Categories
Broker News Logistics News

ZUUM Technologies eyes Series A early next year

Article originally posted on Mergermarket by Chris Metinko.

ZUUM Transportation anticipates starting a Series A round early next year as the company looks to disrupt the slow-to-change logistics industry, said co-founder and COO Matt Tabatabai. The Irvine, California-based logistics platform developer has not finalized how much it may raise in a Series A, but Tabatabai said USD 10m to USD 15m is a “fair” estimate.

Any new proceeds would be used to continue the “hypergrowth” the company is seeing, said Tabatabai. Despite the economic ups-and-downs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this should be the company’s best year, said Tabatabai, adding it should see between 2x to 3x growth. 

ZUUM’s platform for shippers, brokers and carriers helps streamline logistics and supply chains, said Tabatabai. The company is trying to create the industry’s first complete “logistics super platform” combining a digital freight marketplace with a shipper transportation management system (TMS), broker software, carrier TMS and driver app.

ZUUM Raises $8.58m in Seed Funding

ZUUM recently announced the close of a second seed round of USD 8.58m. Founded in 2016, the company has raised USD 12.58m to date. Tabatabai said “timing” was the main issue in raising a second round of seed instead of undertaking a Series A raise. He agreed the pandemic may have played some role in raising the second seed round in lieu of a Series A.

While the logistics market is more than USD 1.2tn in the US and USD 8tn globally, it is an industry that has been slow to integrate technology, said Tabatabai. However, as COVID-19 has forced digital transformation upon many industries, it also is doing so in the logistics world as shippers and carriers are looking to decrease operating expenses and increase production, he added.

Digital Transformation in Logistics

ZUUM also cites an IPO as an eventual goal – although likely more than three years away – but it already has seen some acquisition interest from buyers, said Tabatabai. The company is not interested in selling, so talks never progressed, said Tabatabai, declining to elaborate on the past interest. However, Tabatabai said he does think there is be more dealmaking activity than in the past as large logistics companies and those with older technology solutions look to finally update and digitally transform, he said. 

ZUUM began testing its platform and generating revenue in 2017. The company counts more than 235 shippers as customers and has started to sell to brokers, said Tabatabai. The company’s investors include Estes Express Lines, BNSF Logistics, Plug and Play Ventures, Logifruit of Spain, Estes Forwarding, SAIC Ventures and Holman Growth Ventures.

Categories
Supply Chain Expertise

Top 3 Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Revolutionize Logistics & Transportation

A few decades ago, artificial intelligence still seemed like a pipe dream – a far out technology that we wrote into our movies and television shows, not something that we could yet interact with on a daily basis. Now, technology has made leaps and bounds in our attempts to streamline as many processes as possible. For those who work in trucking and logistics, efficiency is key to determining profit and positive feedback.

According to The Economist, “McKinsey estimates that firms will derive between $1.3trn and $2trn a year in economic value from using AI in supply chains and manufacturing.” And going to the source itself, McKinsey claims that, “63 percent of respondents report revenue increases from AI adoption in the business units where their companies use AI,” indicating that there is significant potential for artificial intelligence in supply chain management. Below are three main ways AI is expected to change the industry: 

1. Demand Prediction

In an ever-changing market with high competitiveness, many businesses cannot afford to overestimate the amount of product it will need to carry in order to make a profit. Overestimating means that the company will lose time, money, and resources on the leftover product. On the other hand, lowballing your product amount might mean that you lose out on potential customers and income. What can you do? Recent studies by Deloitte indicate that AI has an ability to predict these product demands better than humans. With an unfair advantage, artificial intelligence can analyze and connect every piece of information and spit out probabilities in a much faster, cost effective way. In addition, AI can help predict individual customer needs by analyzing what products have been of use to them, and what products or services will continue to best serve them. Happy customers make return customers, and an industry running on happy, efficient transactions is an industry that is thriving.

2. Back Office Operations

In many companies, there are office tasks that seem repetitive and monotonous. For logistics companies, this reality is made even more daunting by the sheer amount of information and clerical responsibilities that workers must face. By combining AI with RPA (Robotic Process Automation), a different technology is created, called cognitive automation. Cognitive automation is able to analyze and optimize areas of logistics such as transport capacity, real-time decisions, and end-to-end supply chain. Having AI take over daily operations that clog the pipes, so to speak, helps improve the quality of your employee’s work, while lowering costs and errors.

3. Warehouse Automation

Using artificial intelligence to automate warehouse operations has the advantage of increasing revenue while lowering transportation costs that would otherwise be incurred. With the help of AI to predict demand for a product, companies can send products to regional warehouses ahead of time and cut back on costs by having more time to schedule routes and other arrangements. Warehouse automation also brings the addition of computer vision, which can pinpoint and organize inventory, quickly and accurately. It can even communicate with nearby warehouses to help determine which location would be most efficient for the product to be shipped from.

What do you think? Is AI the future, or are there better ways to increase efficiency in transportation? Did we miss anything? Let us know by reaching out to us at marketing@zuumapp.com.

