CouriersPlease appoints National eCommerce Manager

Parcel delivery company CouriersPlease’s new National eCommerce Manager, Jessica Ip, has been tasked with driving the strategy and innovation of the business’s e-commerce services to “enhance the customer experience and position the business at the forefront of online retail delivery,” the company explained in a statement.
“Jessica’s mantle will be the design and implementation of a suite of innovative e-commerce solutions to make last-mile delivery as hassle-free, flexible and convenient for the customer.”
Ip spent seven years at Qantas Freight, where she in worked in technology consultancy, improving business performance and global key account management and e-business. Most recently, she was Courier Product Manager at Rohlig Australia.
“To take the helm of CouriersPlease’s e-commerce management, at what is such a pivotal time for the logistics, supply chain and retail industries, is a great opportunity,” said Ip. “With the growing demand for online shopping and competition from major global players, our focus is on enhancing the customer experience right from the time an order is made to the final moment when the parcel is delivered.
“To meet customer expectations, we will continue to innovate and implement technology solutions such as CouriersPlease’s flexible Delivery Choices, on-demand notifications giving customers the choice to redirect their parcel to our network of parcel lockers and retail outlets, leave the delivery without a signature, or with a neighbour close by if they won’t be home to receive their order.”
Mark McGinley, CEO, CouriersPlease, added, “Jessica’s experience implementing strategic business technology innovations will be a great asset for CouriersPlease, as we work to develop more solutions to help ease the delivery experience for our customers and online retailer partners. She will be key in continuing to roll out our network of POPPoints in retail outlets around the country, and implementing our flexible Delivery Choices.”
Jessica joins a senior leadership team made up of 80 per cent women.

Australian online retailer The Iconic moves to major new DC

Australian online fashion retailer The Iconic has moved to a new, larger distribution centre (DC) in Yennora, New South Wales, due to growing customer demand and in preparation for forecasted growth over the coming years.
The company says the 19,000m2 site will be Australia’s largest ‘fashion wardrobe’, home to 700 brands, more than 45,000 different products and innovation in delivery, returns and technology.
“In just over five short years, The Iconic, Australia’s largest online fashion and sportswear destination, has redefined the Australian retail landscape and raised the bar in the way consumers shop for fashion,” the company said in a statement.
“The Iconic is now five years old and growing faster than ever,” said Patrick Schmidt, CEO, The Iconic. “We’ve expanded our team significantly, welcomed an influx of new customers shopping our site and app and have on-boarded so many beloved global and local brands that we’ve physically outgrown the warehouse space that saw us through our early years.
“As we prepare for the exciting years ahead we are pleased to have successfully relocated to a much larger and more sophisticated fulfilment centre to support the growth of our business through 2020 and beyond.
“This considerably larger space ensures we have the capacity to keep up with demand for the latest styles our customers want, and also supports our commitment to offering industry-defining delivery options to make online shopping joyful, convenient and seamless.”
The Iconic’s new DC is the size of three football fields, and moving operations to the new facility took 500 of the company’s staff members 25 hours, 50 truck runs – and 2,000 Subway sandwiches.

Achieve your enterprise’s full intelligence potential

Zebra Technologies Corporation has revealed the results of its inaugural ‘Intelligent Enterprise Index’. This global survey analyses where companies are on the route to becoming an intelligent enterprise, how they are connecting the physical and digital worlds to improve visibility, efficiencies and growth.
Globally, 48 per cent are on the path to becoming intelligent enterprises, scoring between 50-75 points on the overall index. Only five per cent exceeded 75 points. In comparison, Asia Pacific respondents scored above the global average, with 51 per cent of those polled scoring between the 50-75 points, but merely two per cent were above the 75-point benchmark that qualify them to be considered an ‘intelligent’ enterprise.
The Intelligent Enterprise Index measures to what extent companies today are meeting the criteria that define today’s intelligent enterprise. Some of the criteria include Internet of Things (IoT) vision and adoption plan, as well as business engagement in developing a return on investment for IoT. The criteria were identified by leading executives, industry experts and policymakers across different industries at the 2016 Strategic Innovation Symposium: The Intelligent Enterprise, which was hosted by Zebra in collaboration with the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH) last year.
“An ‘intelligent enterprise’ is one that leverages ties between the physical and digital worlds to enhance visibility and mobilise actionable insights that create better customer service, drive operational efficiencies or enable new business models,” said Tom Bianculli, chief technology officer at Zebra.
“This is a journey for enterprise organisations, so we wanted to see where most companies are in the process. Clearly, many are still forming their IoT strategies, but we are seeing segments that have identified targeted use cases and are aggressively deploying solutions.”
The framework of an Intelligent Enterprise is based on technology that integrate cloud computing, mobility, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to automatically ‘sense’ information from enterprise assets. Operational data from these assets, including status, location, utilisation, or preferences, is then ‘analysed’ to provide actionable insights, which can then be mobilised to the right person at the right time so they can be ‘acted’ upon to drive better, more timely decisions by users anywhere, at any time.
Asia-Pacific key survey findings

