Sami Tähtinen 27.10.2020 7 min read

Tuning the world’s most complex engine

The modern world, as we know it, relies on the reliable and predictable flow of goods worldwide. The global logistics network has grown over the past decades and centuries into an incredibly complex and interconnected network of different participants including BCOs and shippers, freight forwarders, carriers operating on the ground, in air and across the oceans, port and terminal operators, customs and other officials, and many others.

If someone would try to draw a comprehensive diagram of all the participants and interconnections between different bodies in this ultra-complex mesh, the result would be most probably so shocking that we would seriously start to wonder how this all can actually work at all.

The truth is that a network with this level of complexity cannot be working optimally – a fact that is known by all the players in the industry. One of the reasons for the inefficiencies in global logistics is the fact that it works on two different layers – physical and logical. The logical layer is responsible for planning the physical layer activities and ensuring that all the participants share the same view of the goods flow, whereas the physical layer is actually carrying the goods all over the world.

As we know, the logical layer is developing rapidly. There are a lot of various information technology initiatives and new technology players in the arena, providing solutions for automating tasks that have traditionally been manual; developing new standards for easier intercommunications between stakeholders; creating new versions of internal IT systems that are managing individual parts of the process flow; etc. However, adding new or replacing old parts in the global puzzle does not necessarily decrease the complexity but initially increases it.

Due to the overall complexity of the global logistics network, all of us final end-customers utilizing the goods are suffering from potentially too high prices and too slow or sometimes uncertain deliveries. As the overall global logistics engine is highly non-optimal, it is also consuming too many resources varying from manual and extra work that leads to increased prices – but also consuming natural resources much more that would be absolutely necessary.

We think the situation needs to be changed, and we believe we are not alone.

 

How to tune the complex machine?

When you cannot possibly understand all the details of this incredible network, how can you optimize it? I assume we all think we know the answer – doing small optimizations and see how these changes will affect the overall performance. The small initiatives, small optimizations, small improvements here and there may have an effect, meaning that they will stick into the network. If they do not, they will be silently forgotten.

One type of these gradual optimizations is about constantly increasing the interoperability between different business systems taking part in the global logistics operations. As new and upgraded solutions are being taken into use, they need to be able to integrate seamlessly to the overall network to support their individual tasks. Taken the heterogeneity of the solutions in the network – different ages and different ideological and technological approaches – the information exchange is not always straightforward. For instance, the modern API technologies are not always easy to integrate into the prevailing EDI connectivity network used for decades; different data formats and their validation may cause headaches, etc.

For years, we at Youredi have been building integration solutions for challenging customer environments, ensuring that information flows between different applications, systems, different organizations, and different continents are working seamlessly and reliably together. Our usual approach has been to explore the individual challenges together with our customers and building integration solutions to fit customers’ individual needs. We have been working with the world’s largest carriers, freight forwarders, shippers, and other entities, trying to smoothen the internal workings of the worlds’ largest machine wherever we can.

 

Greasing the wheels – Introducing Youredi Rapids

During these years of close co-operation with our customers, we have identified that some patterns are repeating more often than others. These include enhancing partner integration (e.g. in EDI-API scenarios), increasing data quality, utilization of data aggregation patterns, and integrating additional functionalities into existing ERP, TMS, TOS, or other line-of-business systems.

As the overall global logistics network is so unbelievably complex, and as the only way to tune this machine is to do incremental improvements in its different parts, we will be announcing a set of pre-packaged integration services that are providing solutions to these typical problems and are easy and fast to deploy. Just as adding oil into a rattling gearbox, Rapids components possess the ability to make the overall process smoother, less prone to errors, and increase the overall effectiveness of the complex machine.

As the first part of this progress, we have announced Youredi Rapids Beta Program and calling all the organizations in the global logistics industry to participate in the program – to ensure that these new, rapid deployment solutions will solve the tangible customer needs the best possible way, to benefit everyone in the industry – and to fine-tune the machine so that we all will gain benefits from the smoother ride.

Please spend a few moments to familiarize yourself with the Rapids Beta Program and contact us if you think you could utilize the Rapids patterns and gain benefits for participating. Also, if you don’t find the existing patterns suitable for your needs, you can always apply to become a Development Partner, introduce your own patterns, and explore possibilities of creating completely new Rapids solutions.

Let’s tune the world’s most complex engine together!

 

avatar

Sami Tähtinen

Chief Architect, Youredi