Related sources:

https://towardsdatascience.com/how-ai-changes-the-logistic-industry-3d55401778d

https://www.economist.com/special-report/2018/03/28/how-ai-is-spreading-throughout-the-supply-chain?FEATURE_ARTICLES_V1=0

https://www.zdnet.com/article/artificial-intelligence-works-its-way-into-supply-chains/

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/artificial-intelligence/global-ai-survey-ai-proves-its-worth-but-few-scale-impact

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/deloitte-review/issue-19/art-of-forecasting-human-in-the-loop-machine-learning.html

https://www.sdcexec.com/transportation/blog/21070203/why-ai-and-cognitive-automation-are-the-next-frontier-in-transportation-and-logistics

Categories
Broker News Logistics News

How $12.58 Million in Seed Funding Accelerates Digital Transformation in a $1.6 Trillion Industry During a Global Pandemic

NEWSWIRE PRESS RELEASE  UPDATED: OCT 13, 2020 09:00 PDT

The challenge COVID-19 is posing to global supply chains is unprecedented, drastically impacting demand, supply, manufacturing and transportation simultaneously. These sudden changes and resulting daily freight cost fluctuations force companies to evolve. Can new logistics technology, like ZUUM’s Logistics Super Platform, funded through venture investments, help businesses survive? Will the pandemic usher in the next efficiency revolution in logistics? ​

“COVID-19 has interrupted global supply chains, leaving businesses scrambling for new ways to keep operations running. During this unprecedented crisis, finding innovative ways to help communities and businesses is more important than ever. Our recent funding is enabling ZUUM to focus on bringing new, more efficient real-time solutions to the logistics and transportation industry,” says ZUUM Transportation COO and co-founder Matt Tabatabai.

Transportation and logistics perform some of the most vital services in the industrial world. Logistics account for approximately 8% of all economic activity in the USA, or $1.652 trillion in expenditures last year alone, according to the CSCMP (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals) 2020 report. 

ZUUM Transportation recently completed a second round of seed funding at $8.58 million for a total raise of $12.58 million to date. The seed funding accelerates technology innovation in logistics, launching the first Logistics Super Platform (LSP). ZUUM’s LSP connects a transportation management system for shippers, a digital freight broker software, a carrier TMS, and mobile driver application with a digital freight marketplace. ZUUM provides critically needed efficiency, real-time visibility, and higher productivity to help transportation businesses survive during COVID-19 and cope with the highest freight cost fluctuations in recent history.

“We have been working with the ZUUM team to help us digitize certain aspects of our brokerage. They have been great to work with and brought immediate value and quick deployment. These guys are the real deal,” says Dan Curtis, president of BNSF Logistics.

Venture Funding Accelerates the Digital Transformation in Logistics

We are humbled and inspired by the investors who share our vision and believe in our mission, including Estes Express Lines, BNSF Logistics, Plug and Play Ventures, Logifruit of Spain, Estes Forwarding, SAIC Ventures, and Holman Growth Ventures,” states Mustafa Azizi, CEO of ZUUM Transportation, Inc.

Transportation in the U.S. is highly fragmented, requiring the coordination of  3.5 million commercial drivers, 565,000 manufacturing businesses, 700,000 carriers, and 17,000 freight brokers. COVID-19 has amplified this fragmentation which calls for closer collaboration among all participants.

To optimize complex supply chains and to react to the challenges of this pandemic, manufacturers have been looking for new technology solutions. Many of the current logistics software companies emerged during the great recession more than 10 years ago. Since then, digital technology has evolved even further, but supply chains are still not fully integrated and digitally connected, as businesses continue to use legacy software.

A few companies are attempting to disrupt traditional freight logistics by building digital marketplaces to aggregate capacity. They rely on eliminating freight brokers to reduce cost. However, broker expertise remains essential to reacting to daily capacity and cost changes. In contrast, ZUUM is creating value by connecting all participants and creating efficiency through automation, workflow integration and transparent information flow – not just capacity aggregation. Their business model is based on partnering with shippers, brokers, carriers, and drivers and bringing their knowledge, expertise, and capacity onto one universal platform. 

Digital Integration Creates Efficiency and Drives Defragmentation

Since its founding in 2016, ZUUM has grown to deliver thousands of freight-loads per month for more than 235 shippers, including several Fortune 500 companies. Freight is booked on an integrated logistics platform, matching shippers with vetted carriers. Automated bidding & dispatch, dynamic pricing, track & trace, workflow automation, document management, accounting, and predictive reports & analytics help maximize productivity. Universal connection through EDI and API connects both legacy and recent systems, including ERP, TMS, accounting, warehousing and other existing software. ZUUM offers the most comprehensive solution in the market to date and the first digital broker-in-the-box software. 

“We invested into ZUUM because of the agile, comprehensive technology suite they have developed. We anticipate strong demand from shippers, brokers, and carriers worldwide. ZUUM leadership has deep industry knowledge and a true partnership mindset. We look forward to expanding our cooperation,” says Pat Martin, VP Corporate Sales & Strategic Planning, Estes Express Lines (largest, privately owned freight shipping company in North America).

Solving Unprecedented Market Uncertainty and Freight Rate Fluctuations

With ongoing uncertainties in supply and demand due to COVID-19, freight rates have been fluctuating and finding capacity has become even more challenging.

ZUUM’s Logistics Super Platform is fully integrated and digitally connected, providing real-time capacity and freight visibility. Instant dynamic price quotes and automated notifications to all parties make ZUUM’s Digital Freight Marketplace the solution built for these volatile environments. Automated load matching, instant smart pricing, and tender acceptance enable fast response to freight price changes. Meeting demand efficiently and managing the transportation of goods and products from point of origin to point of consumption required a more seamless coordination of resources and businesses. ZUUM enables the efficient flow of information by connecting all logistics parties, ultimately establishing the synergy needed to drive the industry forward. ZUUM has grown rapidly since its inception and is projected to exceed a 300% growth rate in 2020. 

About ZUUM Transportation Inc.

ZUUM Transportation, Inc. is a rapidly growing tech startup transforming the logistics industry. Their vision is to optimize logistics and streamline supply chains globally with one efficient, automated, and easy-to-use super platform. Centralized information flow provides actionable intelligence, capacity aggregation provides instant access to vetted carriers, and back-office automation reduces errors and maximizes productivity. ZUUM combines a digital freight marketplace with a shipper TMS, broker SaaS, carrier TMS, and mobile driver app.

