Whether you are opening a business or positioning your company in the market, it is no longer enough to deliver high-quality products and excellent customer service. Being part of the future of trade means delivering products to the customer in a transparent and safe and efficient manner.
More and more consumers are skipping retail; the market share for ecommerce is predicted to rise to 17.4% of global retail sales by 2021, more than double from 2015. As a newer trend, wholesalers, not least startups, are also going directly online, skipping the retail link altogether, in order to maintain control, nimbleness and direct customer service.
More threats to the supply chain
But as more and more goods are being moved, retailers and logistics operators also face an increased threat from unpredicted incidents in the supply chain, including theft, damages and delays. These disruptions cost a whopping 100 billion dollars a year and are detrimental to both company credibility and the overall ease of doing business.
The safe and efficient flow of goods around the world is crucial to ensure economic growth and the success of countless businesses. The good news is that we’re seeing a number of new technologies in the market, including IoT-based solutions and smart robots, that can mitigate a number of these unpredicted incidents.
End-to-end visibility as a crucial tool to address the 3 major challenges in securing supply chains:
1) Theft — Crime follows the goods where they are least protected. While ports and warehouses generally have a high level of security, we need to find better solutions for on-the-ground transportation. Equivalent to a thief breaking into a small mom-and-pop store with little security, they can target a truck parked in a rest area. Currently, the total cost of theft during transportation is app. USD 50 billion dollars a year.
2) Delays — while delays in shipments are a general nuisance for the consumer, they can also be detrimental to businesses. Particularly companies that base their business model on so-called “just in time” manufacturing, only ordering and receiving goods as they are needed, to reduce inventory costs. With end-to-end visibility, business owners can track the arrival of incoming supplies, as well as their outgoing deliveries to the stores, and plan accordingly.
3) Damages — New tools for visibility allow businesses to track cargo conditions in real time. E.g. that temperature and humidity are properly regulated, preventing food loss and damages to costly goods such as pharmaceuticals.
All of these pain points can be addressed with new early-stage technology, both software-based and hardware-based solutions, on site or in the cloud. Incorporating increased visibility across the supply chain and building systems that can check goods from manufacturing to delivery.
Companies with flexible and agile systems that can respond quickly and appropriately to disruptions — and avoid threats when possible — will have a competitive advantage. At Maersk Growth, we see these challenges as a unique opportunity to both secure transportation and deliver end-to-end visibility for both business and consumer.
We have invested in the following companies supporting transparency and visibility in the supply chain.