Part of the problem with having fragmentation and opacity in supply chains is the existence of a constant mismatch between available capacity and volume. Not knowing when freight is moved or its real-time position in the supply chain can cause warehouses to waste capacity and trucks to run deadhead miles. It can also cause shippers to lose out on capacity due to tedious and time-consuming negotiations.
OLIMP, a Chicago-based logistics startup, believes on-demand logistics services would help bridge the paradoxical supply-demand disconnect. OLIMP has unveiled an online service that clients can use to access daily warehousing, cross-docking and last-mile delivery services on-demand. The online service has been in the open beta-testing phase since March 1. The startup uses artificial intelligence to assist in the connection process and to forecast demand.
“OLIMP is a platform to search and book daily on-demand warehousing needs, last-mile transportation and cross-docking service, all with just a few clicks,” said Vlad Gasnikov, founder and CEO of OLIMP. “OLIMP is short for Organization Logistics Improvement for Mutual Performance. We are the Airbnb of warehousing and logistics, trying to assist clients for their on-demand, short-term supply chain needs.”
Gasnikov explained that his struggles with the inability to secure on-demand logistics services in his formative years of running a trucking business led him to found OLIMP. “If I own a warehouse, I may see it partially empty several times during a week. But the problem is that I would still be paying the same rent for the space and pay the same utility expenses – even when the warehouse is not full,” he said. “Unlike now, we did not have an online platform for me to choose warehouse space on an on-demand basis.”
Gasnikov mentioned that official government statistics show that up to 40 percent of warehousing space can sit idle during certain times in a year. This is due to different reasons – seasonal business, volume increases not matching capacity growth, or even delay in cargo arrival due to trade regulation issues.
“Now, if you are a warehouse owner, and you have space for 10 pallets, you can open our platform, post your available capacity and we will connect you to people who have volume,” said Gasnikov. “As a shipper, you can select the type of service you need – warehousing or last-mile delivery – and you get a list of warehouses or carriers that match your specifications. The list is filtered based on the pricing and their rating on OLIMP.”
The feedback regarding the platform has been positive. Gasnikov mentioned that the suggestion that OLIMP commonly gets from users is to make the interface simpler, so that warehouse managers and carriers can navigate the platform without trouble.
Gasnikov asserted that OLIMP’s business model will disrupt the way empty capacity is viewed in warehouses. The market is enormous; the U.S. currently has 300,000 warehouses, covering 13 billion square feet of storage. OLIMP is busy adding shippers and warehouses to its platform. Gasnikov said that the startup was looking to partner with 4,400 warehouses and shippers on the on-demand service platform, and expects to reach $40 million in monthly gross by the end of 2021.
“We now have 22 customers and have 400 trucks enrolled on the platform. We derive a five percent fee from each transaction that goes through the OLIMP platform,” said Gasnikov. “We are looking to raise $2 million in this seed round, which would be used for product development and to expand our network of partner warehouses nationwide.”