ZUUM – AUTOMATE YOUR FREIGHT™

Categories
Logistics News

Real-time Supply Chain Solutions for Hurricane Delta

Communities in the middle of rehabilitation following Hurricane Laura six weeks ago now face a new threat. Authorities were alerted of the formation of Delta early Monday, October 5 in the Caribbean and “by Monday night it was already at hurricane strength. As of the 8 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center the system had sustained winds of 75 mph, having rapidly intensified 30 mph in just 9 hours.” reports CBS News.

While Hurricane Delta is expected to be less destructive than Hurricane Laura, it has been classified as a Category 3 storm in which The National Hurricane Center notes “devastating damage will occur.” Potentially impacted areas include states in the U.S. Gulf Coast, more specifically Louisiana and Texas.

“In a Category 3 hurricane, winds range from 111 to 129 mph. There is a high risk of  injury or death to people, livestock and pets from flying and falling debris.” reports Time. Hurricane Delta is the 10th hurricane to hit mainland United States in 2020, making this year the highest concentration of storms to make landfall “after 1916, which saw nine landfalls.”

As the number of unforeseen circumstances (from a global pandemic to natural disasters) continues to rise, the supply chain and transportation industry must prioritize preparation and swift action to lessen possible repercussions.

The best case scenario includes having enough time to prepare and execute an emergency disaster plan. When time is limited having access to real-time data will be imperative to adjusting strategy to mitigate potential losses. Placing an emphasis on proactive rather than reactive efforts will be key.

Real-time Visibility

Material Handling & Logistics News advises “you should aim to achieve visibility and transparency into all elements of your supply chain, including the status of vendor bookings, purchase orders and the movement of inventory, using an automated system which updates data instantly rather than relying on manual updates which are slow, error-prone and out of date.”

ZUUM’s interconnected platforms directly address these shortcomings in manual communication with our digital document management and automated notifications. These features enable manufacturers to view the load status of all their shipments in one place at the same time, allowing them to focus on drivers carrying shipments.

Real-time ETA

Aside from understanding where shipments are from an operations standpoint, shippers and freight brokers are also able to see the progress of a shipment from a geographical perspective. ZUUM displays the driver’s real-time ETA on the shipper TMS, broker software, and carrier TMS so that all parties can coordinate effectively and efficiently. In the case of hurricane Delta, any drivers traveling through Louisiana and Texas may be rerouted or advised to halt and find shelter. Once the storm passes, carriers can then notify drivers when warehouses are available to receive their shipments. Through ZUUM’s predictive analytics, each party will have visibility into a more accurate estimated time of arrival.

ZUUM’s Logistics Super Platform was intended to give supply chain and transportation professionals greater insight into their businesses. ZUUM offers the most comprehensive solution in the market to date and designed to help navigate events such as Hurricane Delta.

References:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hurricane-delta-united-states-gulf-coast-this-week/

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutgloss.shtml#HURRICANE

https://time.com/4946730/hurricane-categories/

https://www.mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/article/22055431/how-the-supply-chain-can-thrive-in-the-face-of-natural-disasters

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/07/weather/historic-storm-hurricane-delta/index.html

Categories
Supply Chain Expertise

Technology in the Trucking Industry: What the Future Holds

The trucking industry is an example of a significant business vertical where technology can help optimize segments of an industry while also benefiting our planet and our society. Previously, transportation mainly relied on a classic model consisting of transportation infrastructure, fragmented technology, and more than 700,000 carriers with fewer than 20 trucks in the US alone. However, like with every other industry, companies have had to change with the times. The constant changes in tech have pushed those in logistics to diversify and transform in order to maintain a competitive advantage. Today, advances in technology promise to provide solutions to some of the industry’s biggest obstacles. 

How can technology solve these issues in the logistics industry? Let’s dive right in for a brief overview. 

1. The Driver Shortage

Always at the forefront when discussing what plagues freight, the driver shortage is a real issue for the industry. With drivers and employers butting heads over profits, and the American Trucking Association having officially recognized an ongoing shortage, companies in the meantime are at a loss of what to do. A layered situation, the shortage is not something that has appeared overnight, and it can’t be resolved overnight either. Today, there are only two solutions: Adding capacity by adding drivers & trucks or making what is called dark capacity accessible to shippers through technology.

Training drivers takes time and is costly. Technology, like Digital Freight Marketplaces, can be implemented faster, and instantly solve the problem of capacity access, as long as empty miles and unused capacity still exist. DFMs like the ZUUM DFM just require more adoption, where more shippers start to use DFMs for both dedicated and spot freight. The resulting increase of capacity utilization and resulting fewer empty miles also have a positive effect on carbon emissions. ZUUM’s new backhaul finder is a great example of technology that can alleviate the capacity problem for shippers, while increasing profitability for carriers by adding paying loads instead of empty miles.

In the future, automated trucking – either driver assisted autopilots or fully self-driving trucks – are also a solution that may be able to reduce the size of the problem. Some self-driving trucks are being tested today and may be more common on our roads within the next decade. According to Chuck Price, Chief Product Officer at TuSimple, “their new autonomous trucks can see forward over a half mile, farther than any other autonomous system in the world, and that they can run during the day, the night and even in the rain.” This technology could reduce the capacity problem, especially during times when transportation demand is high, as a temporary supplement to the truckers on the road today.

