Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Kuehne + Nagel provides insights into sea freight

Steve Rogerson
March 13, 2018

Swiss logistics company Kuehne + Nagel has launched Sea Explorer, a digital platform that provides comprehensive sea-freight service offerings. It has also formed a technology alliance with Honeywell for connecting its distribution centres.
The platform provides digitally enabled insights into its sea-freight service network, based on reliability, sustainability and transit time.
Sea Explorer offers Kuehne + Nagel’s customers an easy gateway to the company’s overview of direct global sea-freight services. With access to more than 3000 vessels and more than 750 direct weekly services, the network provides flexibility in global container transport for all trades. The offering is based on the high level of integration and partnership with all major carriers.
The platform is an extension of Kuehne + Nagel’s quote, book and track capabilities. It is based on business intelligence derived from different operational data: algorithms built from robust industry expertise are paired with big data and predictive analytics provided by Kuehne + Nagel’s data company LogIndex.
Within Sea Explorer, services are ranked by smart indicators, based on big data technology, including a dynamic reliability indicator, emission score, nominal carrying capacity insights and realistic transit times for every service.
Today about three-quarters of the vessels arrive on-time and volatile reliability in lead times is one of the biggest challenges users face in managing their inventory levels adequately. Through Sea Explorer, they now have the possibility to access comparative insights on service specific elements.
Kuehne + Nagel is committed to the protection of the environment and the preservation of oceans and biodiversity. Therefore the carbon emission rating actively helps users reduce the carbon footprint within the supply chain.
“High levels of data transparency are of utmost importance in logistics,” said Otto Schacht, member of the managing board of Kuehne + Nagel. “Through Sea Explorer our customers will be able to access the world largest portfolio of sea-freight service offerings. Thus they can base their respective decisions not just on transit times parameters but also on sophisticated comparative data such as service reliability and emission rating. We strive to provide the maximum visibility, flexibility and information to our customers throughout the world. Sea Explorer is another important step in our digitalisation approach.”
Sea Explorer is an agile project with further enhancements planned based on collaboration with users.
The alliance with Honeywell is focused on global supply chain productivity, accuracy and efficiency improvements.
"Our goal is to support Kuehne + Nagel in realising their global digital transformation strategy," said Taylor Smith, president of Honeywell's workflow business. "We will partner on new technology designed to help warehouse workers and shippers streamline supply chain operations, gain detailed information about the condition of their shipments and comply with industry regulations."
Kuehne + Nagel will deploy Honeywell's supply chain technology globally at its warehouses, including voice-directed products, cloud-based software and warehouse automation. The two companies also agreed to a strategic alliance to develop and deploy services for Kuehne + Nagel's global customer base.
"In a rapidly changing market, we are using new technologies and digitalisation to continuously improve productivity," said Gianfranco Sgro, member of the managing board of Kuehne + Nagel. “We chose to partner with Honeywell because we share a common understanding of the transformation of the supply chain. The cooperation with Honeywell is a milestone in accelerating our strategic move to a technology-enabled and data-driven value chain provider."
The two companies recently partnered to develop a connected freight service, which combines sensors and a cloud-based platform to provide shippers with real-time information about the location and condition of critical freight in transit. This brings the IoT to freight monitoring, providing users with alerts based on temperature, humidity, pressure, intrusion detection, shock and tilt at the pallet or parcel level.
Kuehne + Nagel has launched the KN ESP platform to let its customers connect, collaborate and manage their physical and digital supply chains from sourcing to delivery on a global level.
The supply chain management platform has a modular architecture to connect international supply chain customers with their vendors, buyers and sellers, Kuehne + Nagel’s physical assets and experts, and their cargo flows. Improvements in supplier reliability and product availability will be enabled through control of the product life cycle, from sourcing, quality control, purchase order negotiation and management, to commercial invoice release, buyer’s consolidation, transportation and delivery.
With predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, KN ESP optimises orders and prioritises transportation decisions based on a set of user defined business rules, cost and service options.
With recently inaugurated innovation centres in Utrecht, Netherlands, and Singapore, Kuehne + Nagel is partnering with customers to accelerate the development and adoption of new technologies and advanced supply chain services.
The centre in Utrecht will primarily focus on automation and innovative picking technologies. Kuehne + Nagel is among the first logistics providers to deploy collaborative robots in operations in line with a partnership with Universal Robots. The Singapore centre will research and deploy technology for connected warehouses, with a focus on data analytics and the IoT.
Both centres hold partnerships with universities, start-ups and organisations to develop innovative supply chain services. The centres are open to customers who will get a vivid impression of how technologies will impact their supply chains. The innovation centres will also serve as a sandbox to test and rapidly rollout new technologies.