Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

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Flexport – moving beyond freight forwarding?

This article looking at Flexport now appeared recently under Cathy Morrow Roberson’s byline in The Loadstar.  We enjoy hearing about what Flexport is doing now.  But the idea that they are changing direction to become more like a 4PL is not the point. That’s where they were always going!!  The press and financial folks may have perceived them as a technology play.  But all along Ryan Petersen has intended to create a firm that actually helps customers manage their supply chains, by giving them visibility, a certain amount of in-depth analysis, and good service assistance in dealing among supply chain partners, temporary or permanent.  I don’t think the vision has changed; just the world’s view of it.

  via The Morrow-Roberson road test: Flexport – moving beyond freight forwarding  – The Loadstar

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Online port community system ‘game-changer’ for India’s shipping industry

, has written an interesting piece about a new port communication and collaboration system that is revolutionizing how Indian p[orts operate. It’s called PC51x, and it connects port users via secure messaging to exchange paperwork, financial info, and other messages.  In trials, it reduced cost and time for interaction drastically.

And it did NOT involve blockchain. In fact, it uses only technology developed years ago and tested severely by those years of practice.  It seems that for the user it operates like one of those doctor portals we have all become accustomed to in the US; annoying, but much faster and less annoying than waiting for her to call back (!@?^%$#!).  And capable of much faster integration if those communicating have a desire to make it better and faster.

They have announced a portal type interface.  This type of function is like what we used to call ‘middleware’, connecting systems with different data specifications and requirements, and letting them work out how to use the data.  It makes a lot of sense to me.

I think any port could copy this with a little hard nose bargaining with those it collaborates with.   Getting truckers on board might be more difficult without a good look at the systems they use every day.   But for many others it makes sense.

But should the port be the driver?  I think there is potential for 3PLs to usurp the role for their cargoes.  Then we’d have to link in their systems. Hard, but not impractical, and easier than forcing all their shippers to use the port’s message portal.  Everyone would benefit.  And more players such as banks and customs could participate as well.  Better that this should be driven by a lot of smaller players (if ports can be thought of as smaller) than by a national or global standards initiative, especially one from a single source.  Let it evolve, I say.

logo  via Online port community system a ‘game-changer’ for India’s shipping industry – The Loadstar

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The Dawn of the Deep Tech Ecosystem

This Boston Consulting Group report by  Massimo PortincasoArnaud de la Tour, and Philippe Soussan,  discusses seven categories of so-called deep-tech areas of research that are likely to yield new disruptions for businesses of all types.   They believe that deep-tech industries are no longer dominated by larger companies doing incremental research, but ratherby small, nimble enterpreneurial firms finding and developing solutions for novel use cases.

They claim we are moving into a phase in which truly new types of infrastructure for business uses is emerging.  And the development of these new uses requires a whole ecosystem–  a band of cooperating players, including technicians, investors large and small, and firms who have use cases–  rather than simply a firm, some financing, and a product.   This differs from the ‘maker’ approach to innovation, which believes we can just set people working with some simple tools, and they will come up with the products the world needs.

I support this ecosystem approach, not the more limited one. As an example I call your attention to NYMIC, the New York Maritime Innovation Center, started by my colleague Dr Chris Clott of SUNY Maritime.  It fits exactly into the role of helping create a good ecosystem for innovation in the maritime field, one which greatly needs stimulants to produce service improvements.  Its motto is “Convene, Connect, Catalyze”, which exactly expresses what BCG’s discussion here is saying.

BCG has a full report entitled The Dawn of the Deep Tech Ecosystem.  Much can be learned by studying how it is evolving in the different deep tech areas they believe are a part of it. Link to PDF.

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via The Dawn of the Deep Tech Ecosystem