  • IoT vision is strong and investment set to increase. In APAC, 38 per cent of companies spend more than $1 million towards IoT annually, and 80 per cent expect that number to increase in the next one to two years. In fact, 67 per cent of APAC companies expect their IoT investment to increase by 11 per cent or more during this time. However, 39 per cent of companies today have not executed on their IoT plans or do not have any plans at all. Although only 36 per cent currently have company-wide deployment, it is expected that 65 per cent will have it deployed company-wide in the future.
  • Customer service is driving IoT. Seventy-one per cent of companies claim the largest driver of IoT investment is improving the customer service. In the future, increasing revenue (54 percent) and expanding into new markets (53 percent) are expected to be the largest drivers.
  • Business engagement is top of mind, but culture should be given more consideration. Eighty-one per cent of companies have a method in place to measure ROI from their IoT plan, and 73 per cent have IoT plans that address both the cultural and process changes necessary to implement it.
  • Many companies lack an adoption plan. Fifty-four per cent of companies expect resistance to adopt their IoT solution, yet don’t have a plan in place to address it. Only 27 per cent who expect resistance, have a plan to address it.
  • Companies keep employees informed, but there is room for more. Approximately 83 per cent of companies share information from their IoT solutions with their employees more than once a day, of which half of these employers share in real or near-real time. However, only 34 per cent provide actionable information to all employees, and information is provided either via email (69 percent) or as raw data (67 per cent).

Survey background and methodology

  • The online survey was fielded from 3-23 August 2017 across a wide range of segments, including healthcare, manufacturing, retail and transportation and logistics.
  • In total, 908 IT decision makers from nine countries were interviewed, including the US, UK/Great Britain, France, Germany, Mexico, and Brazil. Of these, about a third were from the APAC markets, including China, India, and Australia/New Zealand.
  • Eleven metrics were used to understand where companies are on the path to becoming an Intelligent Enterprise, including: IoT Vision, Business Engagement, Technology Solution Partner, Adoption Plan, Change Management Plan, Point of use Application, Security & Standards, Lifetime Plan, Architecture/Infrastructure, Data Plan and Intelligent Analysis.


Rockwell Automation invests in AI for industrial automation

Rockwell Automation has announced that it has invested in The Hive, a Silicon Valley–based innovation fund and co-creation studio, in order to gain access to an ecosystem of innovators and technology startups with a focus on applications of artificial intelligence (AI) to industrial automation.
Rockwell Automation goals include co-creating to solve customer problems, accelerating innovation and identifying new emerging technologies that can help its manufacturing customers improve business performance by bridging the gaps between plant-floor and higher-level information systems.
“Smart manufacturing requires the use of new and disruptive technologies such as AI to create the future industrial plants and supply networks that are flexible, efficient, responsive and secure,” said Elik Fooks, Senior Vice President – Corporate Development, Rockwell Automation. “AI can help manufacturers unlock data, contextualise it and take action.
“We continue to create partnerships with leading innovators, such as this one with The Hive, to further advance The Connected Enterprise, our vision for realising unprecedented industrial productivity from the integration of plant and enterprise operations.”
“Rockwell Automation’s investment in The Hive will provide it with earlier visibility to AI technology from companies fostered by The Hive’s technology team,” said T.M. Ravi, Managing Director and Co-founder of The Hive. “These include AI-powered applications for the cognitive enterprise, edge intelligence, security, and smart machines.”