2. Lack of Efficiency

Time is money, and money is time. Regardless of where you work, almost every businessman will tell you the same thing. The good news is, there are countless ways to improve efficiency at every step of the way, thanks to different technology solutions. We can see this at the ground level, such as by using truck scales: they allow workers to weigh the shipment as they are simultaneously loading and unloading it, versus having to manually carry it back and forth in order to weigh it. Saving your worker’s time and energy helps ensure that they are happier at work and makes it so that the surplus is being reinvested elsewhere, thereby benefiting the employer. Software and driver apps that help truckers find the cheapest available gas, improved GPS features, and automated freight matching are all key improvements that help further freight.

3. Legacy Tools

The few technological enhancements in trucking are often legacy tools that has not been updated for years. New logistics technology companies are emerging and are offering innovative solutions. Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, has been a game changer for many fleet management companies. From maintenance, route planning, trend analysis, and real-time updates on the shipment process, SaaS has made it possible for companies to go online and subscribe to a service without being locked in for years, potentially missing out on further technological innovation. Being internet-based increases accessibility and lets multiple parties make use of the software. A 2016 survey reported that over 60% of companies were already using SaaS, making it a welcome addition to technology that has improved trucking on a significant scale. 

At ZUUM Transportation, we believe that the future is in the details, and those details can be found in the technology that we choose to invest in. Learn more about our technology solutions here.

Related Sources:

https://www.mytruckpulse.com/blog/technology-innovation-in-trucking-industry.html

https://www.ttnews.com/articles/ai-trucking

https://hackernoon.com/5-future-transportation-technologies-that-will-boom-or-bust-in-2019-b5ee59f7f8f

https://interestingengineering.com/automated-trucks-are-coming-much-sooner-than-you-think

https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/fleet-management-trucking-technology-trends/

https://www.geotab.com/blog/benefits-of-saas/

https://www.computereconomics.com/article.cfm?id=2253

Categories
Logistics News

Digital Innovation to find instant ROI – the first Logistics Super Platform from ZUUM

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor of CEOCFO Magazine interviewed our COO and Co-Founder, Matt Tabatabai, about ZUUM Transportation and the future of logistics.

CEOCFO: Mr. Tabatabai, what is the concept behind ZUUM Transportation?

Mr. Tabatabai: The number-one problem that exists in logistics today is fragmentation. Until now, there was no solution in the market that truly centralizes and defragments the industry to deliver efficiencies of scale. There are a lot of unitary solutions and transportation is still a very antiquated industry. This is why we developed ZUUM – the first comprehensive logistics-super-platform (LSP) that delivers efficiency and value – by integrating a shipper transportation management system, broker software, carrier TMS, and mobile driver app with a digital freight marketplace.

In 2016, we started as a digital freight marketplace, automating the back-office steps between shippers and carriers. By doing so we brought efficiency to the market, while simultaneously building trust by disclosing our commission to carriers.

One of our key differentiators is that our executives and team come from the logistics industry. We are not a typical Silicon Valley tech company that doesn’t understand all the complexities of freight. Our CEO, Mustafa Azizi, came from the brokerage and carrier world. He was on the broker side for many years, and also on the carrier/trucking side with our former Chairman who owned 60 trucks.

CEOCFO: Has the industry been looking for a better way or is it more that when they find ZUUM they are going to be happy?

Mr. Tabatabai: I think the industry has been looking for a flexible and modular solution tailored to their business needs. As I said before, the problem is that there are many unitary legacy solutions, so the industry has been looking for technology that is more agile which brings unity and collaboration to the industry. There are many different moving pieces and challenges in freight and trying to solve them requires a very comprehensive solution. That is why we built a flexible framework interconnecting shippers, brokers, and carriers on one platform.

CEOCFO: Where was the challenge technologically in bringing all of this together; were there one or two areas that stood out or is it more that you and your team know what you were doing so you understood the challenges?

Mr. Tabatabai: I think it is the latter. The complexity and nature of our business requires experts from the industry that have a real understanding of transportation. Timing is important too. Because of how antiquated the industry was, a revolution started to happen in logistics during the last recession. This revolution basically created some of the legacy solutions we see today solving tracking, dispatching, load matching etc.

ZUUM is the first company to bring all solutions together on one Logistics Super Platform, in turn creating a unified platform with synergy between all three parties without eliminating American Jobs, while enhancing users’ experiences, and bringing efficiencies to the marketplace. 

Digital freight marketplaces that came about recently are all trying to remove the broker. ZUUM on the other hand has built a broker-in-a-box solution, which is designed to help freight brokers optimize their operations – brokers that used to feel threatened by technology. The solution helps traditional freight brokers by digitizing and automating their business. Replacing time-consuming manual check-calls, back-office tasks, and time-consuming customer updates with automated notifications that maximize productivity and free up time.

CEOCFO: How do the different parties use the ZUUM technology?

Mr. Tabatabai: The shippers are using our shipper TMS to find capacity, access instant freight quotes and gain real-time load visibility. Through our broker-in-a-box solution, the brokers get access to software that helps them manage their shippers and carriers in a digital way. They onboard carriers fast and access their carrier network and automate everything form tracking, dispatching, load matching, document management, assessorials, and billing hence managing the full lifecycle of the freight digitally. This in turn provides management automation and salesforce optimization.

Carriers are getting low margins and are having a hard time finding shippers to deliver for, because a lot of them are smaller Mom & Pop shops. With ZUUM, they are able to use our freight marketplace and software for free. We give carriers a free transportation management software that helps them manage their fleets. ZUUM offers track and trace and optimizes their routes, including long-hauls and profitable back-hauls. The synergy we create between shippers, brokers and carriers is also creating a better planet. We are ultimately helping the environment with lower CO2 emissions by bringing efficiency to the logistics industry.

