The Supply Chain Matters blog features our September 27, 2019 Edition of This Week in Supply Chain Management Tech, a brief synopsis of noteworthy supply chain management focused technology news which we believe would be of specific interest to our global-based blog readership.
With a pause in our publishing cycle in September, it has been over a month since our last Edition of this column, thus readers can characterize this update as this month in supply chain management focused technology.
Included in this edition are highlights related to noteworthy announcements and/or developments related to:
A.P. Moeller-Maersk and Loadsmart
CNH Industrial Invests and Nikola Corp.
AvidXchange and BankTEL
Pitney Bowes and Syncsort, Inc.
LevaData and Resilinc
C.H. Robinson to Double Investment in Advanced Technology
North America freight broker C.H. Robinson Worldwide announced that the service provider will double its technology spending, in the amount of $1 billion, over the coming five years, in order to fend-off growing competition by online digital based start-ups.
The investment is aimed in expanding hiring of data scientists, engineers and systems developers to expand the provider’s existing technology and develop new services offerings.
In reporting of this move, The Wall Street Journal observed that established transportation and logistics companies including XPO Logistics and J.B. Hunt Transport Services are also investing millions to automate and digitize brokerage services offerings in order to compete with a new infusion of innovative start-ups.
For its part, C.H. Robinson is relying on its current customer strength and years of experience to help move customers toward digitizing freight brokerage. Last year, the company reportedly generated over $16 billion in gross revenues from freight brokerage services, global freight forwarding and other business lines. Prior investments included the 2015 acquisition of Freightquote.com for $365 million. However, the company’s CEO is dismissing speculation that further acquisition of new start-ups will be a part of the new investment efforts, rather the build out and further transformation of existing services.
Deliverr the Beneficiary of $23 Million in Series B Funding
San Francisco based online commerce customer fulfillment technology provider Deliverr, Inc. announced that the company has completed a $23 million Series B funding round. This round was led by Singapore based logistics real-estate firm GLP with participation from venture firm 8VC, which led the $7 million Series A investment round last year.
Founded in 2017, with offices in San Francisco, Chicago and Toronto, this provider orchestrates the online order fulfillment needs for merchants selling their products on either the Amazon.com, Walmart.com, eBAY and Shopifly online shopping platforms, leveraging a network of 16 U.S. wide fulfillment centers. The company’s technology allocates inventory among distribution centers while allowing hosted sellers to tag items with special badges that denote required shipping times and whether items qualify premium programs such as Amazon Prime.
Proceeds of this latest funding are destined for expansion of services along with the addition of added warehousing partners across the company’s network.
Loadsmart the Beneficiary of a $19 Million Investment
The venture capital arm of A.P. Moeller-Maersk has led a $19 million funding round in Loadsmart in order to support a specific service.
Loadsmart serves as an online truckload brokerage platform that leverages algorithms to provide companies with instant rate quotes and match shipments with available carriers. The technology is being directed at reducing container terminal bottlenecks for trucks at specific container terminals. This company’s termed Smart Drayage service currently serves the Ports America terminal in Newark New Jersey. Noted customers include Coca Cola Company, Daimler AG, as well as Kraft-Heinz.
Proceeds of this specific funding are being directed to hire additional data scientists, engineers and product managers in support of this technology provider’s load matching services, along with supporting expansion in other major ports.
Maersk, which is diversifying its services into broader area of logistics and last-mile delivery, leverages Loadsmart’s technology for U.S. customers of the Maersk Transportation division.
CNH Industrial Invests in Nikola Corp.
Dutch based CNH Industrial NV announced a $250 million investment in Class 8 hybrid truck manufacturer Nikola Corp, consisting of $100 million in cash and $150 million of services.
According to reports, Nikola anticipates the raising of $1 billion in an ongoing investment period, with the CNH investment representing 25 percent of that goal.
CNH Industrial fosters the commercial truck brands of IVECO and FPT Industrial, and with the investment, plans to assist with engineering and manufacturing expertise related to Nikola fuel-cell and battery production supporting the Nikola ONE sleeper truck, along with the Nikola TWO and Nikola TRE models. Nikola will contribute fuel-cell development, on-board hydrogen fuel storage and online software update technology expertise.
According to reports, Nikola’s goal is to lease hydrogen fuel semi-trucks for long-haul routes of 500 miles or more, matching the driving range and refueling time of traditional diesel trucks. One customer already signed is beer maker Anheuser-Busch, which is leasing up to 800 Nikola semi-trucks.
The CNH announcement represents the biggest outside investment in Nikola to date, which previously raised upwards of $265 million. Prior Nikola investors include ValueAct Capital, metals manufacturer Worthington Industries and hydrogen fuel technical partner NEL.
AvidXchange to Acquire BankTEL Systems
AvidXchange, a provider of Accounts Payable (AP) and payment automation software for the middle market businesses, has announced an agreement to acquire BankTEL Systems, a provider of accounting software to more than 20 percent of banks across the United States.
Founded in the year 2000, AvidXchange has processed 9.5 million payments across its network of more than 500,00 suppliers. BankTEL has a 27-year history in assisting financial institutions in managing expenses and regulatory compliance.
With this acquisition, AvidXchange aims becomes a dominant provider of invoice-to-payment software supporting midmarket customers in the banking and financial services sector. As an AvidXchange Company, BankTEL will reportedly offer its clients access to the AvidPay Network to complete the AP process with electronic payments, while AvidXchange’s financial services customers will benefit from enhanced accounting offerings through BankTEL’s product suite.
The move represents the fifth acquisition by AvidXchange over the past ten years.
No financial terms or specifics were announced.
Pitney Bowes Sells Software Business
Shipping services provider Pitney Bowes recently announced a definitive agreement for the sale of its software business to Syncsort, Inc. for a reported $700 million.
Pitney Bowes has been in the process of exploring strategic options as a result of overall lower mail volumes among businesses. The company sold hardware and services designed to assist companies mail and ship parcels. The sales of its software business follows the sales of the company’s document messaging technology and a related software business along with a business servicing SMB businesses in six European countries.
According to reports, proceeds of this latest sale are targeted to pay down existing debt scheduled to mature over the next two years.
Syncsort describes itself as a supporter of customer needs in Big Iron to Big Data software. The acquisition is described as Syncsort’s largest ever, bringing to the company location intelligence, data enrichment, customer information management and customer engagement software that is highly complementary to its existing portfolio. The combination builds on, and significantly expands, the breadth of Syncsort’s offerings in data quality software and complements existing Syncsort Trillium products.
The deal is expected to close by the end of 2019.
LevaData and Resilinc Announce Strategic Partnership in the Area of More proactive Supply Chain Risk Management
LevaData, a provider of applied artificial intelligence to transform strategic sourcing and procurement processes, and Resilinc Corporation, a provider of supply chain risk monitoring and mitigation solutions, have announced a global partnership agreement.
The partnership is aimed to help organizations adopt innovative cognitive sourcing capabilities to drive competitive advantage and incremental procurement spend savings opportunities.
According to the announcement, the partnership will involve the integration of Resilinc’s EventWatch® AI risk monitoring and supply chain visibility data with LevaData’s Cognitive Sourcing™ platform to increase the visibility, agility and performance of global manufacturers. Together, the combined approach promises to deliver an all-in-one solution that transforms business sourcing and supply chain functions and ensure business continuity plans of supply at the lowest risk and cost.
This concludes our latest edition of This Week in Supply Chain Management Tech.
An Added Note to Readers– Supply Chain Matters will feature our This Week in Supply Chain Tech highlight series periodically as announcements warrant, which has been frequent of-late.
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