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American ShipperAutonomous VehiclesBusinessFreightWaves LIVEFreightWaves LIVE: Events PodcastLast MileLogisticsNewsSupply ChainsTechnologyTruckingVisibility TechWarehouse

Ryder CTO looking for next great technology (with video)

Kendra Phillips says autonomous vehicle technology is something to watch in American Shipper Global Trade Tech chat

Ryder System (NYSE: R) Chief Technology Officer Kendra Phillips cannot lean on information technology that is already in place at the third-party logistics provider. Her job is to find the next IT.

“I get to explore the future in how we leverage technology and how we bring value to our customers,” Phillips told JT Engstrom, FreightWaves’ chief strategy officer, during American Shipper’s Global Trade Tech summit Thursday.

“It’s an exciting place to be and an exciting time to be here,” she added.

Phillips, a 14-year Ryder veteran, was appointed chief technology officer of the 3PL in March 2019. Prior to that she served as Ryder’s director of corporate strategy and group director of Ryder Dedicated.

Despite coronavirus pandemic-caused supply chain disruptions, the company launched its newest IT platform, RyderShare, in May. The system, which uses Turvo’s cloud-based technology, integrates data from multiple transportation and warehouse management systems into a single platform.

“RyderShare is our visibility, collaboration and exception-management platform,” Phillips said. “It enables our customers to react and make decisions very quickly within their supply chain.”

Phillips said it is still difficult for many American shippers to gain a single view of their supply chain due to multiple entities with different IT platforms involved in moving cargo from one point to another.

“You get a very siloed view of a supply chain,” she said. “That’s another barrier that we’re really looking to break down with RyderShare.”

Phillips said much of the freight transportation industry still relies on paper documents, which also limits the overall view of supply chains. However, a positive outcome from COVID-19 has been the acceleration by companies to complete digitization of their business processes, she added.

“Those that did were able to flex their supply chains and handle additional volumes, manage shifts in their supplier base and maintain or improve their customer service [during the pandemic],” Phillips said. “And they could do that because they could see their supply chains.”

She credited the U.S. government’s electronic logging device mandate for accelerating the trucking industry’s next level of supply chain automation. “When every carrier has to be able to be tracked, that’s when you can actually start digitizing the supply chain. Before that you could only do it in pockets and pieces,” Phillips said.

Although RyderShare has been a positive move, Phillips said it is her task to keep the company’s eye on what is coming next in technology and be prepared to implement it. Prior to COVID-19, she spent considerable time in California’s Silicon Valley meeting with technology innovators and running pilot tests.

Phillips said one of the biggest IT focuses at Ryder System is autonomous vehicle technology and how the 3PL might capitalize on it in the future.

“It’s so fascinating because you’re talking five to 10 years from now and not a couple months from now or a year from now,” she said. “You’re really having to think forward to be positioned appropriately when it hits.”

Ultimately, the beneficiaries of Ryder’s IT exploration and development are the shippers, Phillips said.

“As a 3PL, when we figure that out, we can bring that value to our customers and they don’t have to go out and spend all that energy on their own,” she said. “They can depend on us. Let us do the homework, the investigation and piloting, and once that brings value, we can give that to the customer base.”

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Click for more FreightWaves/American Shipper articles by Chris Gillis.

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Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.
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