CEOCFO: Where does the quality of the carrier come in?

Mr. Tabatabai: We pride ourselves on delivering the highest service levels in the industry because of the way our technology works and qualifies carriers. We have stringent procedures when onboarding carriers through our automated platform. We have a multi-pronged approach in our system, where we look at their DOT and FMCSA and all the different systems that check their service level, safety performance, maintenance, how long they have been in business, etc. Furthermore, we have a proprietary internal scorecard system that helps provide improvement plans to carriers. We even go beyond that by bringing value to the carriers by rating the shippers, the shipping yards, and the receivers which is done by the carrier so it is two-sided and both parties are heard and work together on improvements. The truckers and carriers know the rating of the shipper, how they pay, how they are at the receiver side in terms of basically taking in the freight with no delays. The combination of what I described is why we have 99.98% service levels with some really big enterprise customers.

CEOCFO: How do you reach out to the various stakeholders to encourage participation?

Mr. Tabatabai: We have been implementing growth strategies to create a network effect. Ultimately, the most important thing is how much value you are bringing to the various stakeholders. This translates into a better inbound experience compared to outbound. Our excellent service, comprehensive solutions, and advanced products have given us a viral effect where we have been referred to new customers by some of the best in the industry. These industry leaders eventually became our investors, customers and partners. That is another key differentiation. We have created very strategic partnerships with some of the biggest players in the industry. The largest fleet company, one of the biggest brokers in the US and some of the biggest shippers – they all have invested in our company and are using our software.

CEOCFO: What has changed in your approach over time? What have you learned?

Mr. Tabatabai: When you are building a startup, you are constantly learning. However, it’s important to learn in a very agile and efficient way and to avoid too many roadblocks along the way. In the beginning we spent a lot of time learning about the true wants and needs of our different customer groups through qualitative and quantitative research. Through detailed workflow mapping and analysis, we learned that it is not just about customers they tell you; it is also about understanding and reading in between the lines to deliver what they really need. When you know that, you can adjust your strategy to acquire customers much quicker.

“ZUUM – the first comprehensive logistics-super-platform (LSP) – delivers efficiency and instant value by integrating a shipper transportation management system, broker software, carrier TMS, and mobile driver app with a digital freight marketplace.”

– Matt Tabatabai

CEOCFO: How is business?

Mr. Tabatabai: Business has been excellent. We have been in a hyper growth mode for a few years now, quadrupling, 3Xing, 2Xing year-by-year and this year is no exception. The industry has faced a lot of challenges during COVID. However, ZUUM has actually been growing because of the needs and the acceleration of changes that have been created because of the pandemic.

CEOCFO: Would you tell us about your recent funding?

Mr. Tabatabai: To further accelerate growth and enable industry adoption, we have raised several rounds of funding from very strategic partners in the industry – as well as some venture capital investors. We raised the funds at a very difficult time, which confirms the belief of the industry leaders in the urgent need for unifying the industry on one platform. Our goal at this point is to scale our business as quickly as we can. A lot of the funding is going into sales and marketing to accelerate industry adoption – in turn creating value for more companies today. Being one of the most innovative and comprehensive solutions out there – and the first logistics super platform – we are going to continue to further develop functionalities for our product driven by real needs – and expand our strong partnerships. We have already integrated seven functional platforms into ZUUM, and we are going to continue to identify what the market needs and bring it to the market fast.

CEOCFO: What might you offer that your customers do not recognize as important?

Mr. Tabatabai: The movement of freight and goods is a $1.2 trillion market in the US and $8 trillion globally. Some of the solutions we are building are ahead of the game. However, our adoption rate has been positive because we are showing our customers something they have never seen before. It is just about getting the opportunity to show them that it is the real deal.

CEOCFO: What is involved in an implementation?

Mr. Tabatabai: The one thing we did is make our solution a robo-cop model. We do not believe in the philosophy of just automating and walking away. Our differentiation has always been that we believe in the robo-cop idea. The solution is always going to be controlled by the human element to make sure that everything is done above and beyond reproach, even in the early stages of AI development.

In terms of implementation, each of the carriers is different. Their adoption of an application of our software that they use that tracks them, that they have to download, was like something that was a hard thing for them, so how do you address that and make sure that they implement and actually adopt well? When you deliver software, it has to be super easy to use, it has to be user-friendly – similar to what Apple achieved with their solutions and cell phones. Today, ZUUM is easy to use and does not have a learning curve, or a big implementation process.

If you look at the other side, the enterprise solutions are more complicated so we are modular, almost like a tug boat that connects to their big ERP solutions or transportation management systems that they are not going to walk away from. That’s why we connect universally through both EDI and API. Our solution is modular and agile and we can supercharge our clients’ business operations for any implementation they need. Deployment is fast, secure, and does not interrupt operations, as we have the expertise to help out their IT departments to integrate those solutions.

CEOCFO: Why is ZUUM Transportation an important company?

Mr. Tabatabai: ZUUM Transportation is an important company because if you look at logistics today and where we are, especially in this new age of COVID, I think the world has changed. ZUUM is ultimately the piece of the company that is going to bring everybody together under one platform and it is going to create synergies that have never been seen before in the industry. We are bringing everybody together under one umbrella, while defragmenting the logistics industry, and delivering efficiencies to manufacturers, shippers, brokers, and carriers. 

