Global supply chain operator Geodis, has floated a new digital marketplace called Upply, which looks to reset the fundamentals of the supply chain market, by assisting every stakeholder in the market to overcome uncertainties and to navigate volatility. Named “Smart”, the initial set of features on the platform provide instant freight quotes, which the company has indicated will “enable professionals make pivotal decisions instantly.”
“Upply has the vision of a world where the supply chain is made simple and free for everyone, and to let them exchange what they want, when they want, and the way they want,” said Boris Pernet, CEO of Upply.
Pernet explained that Upply was targeting the inefficiencies in the system, pointing out two specific instances where the market situations contradict itself. The first one dealt with the freight industry’s “lack of capacity” rhetoric, when on the flip side, it regularly witnesses nearly 20% of all its miles being done as deadheads.
The other situation Pernet highlighted was in the sea freight market, where 25% of the bookings are being canceled at the last minute. However what is fascinating is that the same vessels also end up with nearly 25% overbooking. “Either we have no shows, or we have overbooking. This is why we want to reset the fundamentals,” he said.
Upply’s initial response to solving this was to examine the asymmetry of information between offer and demand. It now provides a service that automates real-time benchmark on all forms of transport – including air, sea, and road freight – mainly in the U.S. and Europe, which Pernet considers being unprecedented in the industry.
“Today, our algorithms can manage the benchmark up to 100,000 lanes in less than 15 minutes. The promise is that we really have a benchmark that is the first in the industry,” he said.
To explain market inefficiencies, Pernet drew parallels with the retail world, mentioning that the freight industry has struggled to provide the same seamless experience that end users have when they are shopping retail or running through ecommerce websites. “You go on the web for two primary reasons. The first one is when you are looking for information on products or services, which you can find within Upply. The second is when you are looking for the price of a service or product. This is something that Upply is framing right now,” he said.
To bring this to fruition, Upply has dug deep on its data sources. Pernet mentioned that the company pulled data from three different sources. One was from its parent company Geodis, that sits on over 40 million rate data points across all modes of transport, which it has aggregated over the last 4-5 years. Upply has used these rates to build its intelligent algorithms that run on machine learning, thereby creating a system that adapts continuously to real-time market rate changes.
“The second source is transactional, which comes from platforms like Geodis and other platform partners that are willing to test and build Upply with us,” said Pernet. “The final source would be the users. People come with their data, and we give them access to our 40 million rate database.”
The feedback to the platform has been gratifying, added Pernet, as in the first week of launch, Upply has attracted 5,000 connections into the platform. “The good thing is that the people are staying for around four minutes into the website and go through multiple pages. After one week, we reached around 70,000 page reads on Upply,” he said.
Though Upply has managed to provide real-time know-hows on the rates, Pernet contended that the next step for the company would be to predict rates into the future. “We have been building a forecast over the last two years, spending a lot of time to make them very accurate. We are going to release that in a couple of weeks, and that will really disrupt the industry, because there you will see the evolution of rates.”