PMV Middle East - - THE BIG 5 PREVIEW - By Ab­hi­nav Chaud­hary, CEO,

With the ad­vent of tech­nol­ogy (IT and cloud in spe­cific), the con­cept of tech­nol­ogy driven ag­gre­ga­tors is get­ting wide­spread at­ten­tion across var­i­ous in­dus­tries. The ag­gre­ga­tion model has or­gan­i­cally many ben­e­fits to both the con­sumer and sup­plier, such as re­solv­ing is­sues of prod­uct shelf life, timely de­liv­ery, lo­gis­tics cost and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion via op­ti­mum rates and greater vis­i­bil­ity. Ag­gre­ga­tors have verged into mul­ti­di­men­sional sec­tors like e-com­merce, hos­pi­tal­ity, health­care, ed­u­ca­tion which are con­sid­er­ably B2C ver­ti­cals. Pen­e­tra­tion of tech­nol­ogy into these fields have been eas­ier with ‘sim­ple ap­pli­ca­tions’ and with to­day’s dig­i­tal IQ among pro­fes­sion­als, com­pre­hend­ing and ex­e­cut­ing such busi­ness pro­cesses is rel­a­tively eas­ier com­pared to B2B ap­pli­ca­tions.

In B2B sec­tors such as lo­gis­tics and trans­porta­tion, tech­nol­ogy is still in a very novice stage. The trans­porta­tion seg­ment rep­re­sent­ing a siz­able busi­ness in the lo­gis­tics sec­tor is one of the pri­mary ar­eas where tech­nol­ogy ag­gre­ga­tors have pitched in their in­ter­est but ob­tained lim­ited suc­cess. The lo­gis­tics sec­tor in­volves myr­i­ads of tasks like de­mand-sup­ply plan­ning, fore­cast­ing, rate en­quiries for freight and other ser­vices, man­ag­ing bids, cre­at­ing con­tracts, book­ing ship­ments via multi-modes, co­or­di­nat­ing ex­e­cu­tion of ship­ments, and deal­ing with reg­u­la­tory au­thor­i­ties. These ac­tiv­i­ties are car­ried out by mul­ti­ple peo­ple/com­pa­nies in the in­dus­try. Trans­form­ing all these ac­tiv­i­ties through tech­nol­ogy re­quires sim­ple yet pow­er­ful ap­pli­ca­tions that help in an­a­lyz­ing com­plex datasets and pro­vide ac­cu­rate re­sults.

We’ve been hear­ing about tech­nol­ogy buzz­words such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, ma­chine learn­ing, neu­ral net­works, bots and blockchain. Cur­rently, most of these tech­nolo­gies are directed and used to­wards very ba­sic func­tions of ag­gre­ga­tion, no­ti­fi­ca­tion and track­ing. The ques­tion re­mains, ‘can these tech­nolo­gies re­solve ‘real busi­ness and op­er­a­tional pain points’ of com­mer­cial land trans­porta­tion op­er­a­tors?’ The an­swer is ‘yes’. Given the tra­di­tional na­ture and com­plex­i­ties of the sec­tor, trans­parency is­sues and in­se­cu­ri­ties of the peo­ple in­volved, there is a high re­sis­tance in em­brac­ing such tech­nolo­gies. Hence a pure ‘top-down’ ap­proach in or­ga­ni­za­tions is re­quired, be­sides deep div­ing and cre­at­ing tech driven so­lu­tions specif­i­cally for the sec­tor.

Tack­ling com­mer­cial sub­mis­sions, in­quiries and de­ci­sions through AI/ML is a re­al­ity with the com­pu­ta­tional and cus­tom­iz­a­ble ma­chine learn­ing tools avail­able. Whether the eco-sys­tem is re­quired to be su­per­vised or un­su­per­vised, doesn’t re­ally mat­ter; cus­tomer ser­vice on repet­i­tive and mun­dane tasks can be erad­i­cated in merely days for any or­ga­ni­za­tion (for ex­am­ple, through the TIA ‘Trans­porta­tion In­ter­ac­tive As­sis­tant’ bot from Cus­tomer ser­vice and com­mer­cial func­tions can also ben­e­fit from Ml-backed ap­pli­ca­tions that will re­solve the ma­jor pain points if a mod­u­lar im­ple­men­ta­tion ap­proach is adopted in all busi­ness func­tions. Thus, the busi­ness de­ci­sion will only be in which man­ner to break bar­ri­ers of con­ven­tional busi­ness func­tions and im­ple­ment pos­si­ble au­tono­ma­tion.

An­other tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment is use of blockchain ap­pli­ca­tions. Blockchain dis­rupts an im­por­tant fac­tor - lack of trust be­tween or­ga­ni­za­tions or in­di­vid­u­als who don’t deal on rou­tine ba­sis - by us­ing a P2P en­vi­ron­ment. Thus, the avail­abil­ity and lo­ca­tion needs to be mu­tated to ‘Block-truck’ (real avail­abil­ity sta­tus) and ‘Proofof-lo­ca­tion’, which will be im­mutable in all sense on pub­lic ledgers. Fur­ther, with the po­ten­tial of hav­ing im­mutable pub­lic leg­ers, the com­mer­cial trans­porta­tion sec­tor in due course will wit­ness seam­less and timely trans­ac­tions us­ing smart con­tracts. These are es­sen­tially rou­tines that es­tab­lishe E-T&C and au­to­mate pay­ments based on ex­e­cu­tion of ship­ments as per de­fined def­i­ni­tions of ‘ex­e­cu­tion’. So, the par­ties agree to the con­tract and em­bed the terms within blockchain pub­lic ledgers. When the con­di­tions are met, for ex­am­ple, a sign-off by a site su­per­vi­sor (with multi-level check of OTPS) on hir­ing of a boom­loader at a con­struc­tion site, all par­ties in­volved are in­formed and then the smart con­tract ini­ti­ates the pay­ments post the credit pe­riod du­ra­tions.

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