Categories
Carrier News

The Trucking Experience: 8 Ways to Stay Safe on the Road

Indispensable to the economy, truckers are a necessary unit in our society, but their job does not come without risks. With great jobs come great responsibilities, and truck drivers are no different. Statistics show that over the last ten years, accidents involving big rigs have continued to increase. You might think that you’re a great driver, you’re careful on the road, and you’ve got a lot of experience. That may all be true. However, even the most experienced drivers are not exempt from getting into an accident. Unpredictable factors, split-second decisions, and overconfidence sound like a recipe for disaster where there could instead be life-saving cautiousness. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the numbers. 

  • In 2016, 4,213 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes. According to MCMIS, 55,633 large trucks were involved in injury crashes, and 99,911 were involved in towaway crashes (FMCSA)
  • The U.S. suffers the most road crash deaths of any high-income country, about 50% higher than similar countries in Western Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan (ASIRT)
  • The critical precrash event for 73% of the large trucks in fatal crashes was another vehicle, person, animal, or object in the large truck’s lane or encroaching into it. 23% of the large trucks in fatal crashes had critical precrash events of their own movement or loss of control (FMCSA)
  • Collision with a vehicle in transport was the first harmful event (the first event during a crash that resulted in injury or property damage) in 73% of fatal crashes involving large trucks (FMCSA)
  • Road crashes are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people aged 1-54 (ASIRT)
  • Singles (truck tractors pulling a single semi-trailer) accounted for 62% of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2016 (FMCSA)

As you can see, getting into a potentially fatal accident is not that far-fetched of a fear, after all. So what can you do to combat these numbers? Anything you can. Every decision, especially the small ones, are what may eventually build up to a life or death moment for someone on the road. Below are eight ways to keep yourself and others safe. 

1. Wear your seatbelt 

  • It seems obvious, doesn’t it? It’s the first thing we teach children when they climb into a car. However, in 2016, 13 percent (662) of large truck occupants in fatal crashes were not wearing a safety belt, of which 285 (43 percent) were killed in the crash. In contrast, only 307 (8 percent) of the 3,849 large truck occupants wearing safety belts in fatal crashes were killed (FMCSA). Be smart and take care of yourself. It takes only a few seconds to click your seatbelt in, and those few seconds could save your life. 

2. Maintain your truck

  • According to Policyadvice.net, “Tire defects account for around 30% (the most common cause) of all truck-related accidents.” Driving is already a risky endeavour with the long hours and heavy loads drivers have to transport. It is critical that drivers exercise proper maintenance of their vehicles, especially concerning wheels, brakes, and steering wheels. Double check your loads to make sure everything is securely strapped in. Checking up on your vehicle and getting necessary repairs will save you pain and costs down the road in the event of the worst case scenario.

2. Plan your route/GPS

  • Speaking of worst case scenarios, they will become much easier to avoid if you can spend a little time planning your route before beginning the drive. You will likely feel much more comfortable if you have a basic idea of where you are going, and how much time you have to drop off your shipment. Investing in a trucker’s GPS might be the right choice for you if you are willing to make the purchase. They can help alleviate stress by informing you when to change lanes, how far away the exit is, and reporting traffic information.

4. Watch out for weather conditions

  • It takes a couple minutes, but it sure beats going into a snowstorm blind and empty-handed. Being aware of weather conditions in the areas you are headed into is a great asset. It will help you figure out your time management, and what weather or terrain-related equipment you will need to bring with you. 

5. Limit distractions 

  • Not only is it illegal, but being on your phone while driving is a significant risk factor that only increases when you are driving a big rig. “The odds of being involved in a crash, near-crash, or unintentional lane deviation are 23.2 times greater for truck and bus drivers who are texting while driving” (FMCSA). If you need to use your phone for GPS-related reasons or similar, invest in a car mount for your mobile device. Most of them run under $20, and they are incredibly convenient and efficient to use. Limiting distractions also applies to other things, such as eating or drinking. If you have to do something that requires your attention, safely pull over and take care of it. 

6. Leave a cushion in front of your truck

  • This is very important. Truckers know that at the size and speeds they travel, it takes a longer time to slow or stop than many drivers sharing the road with them may realize. Because of this, it is highly recommended that you leave as much room for cushion as possible. In other words, try to leave empty space between your vehicle and the road in front of you. In the event that a car in front of you suddenly hits the brakes, or there is something happening in traffic up ahead, you will need to have plenty of room in order to safely bring your truck to a stop. 

7. Stay slow 

  • It can be frustrating when you’re running late for a load drop-off, and you’re stuck going 55 when everyone around you is going 70+. You may think that you have good enough control of your truck to slightly increase your speed on that ramp, or to merge into that faster lane. Don’t do it. It is absolutely vital for truckers to avoid speeding at all times. The danger outweighs the possible pros of getting to your destination just a little faster. Is it worth getting there twenty minutes earlier, and risking your life for it? The answer should always be no.

8. Take breaks

  • It is common knowledge that for those of us on the road, fatigue is a hovering inconvenience, especially when driving at night. If you’re feeling tired, sleepy, or just unwell overall, the best thing you can do is take a break. Stop your rig and stretch for a few minutes. Eat a hot meal. Give yourself a rest. A tired or inattentive driver is much more likely to make mistakes and endanger themselves or others. Furthermore, it is bad for your health to chronically lose sleep or not eat and rest properly. Truckers work hard to make sure that their families and customers are taken care of. It is important that they do the same for themselves. 

Related sources:

https://www.smart-trucking.com/driving-safety-tips/

https://www.mcaleerlaw.com/trucking-accident-facts-and-statistics.html

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2016

https://www.cdlknowledge.com/truck-accident-statistics/

Categories
Logistics News

Tax Credits & Sustainability in Trucking

As we progress further into the 21st century, it has become more and more significant to us as a society to pay attention to the way we take care of our planet. Generations new and old alike have succeeded in discovering ways for humans to reduce their impact and protect the resources that Earth still provides us. How can we apply this to the world of transportation?

