Uni students compete with autonomous robot technology

Engineering students from across Australia and New Zealand are exploring smart transport technology through an autonomous robotics competition in September.
This year, the National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition (NIARC) has a theme of ‘Transportation Innovation’, which will see the autonomous robots navigate a ‘smart city’.
The robots must follow road rules, adjust speed in line with school zones and highways, pick up ‘passengers’ and return home safely. Each robot’s objective is to earn the most amount of points by completing the required tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“Today’s vehicles are supercomputers on wheels but there are still so many exciting innovations to come,” said Chandran Nair, Vice President for Asia-Pacific, National Instruments.
“Car manufacturers are racing to bring autonomous vehicles to market and the technology has the potential to change everything about the way we move people and goods. That’s why we are so excited to be able to offer students the opportunity to be a part of that change.
“The industry will face increasingly complex systems and demands for improved speed, productivity and efficiency. By enabling the students to work with industry-leading hardware and software, we can help provide them with the real-world skills needed to become tomorrow’s top engineers.”
Now in its seventh year, NIARC has grown from just 11 teams to more than two dozen, all from leading Australian and New Zealand universities. Previous winners include, University of Wollongong (2016), University of South Australia (2015), University of New South Wales (2014) and more.

New General Manager for beverage logistics firm

Asset pooling beverage transport company Kegstar, owned by Brambles Limited, has announced the appointment of a new General Manager Australia & New Zealand, Nick Boots.
Boots brings over 20 years’ experience in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), beer, wine and supply chain industries, having worked for Nestlé, CUB, Fosters Wine Estates, McWilliams Wines Group and Supply Chain Services Australia.
Kegstar owns and manages stainless steel kegs on behalf of its customers – collecting empty kegs and redeploying them to other customers in the pool. Each Kegstar keg is uniquely identified and tracked when the keg moves through the supply chain.
The business launched in December 2012 with 880 kegs, one person and one customer. Global supply chain logistics company Brambles acquired a 30 per cent stake in March 2014 and moved to 100 per cent ownership on 1 December 2015. In Australia and New Zealand, Kegstar now owns in excess of 100,000 kegs that it rents to more than 150 customers each year.
“I am honoured to be working with the amazing team at Kegstar in Australia and New Zealand,” said Boots. “The Kegstar keg pooling model is the ideal format for brewers, cider producers, wineries and spirits producers looking for a keg solution that will take their business to the next level.
“Having worked with world-class brands over the past 20 years, I look forward to tapping into my own experience to ensure we continue to provide outstanding service offerings to our customers, partnering with them as they delight consumers.

CouriersPlease appoints new COO

Parcel delivery service CouriersPlease has appointed Hoy Yen Hooper as its new Chief Operating Officer.

Mark McGinley, CEO, and Hoy Yen Hooper, Chief Operating Officer, CouriersPlease.
Mark McGinley, CEO, and Hoy Yen Hooper, Chief Operating Officer, CouriersPlease.

Hoy Yen will drive the strategy and innovation of the company’s national operations as it expands its delivery and courier network across the country and overseas, overseeing the delivery of the more-than 17 million parcels CouriersPlease delivers yearly.
She will be responsible for the overall management, performance and strategic direction of CouriersPlease’s operations and instilling a customer-led, product-focus approach within the organisation.
Hoy Yen has nearly two decades of general management and commercial experience in the Australian and New Zealand logistics and supply chain sectors, most recently as the Head of Commercial Operations at Sendle, and previously as Managing Director at DHL eCommerce Oceania, and Commercial and Operations Manager at Deutsche Post Global Mail (Australia).
“I am looking forward to heading up the operations at CP at an exciting time for the logistics and eCommerce market in Australia,” said Hoy Yen. “With big players such as Amazon and Alibaba coming to our shores for the first time, CouriersPlease aims to become a leader in parcel deliveries.
“To meet this aim, I will be working towards cementing CouriersPlease’s focus, as an organisation, on customers. We will work hard to ensure that we develop solutions that meet customer needs in the ever-changing eCommerce environment.
“CouriersPlease is already about to launch some exciting customer-centric developments, including re-delivery to a neighbour, and I am keen to work with the team to launch them in the market.”
CouriersPlease CEO Mark McGinley said, “Hoy Yen has an exceptional track record in the industry, in strategy development, improving business processes and implementing new initiatives. She is bringing with her a vast depth of knowledge and experience in logistics and supply-chain management that will help drive the CP business as it expands operations to support the growing online retail market.”

StarShipIT, Sendle announce automation partnership

Small business parcel delivery service Sendle has teamed up with StarShipIT, a cloud based app created to automate and simplify the process of shipping orders, to give Australia’s e-commerce retailers access a simpler complete shipping solution, the duo say.

As of 30 March, StarShipIT’s customers running stores on e-commerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, eBay and Etsy can opt to deliver through Sendle’s door-to-door delivery service, receiving a free upgrade to Sendle Premium, with national flat-rate pricing starting at $5.59.
Setting up an account and rate card with a shipping provider could previously take weeks to months. The Sendle-StarShipIT integration will enable online retailers to start shipping from their e-commerce platforms instantly and there are no minimum order quantities.
Unlike the post office which restricts maximum parcel weight to 22kg, Sendle delivers packages across the spectrum from 500g up to 25kg at an affordable national flat rate pricing and is 100 per cent carbon neutral.
Small businesses using Sendle can save time by automating fulfilment through StarShipIT, which automatically imports orders from all selling channels. Users can also batch print labels, invoices and pick-up slips and book a parcel pick up through StarShipIT.
Commenting on the partnership, Sendle CEO and Co-founder James Chin Moody said, “StarShipIT is a market leader in providing beautiful fulfilment solutions for eCommerce. Our integration gives Australia’s eCommerce community the ability to streamline the process from setup to shipping so they can focus on growing their business instead of sweating the small stuff.”
Rebecca Percasky, COO of StarShipIT, said, “I’m excited for what this partnership will offer Australian small businesses. A Sendle-StarShipIT integration has the potential to truly revolutionise their eCommerce fulfilment from check-out to the point of delivery and beyond.”

Prime Vision Australia launches new regional logistics strategy

Postal IT and automation solutions provider Prime Vision has launched a new strategy for its regional division in Australia and New Zealand.
The new strategy responds to the challenges faced by postal and logistics operators in the region, enabling them to improve utilisation of their assets, track individual items from first mile to last mile, increase parcel processing capacity cost effectively and offer more delivery options to consumers.
The new portfolio of solutions includes asset tracking for cages, vehicles and items within cages, item tracking – for first mile to last mile – using printed electronics for identification instead of barcode, stamps or other indicia, a fully connected Internet of Postal Things (IoPT) platform connecting physical ‘things’ used in the operation, with gateways to enterprise systems, autonomous and assisted sorting solutions that combine Prime Vision’s recognition technology with robotics to sort parcels from point-to-point using mobile robots and smart mailboxes and home parcel lockers with secure access management solutions to enable controlled access by postal workers and confirmed acceptance by consumers.

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