EchoTrak mobile app aids trucking and logistics
Before you read this, check out this story in November's issue of Supply Chain Digital. Trust us, it's way cooler!
It’s difficult to see how a company like Echo can add value to the transportation industry, seeing how the company is a non-asset transportation management company.
But that’s exactly what Echo Global Logistics CEO Doug Waggoner has done with the company’s new supply chain mobile app, EchoTrak. The app is an extension of the company’s flagship product, the Evolved Transportation Manager (or ETM).
ECHO GLOBAL LOGISTICS' EVOLVED TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT
“We don’t own trucks or trains or ships or planes,” Waggoner explains. “We manage our client’s transportation through our technology and our own tools.”
The mobile app allows shippers and carriers (and anyone involved in the supply chain, really) to get inside access into their logistics operations.
“EchoTrak is a portal where companies can use our technology on a do-it-yourself basis and get access to our data warehouse or get quotes or rate shipments,” Waggoner said. “All your pricing and your different warehouses and locations are hardwired into the system. It’s all the basic features that somebody wants for high-level transportation management.”
EchoTrak may seem like a simple idea, but the company has already had success with downloads from both the iPhone and Android app marketplaces.
The supply chain app is geared toward small and medium-sized companies, who often times need to find a third-party logistics provider.
“Smaller companies don’t have the capital to invest in additional staff, but bringing in somebody like Echo to outsource the transportation helps these companies tremendously,” Waggoner said. “We don’t see companies eliminating their shipping department, but we’re finding that they see that they can go deeper.”
DOUG WAGGONER TALKS LOGISTICS
Echo was only launched six years ago, but the company’s logistics knowledge is well known throughout the marketplace. The proof is in the pudding: the company reported $426 million in revenue last year, which was a 65 percent jump from 2009.
Waggoner doesn’t see that revenue going down anytime soon, thanks to technology like EchoTrak and a corporate vision that fits in well with a complex global supply chain.
“Because of the technology richness, when we pitch our products, there are a lot of people receptive to the idea of a third party logistics provider,” Waggoner said. “It’s difficult to build a transportation manager yourself these days, when capital and IT resources are scarce.”
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.