Australian courier service Zoom2U strengthens Uber-style approach

Australian courier service Zoom2U has acquired Freight Match, an Australia-wide online service that matches transport operators with customers wanting to move goods.
Through the new addition, Zoom2U customers will have an alternative delivery option for interstate shipping, employing road freight carriers and air freight operators to deliver larger items such as pallets, building materials and shipping containers.
For interstate deliveries, goods can essentially ‘hitch a ride’ with vehicles that are already traveling to the required destination.
Steve Orenstein, CEO, Zoom2U, said the Freight Match acquisition would enable the company to apply the same online booking and smart delivery tracking features introduced with Zoom2U to the freight delivery industry.
“Much like courier delivery, freight transportation is an area that can be optimised significantly,” he said. “The problem is that existing services use the same technology systems that were used ten years ago, making delivery jobs unnecessarily complicated.
“Bringing Freight Match into the fold gives us an opportunity to upgrade its capabilities and offer a much better experience for customers. The reality is that Australians have become used to tracking their taxis and food on a map in real-time, and there’s no reason why they can’t do the same for package deliveries.”
Freight Match has a network of more than 2,000 transport operators in Australia, offering them a consistent source of new income by tapping into spare capacity without having to chase clients or fuss around with paperwork and payments.
Zoom2U recently celebrated its third year of operation in Australia, in which time it has secured major deals with DHL and Big Commerce, and gone from 250 parcel deliveries a day to more than 35,000 a month. It now has a network of more than 500 couriers around the country, and has raised $3 million in funding to date.
“Zoom2U has carved out a sizeable niche in Australia for customers who need a reliable courier for VIP, three-hour, same-day or after-hour service,” said Orenstein.
“We’ve had customers use Zoom2U for everything from getting spare keys sent over when they’ve locked themselves out of the house to express couriering a forgotten passport to the airport.
“With the impending local launch of Amazon, online retailers need to be looking at how they can overhaul their delivery infrastructure to match Amazon’s immediacy and breadth of shipping options. The recent acquisition of Freight Match means Zoom2U is well-placed to become the alternative delivery system of choice in Australia.”

Adaptalift to showcase specialist materials handling equipment

A range of professional materials handling solutions will be on display on forklift specialist Adaptlift’s stand at trade event MEGATRANS2018, taking place 10–12 May 2018.
The company has revealed that its stand will feature its Combilift range of multidirectional materials-handling units, which are suited for handling long loads such as timber and piping in narrow areas.
“MEGATRANS2018 will allow us to showcase our extremely diverse product offering to many market segments and diverse customers in one large show,” said Chris Walker, General Manager of Adaptalift brand Combilift Australia.
According to Paul Hinz, Marketing Coordinator for Adaptalift, the company is looking forward to using MEGATRANS2018 as an opportunity to generate qualified industry leads.
“Trade shows are valuable to Adaptalift as they provide an opportunity to talk openly regarding the equipment and really understand the concept behind it, and how Combilift units can benefit businesses,” he said, adding that trade shows are as valuable for exhibitors as they are for visitors.
“For us, it’s also a bonus that we can wander around and catch up on industry trends and see what others in the space are doing.”
Two developing technologies Hinz will be keeping his eyes peeled for at the show are automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and fleet management software.
“Everyone’s looking to maximise their operations not only from a cost point of view, but also efficiency and safety, it’s something Adaptalift’s very involved in since we have our own fleet management system – ForkTrack,” he said.
Adaptalift, the official Australian distributor for Combilift and Hyster forklifts, is Australia’s largest privately owned forklift company. Originally founded in 1982 as a designer and manufacturer of forklift attachments, the company has since added forklift rental and purchase options in response to customer demand, and now has a national network of branches and a fleet of 10,500 units nationwide.

Schaeffler acquires IT specialist Autinity

Automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler Australia has welcomed its global parent company’s acquisition of Autinity Systems, an IT company that specialises in machine data recording and evaluation.
Condition monitoring of machinery and equipment as well as digital networking in production are of great interest to both Schaeffler’s internal and external customers throughout Australia and New Zealand, said Mark Ciechanowicz, Industrial Services Manager, Schaeffler Australia.
These include key Schaeffler Australia markets, among them bulk materials handling; mining and energy production; food, beverage and primary processing; and broader industrial and road and rail machinery systems.
The company noted that the purchase of 100 per cent of Autinity shares, completed this month, is an important step in implementing Schaeffler’s global and local digital agenda, with Autinity specialising in digital condition monitoring and machine data recording.
“Schaeffler has been using software solutions by Autinity for many years now,” said Ciechanowicz. “The acquisition of this company will help us to intensify our collaboration and accelerate further developments in the fields of machine data recording and condition monitoring. Both topics are essential elements of Schaeffler’s digital agenda, which are in strong demand both from internal and external customers.”