Running in line with the research determined by the Rhodium Group, the results of a study came out roughly a year ago alongside a tax credit extension package being passed through policymakers. The article considers different strategies to be employed by the U.S. to help advance clean energy legislation. For example, if drivers were to exchange their gas-reliant vehicles for their electric counterparts, that change alone would “nearly double the number of electric vehicles on the road through 2025.”

The research states that, “By 2030, wind and solar could supply up to 31% of total US electricity.” The article acknowledges that although the current American political situation likely will not allow for much in the way of “comprehensive climate policy,” small changes are still a very real possibility and may present some opportunities that those in the trucking industry could take advantage of. Some of the proposed target tax edits would be “A credit of up to $7,500 for each new electric vehicle sold (Section 30D),” and, “A suite of tax credits for advanced biofuel producers and blenders (Sections 40, 40A and 6426).”

Shipping sustainably with green trucks

There are some that are hesitant to invest in the difference between electric and gas-powered automobiles, being understandably intimidated by the higher price tags often associated with going green. However, with the reality being that “the transportation sector has been the US’s top-emitting sector since 2016,” it is important to emphasize that “Rapid technology development has already lowered EV prices through steady reductions in battery costs by over 80% since 2010.” If America finds itself interested in becoming a leader in the international community for adopting sustainable practices, the time to start looking closely at these initiatives should be now. Legislation that relaxes policies trying to go green and reducing the costs to do so will prove most effective in providing incentives for companies to help decarbonize the U.S. The article even suggests replacing gasoline with low-carbon substitutes (especially conventional ethanol) to ease the process of transitioning.

Green trucking on a global scale

Looking at it from a global standpoint, the proposed tax credits “could fill up to 25% of the gap between US emissions under current policy and its Paris commitments.” Separate studies conducted by the EEA (European Economic Area show that thanks to their efforts, “[a]verage CO2 emissions of new passenger cars in the EU has fallen steadily over recent years, decreasing by around 30% since 2001.”

“The European Commission’s evaluation study suggests that the CO2 Regulation on cars is likely to have accounted for 65-85 % of the reductions in tailpipe emissions achieved following its introduction.” 

Statistics like these show that other countries have seen the importance of sustainability and are making genuine efforts to reach goals that they are setting in that aim. Paolo Gentiloni, the European Commissioner for Economy, stated earlier this year that, “Taxation will have an essential role to play in delivering on our climate commitments.” On the subject of environmental taxes, Gentiloni believes that they “can encourage more responsible behavior and help offset the costs of the environmental transition.”

Earlier this year in March, Gentiloni and his commission outlined a set of laws that intend to make the entire continent eliminate their net carbon emissions by 2050. While governments are figuring out how quickly they want to join the race to save Earth, it is up to companies to act quickly and make use out of the legislation being pushed forward. By pushing for and accepting tax credits, those in logistics can upgrade their technology at reduced costs through investing in better infrastructure

Related sources:

https://www.axios.com/tax-incentives-carbon-emission-cuts-34286c82-276e-4a6c-bbb2-c9adf039c850.html

https://about.bnef.com/blog/behind-scenes-take-lithium-ion-battery-prices/

https://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/tax-breaks-and-incentives-make

https://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/transport/vehicles-taxation/appropriate-taxes-and-incentives-do

https://ec.europa.eu/clima/sites/clima/files/transport/vehicles/docs/evaluation_ldv_co2_regs_en.pdf

https://www.accountingtoday.com/articles/tax-deployed-as-europes-biggest-weapon-to-halt-climate-change

Categories
Logistics News Shipper News

Sustainability in Supply Chain Management

Sustainability, or “Going Green,” is a hot topic these days, for both consumers and companies. From a logistics standpoint, sustainability will require an emphasis on finding shorter, more optimal routes and greener technologies. It is also important to keep in mind worries that some may have regarding the maintainability of efficiency and lowered costs even while using more sustainable methods. 

Although many have begun incorporating sustainable practices for the planet into their daily lives, such as by recycling plastic bottles or no longer using straws, the most significant carbon footprints are up to large companies and governments to reverse. Jesse Klein from GreenBiz Group noted that Mike Roeth, “executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency and truck operations leader at Rocky Mountain Institute, […] describes trucking’s current transition to more sustainable operations as ‘the messy middle.’”

A greener trucking industry

One suggestion to a greener trucking industry is to have drivers switch to electric vehicles, but this would require a large amount of time and investment in order to make the switch in infrastructure. Even then, during a webcast, “Patrick Browne, director of global sustainability at UPS, emphasized […] that going fully electric isn’t an option for most fleets. “It’s going to be a poly-fuel future,’ Browne said.”

Regardless of the difficulties, some states are marching ahead on orders to help save the planet. This year, California’s Air Resource Board (CARB) passed the Advanced Clean Truck rule, requiring that over half of all trucks sold by 2035 be zero-emission, and that by 2045, all trucks must be zero-emission vehicles. Not all states follow this model, but California is leading the way to a future that we all must eventually trudge toward – like it or not, we are all on the planet together, and how we leave it while we’re here will have direct impacts on its future health for further generations.

With that said, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) holds the trucking sector responsible for over 50% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and over 30% of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.

The importance of sustainability in logistics

“In Britain alone, known NO2 emissions have been estimated to kill 23,500 people every year, according to aerosol science professor Ian Colbeck of the University of Essex, southeastern England. […] In 2012, the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency classified diesel engine exhaust as cancer-causing.” Research has shown that these emissions are physically dangerous for humans to interact with over long periods of time, and that we would be better off curbing the amount of harmful production from our industry. What options do we have towards that goal?

