Rob Grimes: Hello this is Rob Grimes with the IFBTA and I’m very pleased today to be with John Burke, the CEO of Armada. So welcome John.
John Burke: Thank you, Rob.
RG: So, I would guess that since you work with so many different sides of the industry, that you probably have your finger on the pulse of the trends to come. What are the trends that you see and the trends that you follow?
JB: Well, I think that something that’s been part and parcel to our service and to our offerings has been the need for supply chain visibility at a very granular level across very large supply chain. And we worked very hard with our clients and our stakeholders and all the supply chains to develop centralized databases is where visibility of demand information, supply information, you name it, every part and parcel of supply chain needs to be readily available – Not just for our organization but for all organizations that participate in a given supply chain. Supply chain visibility has been something to me that has been the crux of engaging or allowing, if you will, the next level analysis to be made. And so once the data is in place and once the data is reliable and accurate, things like predictive analytics become much more easy to execute. Things like various supply plans. So there’s a variety of things that spawn from having a good sound supply chain visibility tool.
RG: John, clearly you have a technology base and a technology solution here. Technology… innovation, they sort of come together. So where do you see your technology going? And what do you see in the industry that creates the innovation that takes us to the next step in supply chain?
JB: I think, in a very broad sense, these are uniquely very exciting times in the industry because there are so many innovations in so many different areas of the industry. I think companies have to embrace all of the things going on around us of course we can’t pick up a newspaper from day to day and not see some new application of robotics or drones or you name it, it’s just a fascinating time to be in the logistics industry. So for me, it’s more about having a culture where innovation is embraced by all of the folks in the organization. So we are trying to embrace the things that are going on and, more importantly, when we look at developments we see in the industry, we’re doing our best to find ways to apply them to our world into our clients about where we see it going. It may not be a tomorrow thing, it may be a next year thing or five-year thing. But being a part of innovation is really important to the long-term partnerships that we have with our clients.
RG: Are you as a company involved in the testing and bringing forward of certain types of innovation? I mean, I went to the Consumer Electronics Show this year and, of course putting aside drones, driver less automobiles which as I understand it – I believe Uber was doing a test in Pittsburgh where you are at – but also they have trucks on the road in California or in Oregon that are doing delivery that way. So how does that fit with either what you track or are you actually involved in working with people that are developing those technologies?
JB: So our folks have reached out to many of those folks as they develop technology we are looking at it from the perspective of how is this going to be deployed in the large scale? So, you’re right, when you think about having seen a driverless car driving in downtown Pittsburgh about a month ago, it’s a stunning thing to see when you see one for the first time. But obviously, we’re looking at how is the supply chain going to operate with large scale robotics? What types of technology platforms will it run? What efficiency opportunities will there be because of the large scale deployment? So we are engaging with those folks as they test – so many of the tests are not at a large scale yet, but we want to be ready for all of the technologies as they evolve and deploy and we find ways to deploy them into large supply chains.
RG: Well, when I always find interesting is the application of consumer technologies that we can then bring back on a cost-effective basis. A good example would be something like sous vide cooking which most consumers probably never heard of. You go to the Consumer Electronics Show and they’re showing home sous vide and now you go to Starbucks and all of a sudden, in the last month and a half, they’re doing sous vide cooking in Starbucks which of course, has a whole supply chain piece to it and commissary piece to it in order to be able to implement and deploy that.
JB: Even if you think of it as simply as a day doesn’t go by when there isn’t an ah-ha moment about a new app that provides some value to your life. It’s an exciting time, it’s a time to embrace innovation, and find the best way is to use technology to solve issues and solve problems and create more efficient supply chains for your clients.
RG: Well listen, it’s been great to have you today and we really appreciate – the IFBTA appreciates the industry partner support of Armada and yourself. I think that going down the path, there will be a lot of opportunities for members and not only to take advantage of you as a partner, but also the education and information that you bring to the table to help operate better, more efficiently, and safely for their customers.
JB: Well thanks, Rob. We are looking forward to participating.
RG: Great, thank you for joining us today. Rob Grimes with the IFBTA and here with John Burke, the CEO of Armada.