Creating new solutions in a traditional field is not easy. It is not only that an innovation should solve a problem and make something better. The inventive step must be just right and in parity with the prospective customers.
From my experience running a logistics startup, I can say that this is not a very easy thing to pull off. Investors might believe that the latest machine-learning algorithm represents the best business opportunity but at the same time, the prospective customer would be impressed to see a QR code in action to automate an arrival registration form.
At the same time as we are discussing how self-driving trucks would revolutionize the world by making all transport autonomous we have at present a manual landscape. The very pillars of logistics- the warehouses and the wharfs at factories are mostly manual. I would guess that gate handling of trucks at more than 90% of all sites are handled manually by a person using either paper and pen, Excel or an equivalent manual solution. The only major company that has automated gate operations to a meaningful extent is Amazon.
This is strange given the relative ease of implementation. To do things in the right order, the interface between transporters (trucks) and the sites that they serve (warehouses, factories, harbors etc.) should be automated before the transport. The other way around would be strange- a robot truck that arrives at the warehouse and at the gate there is a sign “please call the gatekeeper to be let in”. Hello, I’m mister robot.
Jakob Armö – founder of Lup Technologies