Logistics solutions have long had logic for both improving a shipper’s transportation capabilities and for doing commerce. For example, a transportation management system (TMS) optimizes routing, but also allows shippers to tender out to carriers in the route guide and then insure the amount paid to the carriers is accurate. In recent years, TMS solutions have allowed shippers to connect to load boards and find a new carrier for a route if the existing carriers in the route guide don’t accept a tender quickly enough.
Some providers of routing solutions also offer fleet asset management. These solutions can use telematics to detect when transportation assets either need service or will soon need service. The solutions have logic to help with ordering the correct parts and scheduling time in local repair yards. Routing solutions can also have logic that suggests when and where trucks should refuel to reduce their fuel bills.
Commerce Capabilities of Logistics Solutions are Increasing
But with IoT, the commerce capabilities of newer platforms are expanding. At SAP’s Leonardo Live conference in July, Kenny Hawk, the CEO of a young company called Mojio gave a presentation. Mojio is a fast-growing platform for connected vehicles. The platform is mainly for cars, but there are also truck fleets – not big rigs, but vans and trucks associated with last mile deliveries or service calls – that are connected.
While new cars come with ports you can plug your smart phone into and get GPS directions, 80% of the 1.2 billion passenger vehicles are still not connected. With Mojio, a customer that owns one of these older cars can plug a device into the OBD port of a car and generate a WIFI connection that can allow a smartphone to get GPS mapping, car diagnostics, and information on how safely drivers are operating their machines.
They are partnered with T-Mobile USA. For $10 a month, customers can get GPS and telematics services. Mojio launched last November, but they already have over 300,000 subscribers.
The commerce capabilities include enabling drivers to plan and reserve a parking spot based on calendar events or search, as well as to find and pay for a spot in real time based on the connected vehicle’s location. And Mojio is envisioning using their solution for fueling services, allowing “safe” drivers to get email offers for purchasing insurance more cheaply, or getting email offers from local repair shops to rotate tires or provide other maintenance services when a car’s mileage indicates these services should be performed.
The platform does not include personal information. If Michelin, for example, wanted to send an offer on buying new tires based on how far the car has traveled on the old tires, they would not know the name of the driver. Michelin would have a vehicle identification number, they would know the model and age of the vehicle, they would potentially have data on how far the vehicle has traveled on the old tires, and would know the location of the driver so they could promote the closest store to the driver selling their tires.
These commerce capabilities are based on SAP’s Vehicles Network solution. This Cloud-based IoT solution is a B2B marketplace for connected car apps and services. Powered by SAP HANA Cloud, this is a worldwide network that connects buyers, such as fleet owners, with sellers, such as gas stations and parking chains. All members have access to unified APIs, inventory visibility, and process governance – and drivers have an easy way to connect to the services they routinely need.
In a B2B marketplace, potential customers will be more selective about what kinds of offers they want to receive. Unlike car drivers, shippers may perceive messages that the tires on one of their trucks need servicing as a junk email. But there are scenarios that could make sense. Mr. Hawk stated that one in six truck drivers get robbed. The problem is that with Hours of Service drivers must stop and rest after a certain number of hours driving, but that rest areas are often full at night. So, drivers pull off the highway and over to the side of the road where they become vulnerable. “What if industrial parks were opened at night?” The drivers could use the platform to reserve and pay for a slot. When they’ve paid, they would get the access code that would get them into the park. In the longer term, this kind of platform might also help to improve backhaul opportunities for carriers, although shippers would need a way to vet the carriers.
As opposed to traditional logistics solutions, where the intelligence and commerce is instigated and controlled by the shipper, these new marketplace platforms allow for bidirectional commerce. Outside solution providers can send pertinent offers to the appropriate vehicle owners. But in B2B, what constitutes a “pertinent” offer must be carefully curated by the platform.