Swinburne partners with Melbourne-based delivery provider

Swinburne University has partnered with Passel, the Melbourne-based crowdsourced delivery company, to develop advanced algorithms that will improve the company’s delivery service model.
Passel was founded by Marshall Hughes, who saw a gap in the market for a delivery service that rivals same-day couriers.
“The challenge for transport companies has always been managing supply and demand. You have to make sure there are enough drivers around to do deliveries so you can maintain a service, but if you have too many drivers your costs go out of control and people aren’t prepared to pay,” Marshall said.
Marshall says that Passel is modelled on a sharing economy framework. Anyone who signs up via the app – called ‘passers’ – are alerted when they could potentially make a delivery that fits with their daily routine.
“The idea behind Passel is that you could be at a store and the app notifies you that someone who lives in your area bought something at that store. If you deliver the item on your way home you’ll be paid $10,” Marshall says.
Through the supply chain analytics program at Swinburne’s Data Science Research Institute, a team of researchers are working with Passel to apply data science techniques that will identify the best passer to notify about a potential delivery.
Project leader, Dr Hadi Ghaderi, says his team is analysing Passel’s data to create an assignment model that will make the app more efficient.
The challenge for Passel is to identify the passer who would be least inconvenienced by the delivery and offer them the job. At scale, it’s not possible to do this with the current systems,” he says.
“From the data Passel has shared with us, we are using advanced analytics and real time optimisation methods that will consider a potential passer’s trajectory. We look at the routes passers travel and target those whose trajectory matches the delivery needs.”
The partnership is also valuable to Swinburne and its research efforts, says Dr Ghaderi.
“Passel has been really open entering into this collaboration with us and has shared its data with us. This data will enable us to undertake more research in personal mobility and logistics.”
Aside from cutting the cost of deliveries, Swinburne’s contribution is also helping Passel address environmental issues associated with traditional couriers.
“Because Passel takes advantage of a journey someone is already on, net increase in pollution or congestion is either zero, or quite minimal. People don’t even have to drive to do deliveries – they can be walking, on a bike or taking public transport,” Marshall says.
“We think we can help other sharing companies, once we perfect our platform, to enable the right person to help someone at the right time.”
There are currently 3,000 people signed up to Passel and more than 30 stores in Australia are using the service. The company is about to launch in Ireland and has had significant interest in The Netherlands and China.

Woolworths invests $30m into subscription-based meal provider

Woolworths has announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership in the Australian market with Marley Spoon, a leading global subscription-based meal kit provider.
The partnership includes a A$30 million investment in Marley Spoon by Woolworths Group, via a senior secured convertible note (A$23 million) and issue of Marley Spoon shares (A$7 million).
The issue of shares will result in Woolworths Group owning approximately 9% of Marley Spoon and the convertible note is structured to allow Woolworths Group to participate in the growth of the Australian business.
The partnership will see both companies working collaboratively to grow both the Marley Spoon and Dinnerly brands in Australia, and to build operational synergies, with an initial exclusive term of five years.
“This partnership gives Woolworths exposure to the high-growth ready-to-cook meal kits segment and aligns with our ongoing goal of meeting our customers’ needs for healthy and convenient meal solutions. Marley Spoon has demonstrated it has a customer focused, innovative and entrepreneurial culture and we are excited to partner with them,” Brad Banducci, CEO of Woolworths Group said.
“As grocery spending shifts to online, home-delivered meal kits will play an increasingly large role in helping consumers save time with their weeknight meals. We see this partnership delivering important benefits to both Marley Spoon and Woolworths, with both parties incentivised to grow Marley Spoon’s business in Australia. We have chosen to partner with Woolworths because it’s clear they understand what scale-up businesses need. Despite their size, they have a genuine partnership mentality, offering us support to grow the business whilst empowering us to run our own race,” Fabian Siegel, CEO of Marley Spoon said.

MHD magazine article Moving with the times Snowflake

Moving with the times – from MHD magazine

Peter O’Connor

Data warehouses are far from new. The term itself was coined back in the 1970s, and repositories for data amassed from a range of sources that can be used to inform business decisions have been part of Australia’s corporate high-tech landscape for almost as long.
With data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) the primary foci for organisations of all stripes and sizes, it’s an opportune time for businesses to review their data warehousing strategies, to ensure they’re well positioned to support burgeoning demand for insights.
Here are some tips for maximising the value of the data warehouse.

  1. Adopt an ‘as-a-service’ model

What’s the primary role of your data warehousing team? Is it to manage infrastructure or to support the development of data programs that drive efficiency and profitability across the enterprise? If you haven’t yet adopted an ‘as a service’ model, you’ll likely find it’s the former. Management and administrative tasks – think partitioning, scaling, maintenance, back-up scripts and the like – are likely to consume a significant portion of your team’s time. As a result, there’s less time for them to work on projects that add value to the enterprise. Adopt an as a service model and all that changes. Data and service protection, database management and security are taken care of, leaving staff free to focus on exploiting data to help the organisation succeed.

  1. Broaden your horizons

Data no longer comes in two flavours – structured and semi-structured. If your organisation is not ingesting data from a wide variety of sources – enterprise applications, mobile applications, the internet, APIs and the Internet of Things (IoT) – then you’re at the back of the pack. Today’s data integration technology makes pulling these data sources together to exploit the insights they contain a much more straightforward matter than once it was.

