The Shipwell team recently attended FreightWaves Transparecy19 in Atlanta, the top freight tech conference in the country. Thousands of freight tech pros and supply chain experts spent three days discussing new trends and technology, and its impact on supply chains today and in the future.
Did you attend? We’d love to hear what stuck with you now that Transparency19 has come and gone.
Here are our top three takeaways from the conference.
Quantum computing: A possibility for supply chains?
From big data to blockchain, there are so many emerging capabilities in the supply chain optimization field.
This year, Shipwell CEO and Cofounder Greg Price took the stage to reveal new possibilities with leveraging quantum computing in the supply chain. Speaking specifically about route optimization, Price’s hypothesis was to see if there was a faster, more optimal way route optimization for fleets could be accomplished.
The Shipwell team spent two months testing real-world routes with Shipwell data on an IBM Q14 Melbourne quantum computer. By running three cities (Austin, Houston, Dallas) and the massive amount of computations of routes to calculate, the quantum computer proved successful.
In routing data on a quantum computer, it managed to solve the problem accurately and timely. But, quantum computing for supply chains still has years to go before we see practical business applications for it.
In an interview with the Shipwell team prior to Transparency19:
“Quantum computers harness the unique properties of nature at the atomic scale which we don’t have in the everyday world to achieve capabilities that are unprecedented and will be completely disruptive to most industries.”Joseph Emerson, Associate Professor at the Institute of Quantum Computing and the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Waterloo & CEO of Quantum Benchmark
Autonomous trucking: It’s coming
Autonomous trucking was a hot topic throughout Transparency19 presentations and networking discussions.
Brad Jacobs, CEO at XPO Logistics, took the stage for a town-hall style talk, fielding questions from the audience. One attendee expressed a reluctance of embracing the idea of autonomous trucking due to its potential impact on the job market.
Jacobs explained the amazing uses of robots in XPO facilities and their application to load and unload shipments at their centers. While autonomous trucking will likely be a major part of the future of the supply chain, the impact on the job market won’t be as dark as some may think.
Robots are great at hard tasks that require immense human labor, but it will be the humans who will have an elevated position in the programming, strategy, and implementation of new technology. Jobs will be impacted, but new opportunities will arise in the future of freight.
Data is your friend
As supply chain professionals, you know data is integral to operations. Each shipment can generate hundreds of data points that when aggregated, reveal cost-saving and efficiency insights. Are you leveraging the data at your fingertips accurately?
This was the main focus for many speakers on stage at Transparency19. In the “Hope is Not a Strategy: Data Benchmarking to Improve Profitability” session, speakers made it clear: bad data can stall growth.
It’s key to make partnerships early and get experts to investigate your data for accuracy. More and more logistics companies are hiring data science teams to ensure the integrity of the data received across the supply chain.