The Rise of Logistics Tech Activates Entrepreneurs

Given the complexity of supply chain evolution, companies that optimize across links in the chain may help to shape our future.
By George Shchegolev
Oct 01, 2017

Globally, there is a demand for smarter, cost-effective and sustainable operations to suit the needs of consumers who expect higher customer-service levels. Business cannot go on as usual. There have been major disruptions in the logistics technology market, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to make a dramatic impact in the industry.

For example, in the e-commerce sector, we've seen how the demand for online shopping purchases to be delivered quicker has seen a revamping of distribution centers, logistic technologies and the combining of resources with third-party suppliers. We have seen the rise of 3PLs offering consolidation services, supply chain management, warehousing and so forth. The entire way that modern retailers operate has changed thanks to innovations in logistics technologies.

We have seen how entrepreneurs are jumping at the chance to offer their resources to the bigger giants, attempting to keep pace with their customers' needs. These smaller businesses are learning to put their surplus resources to good use. Perhaps they have a few spare trucks that could be helpful resources in a big chain's regional warehouse?

The combining of resources is facilitating growth for both small businesses and large corporates alike. These collaborations require logistics tech systems that can synch across multiple platforms and providers. This is where many new startups are stepping in with innovative products for automated order tracking, real-time analysis and ensuring products leave the warehouse quickly, to name a few.

A package might leave the warehouse on time, but now the delivery driver must face the roads. At UPS, for example, their delivery trucks make an average of 120 stops per day. Their effectiveness is directly linked to finding the least congested routes for travel.

In 2009, the startup Route4Me inadvertently cleared the way for all delivery services. Dan Khasis, Route4Me's founder, was house hunting and realized he was zig-zagging too much around town while using his car's navigation system. Within a few weeks after this fiasco, Khasis put together a team, and the new company released the first multi-stop route optimization app for the Apple iPhone with route synchronization. An iPad and Android app soon followed. When gas prices skyrocketed, Route4Me became one of the highest-grossing revenue mobile navigation apps in the United States.

Within hours of launching, it became obvious that what seemed at first to be a utilitarian app to help house hunters and real-estate agents was actually a powerful business tool for logistics-intensive businesses. Small business owners and Fortune 500 companies started offering money to add more features, and Route4Me has since been accommodating them.

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