Australian logistics start-up tech excellence recognised

Australian logistics technology company FreightExchange has won a Gold Stevie Award in the Tech Start-up of the Year category in the 14th Annual International Business Awards.
The International Business Awards are open to individuals and organisations worldwide – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small.
Stevie Award winners were determined by the average scores of more than 200 executives worldwide who participated on 12 juries.
The 2017 IBAs received entries from more than 60 nations and territories.
FreightExchange was recognised for its innovative supply-chain management processes that help businesses manage all their freight in one software application.
The company growth, and the idea of connecting enterprises to reduce waste in the industry impressed the judges most.
The judging panel said, “With their everyone-wins philosophy; FreightExchange is a disruptive force in freight handling.”
Cate Hull, Co-founder, FreightExchange, said: “The FreightExchange team and I continuously strive for excellence at every opportunity and we all have such a passion for the industry. Believing that the concept of inexhaustible resources in business is destructive and that the sharing economy is a key opportunity for us to move towards a more viable future globally.”
The awards were celebrated at a gala in Barcelona last week.

Amazon launches in-home delivery service

In early November, e-commerce company Amazon launched Amazon Key, an in-home delivery service enabling online shoppers to receive goods when not at home.
Amazon Key offers US members of Amazon’s premium Prime service free in-home delivery after installation of the Amazon Key kit, which includes the Amazon Cloud Cam to record entries and a range of lock systems.
After selecting the ‘in-home’ delivery option when shopping, Prime members can follow the order with real-time notifications, watch the delivery happening live via the Cloud Cam and later review the delivery.
“Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors,” said Peter Larsen, Vice President – Delivery Technology, Amazon. “Now, Prime members can select in-home delivery and conveniently see their packages being delivered right from their mobile phones.”
The technology doesn’t replace a key with a digital passcode, instead each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s home, Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address, at the intended time, through an encrypted authentication process. Once this process is successfully completed, Amazon Cloud Cam starts recording and the door is then unlocked. Deliveries are also covered by Amazon’s Happiness Guarantee.
Amazon Key will also offer an option for residents keen to allow access to their property to friends and service providers when not at home.
Amazon Key has initially been made available in 37 cities across the US.

Packaging seminar envisions smart factory of the future

At the ‘Smart Factory Solutions with IoT Technology’ food and packaging seminar, held by automation company Omron in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane last week, technology experts discussed the key features of smart factories of the future, nothing that an estimated 13.5 billion devices will be connected by 2020 worldwide.
“It’s all about collecting and analysing data to improve efficiency,” said Chris Probst, Automation Technology Product Manager, Omron.
“The amount of data doesn’t matter – it’s what you do with the data that counts,” he said.
Probst said many Australian companies are now talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) technical revolution, but not many are prepared for it.
“Companies that embrace new technologies will be better positioned to adapt to changing marketing conditions and customer needs.
“This is the next generation of manufacturing where people and machines work together.”
Hal Varian, professor of information sciences, business, and economics at the University of California at Berkeley and Google’s Chief Economist agreed.
“The ability to take data – to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualise it, to communicate it – that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decade,” he said.
Wei-Jian Ong, product manager for Omron’s Sysmac controllers based in Singapore, said data collection and analysis can help manufacturers streamline their operations.
“The collection of data is now vital for industry,” said Ong. “The Internet of Things (IoT) is basically a network of devices with network connectivity for the collection and exchange of data.
“With IoT you can monitor, analyse and act – you can coordinate and monitor your production line. All machines work together to perform at optimum level.”
“Smart factories need to be more efficient and fully connected to their supply chains,” said Probst. “AIVs (Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles) not only save on labour costs, they can increase operational efficiency.
“Mobile robots are easy to deploy, with no facility modifications required. They work safely around people and can operate 24/7.”
Probst said smart factories were also helping to significantly improve workplace safety.
“The Smart Factory of the future will improve workplace safety, improve yield and traceability, drive down production costs and eliminate errors,” he said. “This will enable a ‘flexible’ manufacturing revolution.”

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