Whether you’ve been waiting endlessly for a part to repair your car or stocking up on extra sriracha, you are likely aware of the supply chain problems plaguing everyone the world over.
And if your business is involved in buying or selling products, you’ll be glad to learn about Shippeo’s Predictive and Real-Time Visibility Platform, a fantastic offering on SAP Store.
Speeding Up Digitalization in B2B Transportation Management
To get on board, I spoke with Lucien Besse, COO of Shippeo, which he co-founded with a group of ex-colleagues and friends in 2015. At the time, he and CEO Pierre Khoury were colleagues at a private equity firm where Besse led the restructuring of companies in the transportation industry. They recognized that the enormous complexity of transportation networks made it extremely difficult for shippers and receivers of goods to get real-time information about shipments in transit. And while digitalization was well underway in the business-to-consumer market, where consumer expectations for real-time shipping info are high, the business-to-business market lagged far behind.
“There are so many different parties and stakeholders involved – thousands of shippers, independent carriers, freight forwarders, logistics service providers, and intermediaries in between,” he told me. “In Europe, there are more than 600,000 trucking companies alone. A crucial shipment might be sitting in a warehouse waiting for a truck to pick it up, but the status was like a black box.”
With a solid business plan and a clear path to developing a solution, Shippeo attracted investors and launched its first product, a mobile app for truck drivers, before evolving into a multimodal visibility platform.
Looking Down the Road
The vision was much broader: to build a platform aggregating data from all those transportation players, all using different systems, to provide access to the same information for real-time visibility. Toward that end, one of Shippeo’s first steps was to approach SAP.
“We wanted to get as close as possible to SAP,” Besse said. “It was critical for us to have SAP as a partner, simply because SAP is so big in the transportation space.”
SAP invited Shippeo to join the SAP.iO Foundry program in Paris, which provided the opportunity not only to incubate the product, but to align the companies’ visions for solutions in the supply chain landscape.
Shippeo is now a global leader and a European specialist in real-time transportation visibility, tracking more than 28 million shipments in 75 countries, and integrating with more than 900 types of data connections. With API integration to SAP Business Network for Logistics and global track-and-trace functionality, the Shippeo platform enables trading partners to collaborate. Users gain a global view of their supply chain and access to carrier information – including road, ocean, rail, and air.
“It enables them to connect planning information with the status on the ground and compare theory to reality,” Besse explained. The platform is deeply integrated in transportation management systems and uses GPS technology and a proprietary algorithm for accuracy in estimated time of arrival. That’s how customers can use the Shippeo solution predictively to anticipate issues and take action.
“For example,” he continued, “a production line might be completely disrupted by a one- or two-hour delay. With an alert ahead of time, plans can be adjusted to reduce or eliminate the downtime.” It also helps customers reduce their carbon footprint with key information for route planning, which is at the top of the CEO agenda and a key element of Shippeo’s future vision.
For that reason and many others, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. The UK departure from trade agreements with the EU held up countless shipments at customs, with truckers fuming and shippers and receivers desperate for information. Remember the container ship stuck in the Suez Canal? I could go on, but the Shippeo plaform helps alleviate some of these problems.
Driving a Strong Collaboration with SAP
It is not surprising that Shippeo’s Predictive and Real-Time Visibility Platform is doing very well on SAP Store, as it recently earned the coveted Spotlight status and is in the top five percent by performance. That fact is also explained by the philosophy of Besse and his partners, who are longtime friends themselves.
“To be a good partner, you have to reciprocate,” he remarked. “We make sure to build relationships with all the SAP reps when we enter a new market, and to inform them about mutual opportunities.”
Sounds like a road map for success. Why not take a trip yourself to SAP Store?
Rajiv Nema is senior director of SAP Store Partner Solutions at SAP.