Industries roar, but logistics lag behind

Speaking about the new technologies in the logistics and supply chain industry, in a candid discussion with TransREporter, Salah Ibrahim Sharaf, Executive Director, Sharaf Group, explained the major disruptions that the logistics industry can expect in future. 

 

Shipping and logistics was the first business venture of Sharaf Group, initiated in 1975. Could you throw some light on the journey of Sharaf Group?
Yes, you are right. Shipping and logistics was the first business venture of Sharaf Group, initiated in 1975. We represent numerous large liners, bulk carriers, tanker owners and airlines worldwide and we are providing agency services in the entire Gulf, Asia and the African continent. Our main services include providing and managing surface transport from the point of origin, seeking customs and port clearance, and delivering the cargo to the customer’s door.
 

For instance, at Sharaf Cargo, we have a simple philosophy that success is a creation of equilibrium between outstanding service, competitive pricing, strong dedication to detail and outstanding vision of customer’s needs. We stand behind our expertise, our reputation, and our approach to help customers making their transportation decision a simple one.

Our Group is headquartered in Dubai and operates in 40 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Our group companies have created infrastructure and facilities in the UAE, India, China, Tanzania, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt wherein we are providing “One Stop Shop” for all carriers and customers for cargo movements.
 

How does your offering vary from others in the market?
Technology has also played an important role in our organisation, providing customers with a competitive edge. We have laid importance on utilising IT to keep all parties concerned on the same stand and informed of how their business is building at all times. Our customers are supported with a wide range of services such as operational management support for carriers at all ports, feeder services, weather-controlled cargo movement, and much more. We have built potentialities for competent cargo movement by sea, air, rail and road. With the expertise to take on complete management of logistics, warehousing and supply-chain activities, we make sure that our customers can concentrate on their core business.
 

 

we provide you with ideal solutions to develop their reach to every corner they desire. We merge our profound understanding of the customer’s internal & external requirement with our planned approach, providing a one-stop solution to get their brand on the go. Our approach focuses on how we deliver operational excellence to provide feasible, cost-effective technology-enabled solutions to the most challenging logistics & supply chain management questions.
 

Hence, we are staunch to put together and uphold a leadership position in each area of our business and we make sure the success of our customers, business partners, employees and society at large.
 

 

How are you stepping up your digital game this year?
Every single second a cargo is in transit is valuable, and the proverb ‘time is money’ is very true within this sector. In order to proffer the finest quality service to customers, we are exerting more efforts in hiring and training the right people. 
 

In order to deliver to the utmost standards, the hub office at Dubai is well equipped with advanced information technology, modern-day communication tools and operates 24 hours a day. Real time information is furnished to every principal ensuring operational savings and quick turnaround of vessels. With a single focal point of contact, transparent accounting and reporting procedures are all handled with incredible simplicity.
 

 

What major disruptions can the logistics industry expect in the coming time?
Industries roar, but logistics lag behind. The global transportation & logistics industry is confronting remarkable shift in an epoch of unparalleled revolution as new digital technologies, changing customer expectation and collaborative operating models reform the marketplace. The global logistics sector is something of a riddle. When we talk to our clients we see that technology is changing every aspect of how they function and digital fitness will be a prerequisite for success. The succeeders in this race for revolution will be those who best identify and utilise a range of new technologies from data analytics to automation and platform solutions – those who don’t will be the losers and risk obsolescence.
 

I strongly believe that technologies such as real-time data, sensorisation and intelligent autonomous machines, will speed up the transformation of the logistics and supply chain industry.
 

 

How can Big Data revolutionise the logistics and supply chain industry?
Big Data is revolutionising many areas of business, and logistics analytics is one of them. The multifaceted and dynamical nature of logistics, along with the dependence on many touching parts that can create constrictions at any point in the supply chain, make logistics an ideal use case for big data. For instance, big data logistics can be used to optimise routing, to streamline factory functions, and to give precision to the entire supply chain.
 

I would say Big Data has tainted everything from baseball to transportation, putting the power in the hands of those who know how to evaluate and break down metrics. Big Data has been particularly vital in the disruption of the logistics industry, permitting companies to move packages faster and keep customers happy. It’s easy to see just how Big Data and the logistics industry were made for each other. With the augment of Big Data, the logistics industry made the jump to being more of an information-driven vertical.
 

 

Do you think drone technology can provide an option to logistics providers to tackle supply chain problems? How and when will they be utilised?
Undoubtedly, transport drones are quickly becoming a rampant part of the modern logistics industry to delight and dismay. It is likely that drones will pace up and diminish costs connected with traditional supply chains, deliver an extra source of data congregation and furnish added ease since they are not limited to postcodes. From a technology standpoint, the potentialities of drones are ameliorating day by day – advancements in autonomous piloting, ‘sense and aware’ technologies and augmented battery life mean that delivery drones are now very much a potential for the future. Though, a lot of groundwork is still required before drone delivery in everyday supply chains becomes practicable.
 

 

What will be the global logistics marketplace look like in the next five to ten years?
As I said, like most of the other industries, logistics industry is presently facing enormous change; and like all change, this brings both challenges and opportunities. There are many ways in which this industry could develop to meet these challenges, some evolutionary, others more ground-breaking.
 

 

Easy reading is damn hard writing.