  1. Implement self-service data analytics

Historically, data analytics was the remit of small specialised teams within organisations. If business units wanted queries run or information analysed, it was a matter of lodging a request and waiting for the results to be returned. Delays were a common but unavoidable occurrence.
User-friendly data analytics software has turned this model on its head. An increasing number of Australian enterprises are adopting a self-service model, whereby employees are given access to the data warehouse and provided with tools to extract insights for themselves.
The benefits of democratising data in this way can be significant. Bottlenecks can be minimised and results extracted and acted upon more quickly. Conversely, businesses that fail to throw open the data warehouse risk being left behind, as their more nimble counterparts gain a competitive ‘information advantage’.

  1. Foster a data-driven corporate culture

Empowering employees to access and manipulate data is a vital step towards the establishment of a data-driven corporate culture, in which up-to-date information is used to inform every business decision.

“Exploiting the full potential of the corporate data warehouse is vital to the process.”

Data-driven decision making has superseded decision making based on intuition or gut feeling in at least a third of Australian boardrooms, according to 2016 research by PwC.
ICT staff can play a vital role in fostering this culture at all levels of the enterprise. Instead of acting as gatekeepers for the data warehouse, they should be regarded as trusted guides for their colleagues throughout the organisation.

  1. Control the quality

If leveraging data across all areas of the enterprise is the aim – and it should be – it’s vital to ensure its quality and integrity. Establishing a rigorous data governance regime will ensure what’s extracted from the data warehouse is clean, trustworthy and correct.

  1. Embrace concurrency

Old-school data warehouse professionals were required to be masters of scheduling. Their challenges invariably included finding time slots when large jobs could be run without monopolising finite processing resources and disrupting other activities.
Migrating to a cloud-based, as-a-service data warehousing model puts paid to this issue. Eliminating the competition for resources allows IT staff to run multiple jobs concurrently and deliver results and insights more efficiently to stakeholders.

  1. Measure performance

Improving the efficiency of the data warehouse begins with finding the right metrics with which to measure its performance and its cost to the organisation. It makes sense to include management overhead in the calculations. Many tasks and procedures which require management intervention under an in-house model can be executed automatically under an as a service model. The time savings can be considerable, over time, and should be included in any reckoning of the relative costs and benefits of the two models.

  1. Doing more with data

In today’s digitally driven business environment, data has been dubbed the new oil. The insights it contains can help organisations become more efficient and profitable. Exploiting the full potential of the corporate data warehouse is vital to the process and Australian organisations which fail to do so may find themselves struggling to keep up with their data-driven competitors.
Peter O’Connor is the vice president of sales, Asia Pacific and Japan, at Snowflake. For more information visit www.snowflake.com.

New DHL customer support centre in Brisbane

DHL Express has opened a new state-of-the-art customer support centre in Brisbane’s central business district.

The new 3,200 square metre office will house more than 320 employees from the customer service, customer account management and customer-facing IT functions. It is also designed to cater for another 20% workforce expansion in the future.

Conveniently located on George Street along one of Brisbane’s main thoroughfares and within walking distance to Queen Street Mall, Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law, Queensland Parliament House and university campuses, city workers, students and consumers alike will now have the option to redirect their parcel deliveries to one of the two SwipBox parcel locker units located on the centre’s ground floor, accessible from 8 am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday.

“DHL Express Australia’s new national customer support centre demonstrates our continuing commitment to providing Australian businesses and consumers with reliable and customer centric onshore support, seven days a week. Since 1997, our centralised Brisbane-based support centre has helped make international express shipping accessible in just a single phone call and supported the international expansion of countless Australian businesses,” Gary Edstein, CEO and Senior Vice President at DHL Express Oceania said.

Designed with employee wellbeing as its focus, the centre’s office space includes dedicated relaxation and entertainment areas. DHL’s employee learning and development program, Certified International Specialist (CIS), will also be based at the new centre.

DWS buys half-stake in Coles cold storage facility for $134m

Singapore’s Frasers Logistics & Industrial Asset Management has sold a half-stake in a Coles cold storage distribution centre in Queensland to German asset manager DWS for $134.2 million.
The property was purpose built for Coles in 2008 and is situated approximately 29 kilometres south of Brisbane’s Central Business District and has a total gross lettable area of 54,245sqm.
“We are thrilled to partner with FLT on this joint venture ownership and look forward to working with the team. The property provided an attractive opportunity to acquire a super prime, refrigerated, logistics facility and marks the first investment in Australia for our open-ended Asia core real estate strategy,” Victoria Sharpe, Head of Real Estate for Asia Pacific with DWS, said.
“We are pleased to enter into a partnership with DWS to co-own and co-manage the Property. Coles is presently FLT’s single largest tenant at 7.0% of GRI5 which is expected to reduce to 3.6% after the divestment of a 50% interest, therefore providing a strategic opportunity for FLT to reduce its portfolio’s tenant concentration risk. This in line with our active asset management strategy, with the divestment proceeds providing FLT with greater financial flexibility,” Robert Wallace, Chief Executive Officer of the REIT Manager, said.

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