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Connecting the dots with total supply chain visibility

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Internationally renowned supply chain visibility provider project44 recently launched its first Australian office. MHD talked with the new team about its visibility platform – and why project44 is uniquely positioned to address today’s supply chain challenges across Australia and New Zealand.  

While founded fairly recently (2014), project44 – a world-leading end-to-end visibility solutions provider – has quickly rocketed to international success, says Archival Garcia, Vice President and General Manager for ANZ and SEA, at project44. 

“At a high level, our platform connects to any asset that moves inventory at any mode, end-to-end,” Archival says. “Whether it’s ocean, air, rail, truck, van, rickshaws, SpaceX – we’re going to be connected to it. And we will provide to our customers visibility of every shipment and order level.”

The Chicago-born company derives its name from the history of two famous highways. Route 66, an American transportation icon established in hometown Chicago in 1926 – and for decades the ‘Main Street of America’ – after several decades could no longer serve the demands of the country’s burgeoning supply chain and economy. In 1953, Highway 44 opened as Route 66’s first major bypass – paving the way for a newly connected nation and supply chain. It is this latter piece of transportation infrastructure which lends its name to project44, whose ambition is to connect the global supply chain through complete international visibility. 

In furtherance of this ambition, project44 recently opened its first ANZ office in Melbourne – bringing its internationally renowned competence and reputation down under to better serve and connect the southern hemisphere. 

project44’s ADVANCED VISIBILITY PLATFORM

project44’s Advanced Visibility Platform is its primary offering – a state of the art visibility platform offering unprecedented connectivity, Archival says. 

“Our platform, which is API-driven, and is built specifically for connectivity, is the connective tissue between different applications and modalities in supply chain that exist now and continue to evolve,” he says. “We get different sources of data, whether it’s from WMS, TMS, the carrier, telematics, satellites, and so on. We cleanse that data to deliver the right information at the right time, to the right user.” 

By connecting all the dots, the platform provides data that allows users to track and have full visibility at any point in time, he adds. 

“And because we track more than one billion shipments annually, we’ve already dealt with so much data, we’ve seen how global movements work, and we’ve developed very smart AI to provide things like predictive analytics and predictive ETA – all the visibility and tracking capabilities needed by customers to proactively manage their shipments.”

Archival says that in addition to visibility and milestone tracking, the event-management capability of project44’s platform is a real breakthrough. 

“Disruptive events are pretty normal for supply chain right now – with COVID, the current geopolitical conflict in Europe, and congestion issues,” he notes. “Our platform provides superior analytics and data so customers can better figure out how to follow their shipments, which means they can manage their inventory and supply chain with greater foresight from end to end.” 

All the execution tools – ERP, WMS, et cetera – that currently address the challenge of digitising supply chain operate in isolation, Archival says. 

“For example, WMS deals with the warehouse, so it is blind until something enters the warehouse or leaves it. With transport systems, the knowledge is specific to that particular end-to-end shipment, with no idea of what’s happening before or after. That’s why we say that project44 is the ‘connective tissue’ – we leverage data from multiple sources to provide continuous visibility, enabling supply chain planners to avoid problems and figure out and be more efficient at every step.”

INTRODUCING THE AUSTRALIAN TEAM 

In making its entrance to the Australian market, project44 has attracted top local supply chain talent, which it deems essential to ensuring its world-leading platform is best able to serve local concerns. 

“One of the key reasons I joined project44 is because I was sold on its product first,” says Andrew Schreiber, Senior Manager, Carrier Network, for project44. “I’ve led supply chains across Australia, New Zealand, and Asia Pacific. The idea of getting end-to-end visibility from a supply chain management perspective was amazingly attractive to me.” 

Andrew’s new role is managing project44’s carrier network, which he describes as the “backbone” of the solution. 

“We have visibility into a number of different carriers across different modes,” he says. “We connect to them via API or flat file, for example. We also connect via API with telematics providers, which gives us not just the milestones from the carriers, but also the breadcrumb trail on the map – providing great visibility to our customers.

“One of the things that we get feedback on that we do differently to our competitors is that we’re quite proactive in connecting with carriers. We’ll work with our customers to understand their transport network, assess what carriers are already connected, and if there are any carriers or telematics providers that aren’t connected, we will work to connect them, too. By integrating all this carrier information – which often comes in different forms – into one source of truth, we provide one flow of information about goods to our customers, which leads to excellent exception-management reporting. This is a real key for supply chain managers, because they need good visibility on things that are going wrong. Because it is only that five per cent of things that causes you 90 per cent of the problems.”

visibility
The new project44 team has deep local knowledge and experience – its leadership sporting impressive career credentials across APAC’s supply chain sector.

Bryan Godfrey, VP Customer Success ANZ & APAC, who has extensive supply chain experience – having worked for, among others, BluJay Solutions, Infor, and Manhattan Associates – runs the customer success organisation for project44, which encompasses professional services, the delivery arm during projects. 

“My team works with customers to define, configure, and go live with the solution they’ve selected,” Bryan says. “Then, once we’re operating business-as-usual, we hand over to the customer success management team, who work with customers on a day-to-day basis and ensure customers remain happy. Customer success management engages across all the different facets of project44 to make sure customer needs are maintained, and their needs addressed.”

Andrew adds an additional benefit to now having local project44 boots on the ground in Australia. 

“One advantage to having people on the ground here now is that if a customer does a tender for a new transport company, Bryan’s team – the customer success team – will bring the network team back in to integrate that new carrier,” he says. “This helps to provide ongoing support and maintenance of our customers’ visibility.”

LEANER, MORE EFFICIENT AUSTRALIAN SUPPLY CHAINS

“Australia is a big island – so pretty much everything gets imported or exported,” Archival says. “This is why our visibility solution is so important. We’re competing with the volumes in Europe and the United States. If we don’t proactively optimise our visibility and we miss a time slot for a shipment, it can set us back days, not just hours – because we are competing with all the other shipments going across the world.”

He notes that in wake of the pandemic, many Australian companies have opted to double stocks of materials they import, to guard against shipping delays.

“Some companies have had to double the inventory they carry, which means that their volumes might be the same in terms of shipments sent out, but their cost-to-serve has doubled or tripled,” he says. 

Archival adds that project44 in Australia will allow supply chain managers to rebalance from the pandemic-necessitated ‘just-in-case’ approach back in the direction of a ‘just-in-time’ planning model. 

“There are more disruptions in the world, and in Australia there is less visibility due to all the uncertainty. What we want to help companies do is get back to running lean, allowing a return to that just-in-time approach, so that replenishment can directly feed fulfilment.

“project44’s end-to-end visibility platform will bring a sense of transparency, visibility, and uniformity of standards to Australian supply chain practitioners. We have hired top talent – with years of local expertise behind them – and we have the best visibility solution in the world. The project44 team in Australia is up and running and excited to get working.”

For more information on project44, click here

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