Outside of fuel efficiency, those in the shipping industry can also look at optimizing loads: moving more freight with fewer trips means fewer carbon emissions, less fuel used, and higher levels of customer happiness. Derek J. Sine, Managing Director of Vander Group, writes that, “transportation department statistics show that somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of the available space on loaded trailers is not being utilized,” meaning there is still ample space to utilize this untapped resource. In addition, packaging using alternative methods can create a packaging process that is cheaper, sustainable, and more protective of both the product and environment. Sine also suggests targeting empty miles, as “DOT statistics show that around 20 percent of the truck miles being driven are empty miles during empty backhauls or deadheads.” 

Overall, ZUUM Transportation hopes for a brighter planet than how we have found it, and is happy to contribute to a future that is simultaneously green and efficient.

Related sources:

https://blog.solistica.com/en/sustainable-logistics-a-priority-for-supply-chains

https://hbr.org/2020/03/a-more-sustainable-supply-chain

https://www.greenbiz.com/article/there-are-many-routes-sustainable-trucking-industry-needs-all-them

https://www.greenbiz.com/article/californias-new-truck-rule-its-big-its-bold-its-controversial

https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/ex/sustainablecitiescollective/bringing-sustainability-trucking-industry/1157616/

https://www.supplychain247.com/article/how_trucking_can_improve_fuel_sustainability

https://www.epa.gov/smartway/why-freight-matters-supply-chain-sustainability

https://phys.org/news/2015-09-nox-gases-diesel-car-fumes.html

https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/air-quality-VOCs

https://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/8-sustainable-supply-chain-trends-for-smart-supply-chains/

Categories
Logistics News

Laura & Logistics: A Road to Recovery Ahead

2020 feels like it’s been an impossibly eventful year. From a pandemic and fires to political upheaval, murder hornets, and a hurricane, it continuously seems like nothing else could impact us. However, the US just experienced category 4 Hurricane Laura ravaging the Texas-Louisiana coast. With wind speeds of over 145 mph, CNN describes Laura as, “the most powerful August hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico since Katrina hit 15 years ago.”

This is how the National Hurricane Center describes hurricanes of this magnitude:  

“Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted, and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

CBS News reports that “at least 20 million people are in the storm’s path and over half a million people have been ordered to evacuate.” Although Louisiana and Texas are no stranger to experiencing hurricanes, this is the first time since we began keeping record that a category 4 or 5 hurricane has hit these particular areas. Officials worry that not enough people are taking the hurricane seriously and evacuating as ordered. NPR has published Nic Hunter’s, Mayor of Lake Charles’s statement as follows: 

“I will be brutally honest,” he said, “we are very concerned that not enough people are evacuating.” These are comments following Texan Governor Greg Abbott’s announcement that “the power of Hurricane Laura is unprecedented.” Evacuation poses a problem for the population affected by Laura since the storm surge is already set to cause extreme damage, and any delay in evacuation could see the roads flooding before everyone is able to get out. And once wind speeds reach about 40 mph, driving on the roads becomes unsafe to the point where it would be difficult for even law enforcement to reach you. 

COVID-19 and Hurricane Laura

To add to the complications, COVID-19 still thrives during August 2020, and Hurricane Laura does nothing to give it pause. CNN news sources spoke to relevant officials from Texas and Louisiana, where they shared details on how they are attempting to stem coronavirus related issues and simultaneously keeping as many people as they can safe. This includes securing hotel rooms with limited guests rather than providing the normal shelter housing and having extra buses to transport people while implementing social distancing measures. It also means a pause in testing, during an especially crucial time when schools are reopening. 

The Impact on Freight

As for the impact to logistics, companies began repositioning freight as early as last week in preparation for Laura. One concern is the blow expected to be endured by the energy sector of the US. “[The hurricane] has prompted 82% of oil output and 57% of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico to be shut, according to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.” The lack of production indicates a possible increase in fuel prices as a result of decreased supply, which also happened after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017. This, in turn, has an inevitable impact on fuel and load adjustments.

As written by Freight Waves, “The potential for disruptions to the nation’s fuel and shipping infrastructure is significant, according to Ben Ruddell, director of the FEWSION project at Northern Arizona University. […]

Downed trees and road closures are major concerns along Interstate 10, according to Mark Russo, chief science officer for Riskpulse, an Austin, Texas-based supply chain analytics firm. I-10 runs east-west through Louisiana and Texas. Russo said during a Tuesday webinar briefing by Riskpulse that high winds and flooding could also close some stretches of Interstate 45, which stretches from Dallas to the Gulf Coast.”

It is highly encouraged that anyone who may be affected by Hurricane Laura follow the guidelines provided to them by their local and national officials. Stay safe and tuned in for more relevant information. 

Related Sources:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/26/us/laura-evacuations-covid-19/index.html

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/transportation-logistics-sector-braces-for-hurricane-laura

https://www.ttnews.com/articles/storm-laura-set-slam-us-energy-coast-major-hurricane

https://www.cbsnews.com/live-updates/hurricane-laura-storm-track-path-forecast-today-2020-08-26/

https://www.supplychainquarterly.com/articles/3823-truckload-traffic-jumps-as-shippers-move-freight-away-from-hurricane-laura

https://www.npr.org/2020/08/26/906203511/hurricane-laura-forecast-to-bring-unsurvivable-storm-surge-as-category-4-storm

https://www.npr.org/2020/08/26/906145033/parts-of-texas-including-galveston-brace-for-hurricane-laura