How technology builds resilience in logistics industry? Portcast CEO shares insights

Source: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

Nindhi Gupta, CEO of Portcast, a Singapore-based software company, shares her valuable insights to ExploreSCM about the current state of the logistics industry and how digital solutions can build a more resilient supply chain.

We would like to know a little about you. Please give us a brief background of yourself.

I’ve built my career in the logistics industry with 10 years as part of Deutsche Post DHL in multiple leadership roles related to management consulting, business development and sales strategy for Asia Pacific.

Prior to that, I have an MBA from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and a Computer Science Engineering background.

I’ve been based in Singapore for a decade now but my roles have allowed me to lead client engagements across Asia Pacific, dealing with multiple cultural dynamics and related business challenges.

You have a strong background in logistics, can you describe any logistics bottlenecks you have seen today and how do they impact the industry?

In an environment where we can order most consumables online and expect them to arrive on time and if not, get proactive alerts on delays; in the upstream supply chains related to ocean and air freight.

Manufacturers still rely on legacy systems, excel sheets, manual efforts of calling & emailing agents to figure out whether the cargo is arriving in time and if there is any risk to the factory production being stopped or the distribution to the customer delayed.

This inefficiency ultimately impacts in terms of customer churn and profit margins for both logistics companies as well as manufacturers.

For example, we’re currently seeing a situation where the shipping carrier changed journey for a particular consignment at the transit port and the F&B manufacturer ended up with 10 extra containers at a port with no trucks to carry them and leading to escalating demurrage and detention costs.

The coronavirus pandemic disrupts the global supply chain, how does technology enable resiliency among companies?

The coronavirus pandemic has illustrated that today’s supply chains are highly international, interlinked and hence have more potential points of disruption. To build more resilient supply chains, it is paramount to combine the right technology with the right supply chain design.

With the vast amount of data now available like adverse weather patterns, port movements and congestion information, satellite data about ship movements, truck geo-location data, what we need is technology that can orchestrate this data in a centralized manner, update it real-time and provide proactive warnings on where supply chain disruption may happen and why.

This will allow companies to prepare better and avoid last-minute changes, stopped factories or undelivered goods to customers. 

Can you talk about your technology solution, Portcast? How it started, what are the problems it is trying to solve?

Portcast technology makes supply chains more dynamic and resilient by predicting ocean cargo delays, missed transshipment links, rollover warnings and impact on demurrage and detention costs from container delays.

The technology uses proprietary machine learning and advanced data-sets like satellite, weather, economic, shipping patterns to predict demand and arrival times of containers globally.

We aim to provide a single platform / control tower with predictability, not just visibility, to the global ocean supply chains.

Who are your target users and what are the benefits of using Portcast?

We work with leading container shipping lines, freight forwarders and shippers to enable dynamic control towers for their ocean supply chains.

This reduces manual time spent, improves productivity and OTIF (on time in full) targets of service levels and helps reduce CO2 emissions and decarbonization of shipping supply chains.

The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the global supply chain, how would you describe the future of the supply chain?

Due to the pandemic, we’re now at the inflexion point where supply chains will increasingly adopt AI-powered control towers as a ‘central nerve centre’ and make supply chains more dynamic.

In the next 5 years, supply chain visibility will be a must-have to improve productivity, focus on customer satisfaction and protect against external market shocks.

We will also an increased adoption of cloud technologies, moving away from archaic systems, spreadsheets, manual follow-ups and intuition-based decision making as too often critical data gets stuck in these processes.

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