Charley Dehoney, vice president of Zebox, discusses workflow automation, document digitization, transportation optimization, visibility, decarbonization of assets and infrastructure, and the future of work.
Despite the migration to technology platforms, many systems still don’t talk to one another, Dehoney says. “There still is paperwork being passed back and forth, and humans plugging data into systems. So one of the key trends we're focused on is document digitization and workflow automation. We're trying to find new ways to move data from one system to another without humans in the mix.”
Dehoney sees ocean cargo tracking as fairly mature, but there's a “little bit of a black hole” in visibility at the port, at rail terminals and on trains. “There's certainly an opportunity to shine light into those areas and provide more visibility there,” he says. He believes the warehouse and what he calls “the most important” mile — the final mile — aren’t as transparent as they could be.
Transportation optimization is about shipping product, not air, regardless of mode. Dehoney believes there are many opportunities to reduce empty miles. He acknowledges there is a lot of innovation in that area, but much more needs to be done to improve shippers’ and carriers’ carbon footprints and boost sustainability in the supply chain.
The future of work in supply chain and logistics follows the nature of work in the industry: many people don’t sit at computers all day. “If somebody's not at a desk, how do you communicate with that person?” Dehoney asks. “It's much different than just sending somebody an e-mail. So the future of work in our industry is really around communication.”
Three other factors come into play: the need for greater safety measures, worker retention and automation all will mean fewer employees in the next five years or so.
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