As 1-Bridge explores the myriad of offerings such as imaging using OCR (Optical Character Recognition), settlement with smart contracts and traceability (not to be confused with track and trace) using DLT (distributed ledger technology = blockchain) and many others it seems like you need an aggregator for the aggregators to understand any meaningful outcomes.
Lets first understand the size of the market with information from the DOT, FMCSA and Stats Canada.
With an extremely fragmented marketplace in North America there are over 550,000 trucking companies with 90% having 6 trucks or less. Drivers are in short supply despite 3.5 million truck drivers in the US and 250,000 + in Canada making truck drivers one of the top occupations. The driver shortage is not a new concept and unfortunately isn’t going to be solved anytime soon as there is not a large influx of graduates interested in becoming truck drivers.
While there are many applications and systems in the marketplace ranging from customizable out of box to SaaS to cloud based TMS solutions it is challenging to have one system be everything to all customers, carriers and 3PL’s. Considering the fragmentation of the market; the myriad of variables that shippers need to solve for their customers and the complexities of micro economic freight markets in North America, not to mention cross border shipments. It begs the question; “Can one system solve everything?”
This is compounded with shippers, carriers and 3PL’s trying to cope with: ELD mandate, government regulation, tariffs, politics, economic policy, weather, tracking shipments cross border, telco agreements, contractual freight in a volatile market, finding cost effective reliable capacity, balancing short term objectives with long term strategy, driver shortages and the list goes on.
Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning have their place in solving different aspects of these supply chain challenges we mentioned. Is the time to implement Blockchain now? Does it solve legacy systems, tracking and tracing, sourcing reliable capacity and controlling costs in your supply chain?
These are the questions 1-Bridge is asking their carriers and customers and while there is interest in Blockchain, A.I and ML, unless it is solving the issues of today, is cost effective, easy to implement and use with little to no disruption to current business it will simply not be adopted. Creating wonderful apps and software without adoption is like building the fastest and most streamlined car without the proper tires.
The Logistics Industry is cyclical with supply and demand impacting the shift in purchasing power from customers to carriers and back. Asset based carriers are now enjoying the upper hand and many are understanding that technology can accelerate their growth as they look at brokerage as an additional revenue stream.
1-Bridge Logistics will continue to explore the latest and greatest tech for supply chain, but will be cognizant of current issues still faced by many players in the logistics industry today.
It is a very exciting time for the Supply Chain industry as we dip our toe in the Blockchain pool and seek to discover new and innovative ways to solve existing issues. The technology keeps evolving and adoption lags far behind. With any new technology it is not the tech that needs to be addressed, but rather how it will change and impact the organizations choosing to implement it.
Adoption and change management will be critical factors.