipments and reduce supply chain volatility. And in May 2019, the startup announced a new track-and-trace platform “developed on the back of several million data points to materialize as a solution that is both affordable and seamless to integrate within shipping workflows.” The real-time tracking solution now handles more than 500 metric tonnes an hour in containerized volume alone. While Haven is currently only offering the track-and-trace solution for its ocean container clients, they have plans to expand it to air, rail and intermodal customers in the future.
Founders: Jeff Wehner, Matt Tillman, Renee DiResta
Headquarters: San Francisco, USA
Learn more about Haven:
- “Logistics workflow automation startup Haven announces track and trace solution” – FreightWaves
- “TMS startup launches free digital freight booking platform” – SupplyChainDive
Vekia is a SaaS solution that specializes in optimizing inventory management and replenishment in three target markets: retail, field service management, and industry. The company uses applied mathematics to optimize the supply chain: They design and edit predictive planning software that uses the latest advances in research to model the complex problems of supply chains and then solve those problems.
With £14.9M raised in funding and solutions deployed in 55 countries, Vekia has found success by partnering with major European retailers with complex supply chain issues like Leroy Merlin and Galeries Lafayette. The more complex the supply chain scenario is, the more value Vekia brings to the retailer since they are able to forecast orders and calculate the stock and inventory needed to be shipped to a store on any given day.
Founders: Manuel Davy
Headquarters: London, UK
Learn more about Vekia:
- “Discover Vekia, the Pioneer in Machine Learning for Supply Chain” – B.D.C. Digital Retail Consulting
- “6 European Logistics Startups to Watch in 2019” – eDelivery
Founded in 2015, MOST has developed a monitoring solution for controlling the conditions of goods during transportation – all in real time. The customized software solution and the premium Internet of things (IoT) hardware reduce costs and increase control for monitoring from the farm and/or factory gates to the distribution centers. With its solution, the startup has already found client bases all over the world, including South America, North America, Europe, South Africa, and Asia.
Working on the 2G GSM network, MOST delivers data to its clients about the position, temperature, humidity, shock and light of shipments to the MOST online platform, or straight to the client’s own monitoring system via APIs. The company also cares deeply about its environmental impact, using its proactive solution to help save cargo or reroute cargo that has been under strain. In addition, MOST has made its device rechargeable to further create environmental efficiency. The product can easily be added to any sort of shipment and developed as the third-party security measure for clients and the transporters.
Founders: Erich Hugo and Nils Tunebjer
Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden
Social Media: LinkedIn
Learn more about MOST: