From robotics and warehouse automation to procurement and enterprise resource (ERP) software, warehouse management systems (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS) and supply chain visibility solutions, the supply chain software and technology sector continues to boom. These solutions (and many more) are designed to streamline, optimize and innovate the supply chain and logistics space, and do so by incorporating emerging technologies and a path to efficiency.
What’s more is, revenue in the supply chain management software market is projected to reach $19.25 billion in 2023, according to Statista.
That’s why, this year’s Top Software & Tech award, traditionally exclusive to just the Food Logistics audience, opened up to the Supply & Demand Chain Executive audience as well to better spotlight new-to-market software and technology solutions designed to provide automation, efficiency and visibility to the supply chain space.
NEW THIS YEAR: This award is now broken down into two main categories (Small Business <$50 million and Enterprise >$49 million) and then five sub-categories within each main category: Procurement/ERP Software, Robotics; Supply Chain Visibility Solutions; Warehouse Automation; and WMS/TMS Software, with one overall winner from each category.
Of the 123 total submissions, close to 58% pertained to supply chain visibility solutions, followed by WMS/TMS software, warehouse automation and procurement/ERP software at 18% each, and robotics at just 9% of the submissions.
Fifty-eight percent of the entries came from small businesses, under $50 million, and 56% of the nominations focused on new-to-market solutions, with 44% focused on an enhancement to an already existing technology.
The new software/technology solution must have been introduced or gone through a major update between September 2022 to September 2023, and winning submissions were based on the ability to outline in detail the specifics of the software and/or technology solution in the nomination form, including details about its benefits to the supply chain industry, its innovative advantage over the competition, any ESG functionality, etc.
The overall supply chain software and technology sector continues to grow, boosting e-commerce, optimization, ESG compliance, worker safety and more.
CLICK HERE to learn more about all of our winners.
Below are the five overall winners.
Name of Solution/Technology: EVAN (Electric Vehicle Analytic Navigator)
Product Description: Fleet Advantage unveiled EVAN (Electric Vehicle Analytic Navigator), a new EV Life Cycle Cost Analysis Tool within its TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) Tech Stack that powers advanced analytics and business intelligence. Designed to help U.S. corporate transportation fleets leverage data technology, asset management and flexible financing, EVAN acts upon vehicle obsolescence while sustainably driving down operational costs and increasing profit levels. EVAN helps companies cross the “bridge” in determining the right timing for adopting alternate fuel technology, and when to rely on data-driven insights to make accurate apples-to-apples comparisons for sound decision making. EVAN compares diesel vs. electric Class 8 vehicle TCO, with modeling that evaluates fuel and mileage data vs. kWh comparisons from the first year through a six-year life cycle. EVAN takes into consideration various inputs such as equipment cost, charging, cost of energy, cost of diesel, grants, tires, depreciation, etc., and converts them into a cost-per-mile (CPM) datapoint to determine the total cost of operating an electric vehicle over its lifetime. Because every fleet is different, EVAN technology is designed to be agnostic to the fleet’s operations and help fleets make the right decision based on their needs. For example, Fleet Advantage’s latest Truck Life Cycle Data Index cost comparison analysis, calculating the cost savings associated with replacing older-model units with the latest truck equipment, shows that fleets can realize a first-year per-truck savings of $15,386 when upgrading from a 2019 daycab model-year truck to a 2024 model. When comparing the same-day cab to an EV tractor utilizing EVAN, even when absorbing all grants available, the diesel tractor in this scenario proves to be more cost effective.
In Fleet Advantage’s analytic testing of EVAN, the company compared a diesel truck with a BEV truck and looked at life-cycle cost comparisons in Hawaii and Florida. It is important for EVAN to make comparisons based on specific geographic region and/or different states because of the varying cost elements, such as electricity grants and cost of fuel and electricity, for example. Based on geographic-specific data, fleet and supply chain executives may decide it is the right time to make this transition or decide to maintain their current procurement strategy based on clean diesel technology. In the case of the Hawaii comparison, when taking into account any electric grants, finance costs, forecasted maintenance costs, and expected fuel vs. electricity expenses based on locally calculated data inputs, EVAN was able to determine that a grocery distribution fleet would save approximately $238,528 per unit on a three-year operating lifecycle for a 2024 model-year diesel truck. Projecting a fleet of 100 trucks, these cost savings would exceed $27 million over the three-year life cycle. In the case of the Florida location comparison, when taking into account any electric grants, finance costs, forecasted maintenance costs, and expected fuel vs. electricity expenses based on locally calculated data inputs, EVAN determined that a foodservice fleet in Florida would save approximately $43,609 per unit on a six-year operating lifecycle for a 2024 model-year diesel truck. Projecting a fleet of 100 trucks, these cost savings would exceed $4 million over the six-year life cycle.
Name of Solution/Technology: Digit 4.0
Product Description: In March, Agility Robotics unveiled the next generation of Digit, the first human-centric, multi-purpose robot made for logistics work. Digit is designed from the ground up to go where people go and do useful work safely in spaces designed for people, starting with bulk material handling within warehouses and distribution centers. Digit is multi-purpose -- it can execute a variety of tasks and adapt to many different workflows. A fleet of Digits will be able to switch between applications depending on current warehouse needs and seasonal shifts. Digit is human-centric; it is the size and shape of a human and is built to work in spaces designed for people. As a result, Digit is easy to deploy into existing warehouse operations and as-built infrastructure without retrofitting. Digit incorporates decades of research, development, and scientific breakthroughs in dynamic mobility and manipulation from Agility’s team, allowing it to navigate obstacles with ease and walk on uneven surfaces in different human environments, all while handling and moving objects. Because of Digit’s design and mechanics, it can reach high and low, and assume a crouching position all with dynamic stability that comes with a legged robot. Digit becomes a connective piece to all these islands of automation and is designed to work in the world already designed for humans.
SUPPLY CHAIN VISIBILITY SOLUTIONS
TransmetriQ powered by Railinc
Name of Solution/Technology: Reporting & Analytics
Product Description: TransmetriQ, a Railinc brand, developed Reporting & Analytics, a new comprehensive railcar fleet reporting tool that synthesizes asset location, health, and repair data to provide deeper fleet insights. Reporting & Analytics provides a new visibility tool for shippers of food and other high-volume products and commodities who manage owned or leased fleets of rail equipment. Keeping these fleets in service—rather than sidelined at remote repair facilities—is critical to their safe, efficient, and sustainable supply chain operations. The tool was developed through careful research with railcar fleet managers, which revealed a need to more closely monitor equipment and control repair and maintenance costs. With customizable, interactive dashboards and configurable alerts, Reporting & Analytics aids fleet managers in recognizing optimization opportunities and areas of concern. Shippers and car owners can customize the data viewed in Reporting & Analytics based on their needs, choosing to view tracing reports, health, and/or repair insights. The data provides user-friendly insights so that interested parties can more easily access information related to where repair dollars are being spent, what is driving the spending, and where repairs are occurring. Information can also be used to drive performance improvements and identify problem areas such as frequent failures of specific components. It provides critical information such as fleet health reporting, component performance analytics, remaining wheelset life, cycle and dwell times, equipment characteristics and other key car insights. Reports & Analytics also provides out-of-the-box reports and fully customized reporting capabilities.
TransmetriQ worked with customers to identify unusual spending patterns and the repairs that were causing them. Leveraging the best visibility into component life across the North American fleet and using AI and advanced data science, Reporting & Analytics enables shipper owners and leasors of railcar fleets to maximize equipment mileage, minimize maintenance interruptions, reduce maintenance spend and keep cars in service.
Name of Solution/Technology: X5
Product Description: Packsize’s X5 solution is said to be the world’s first fully-automated erected box system and the most advanced, flexible, efficient and sustainable platform available for the e-commerce industry. The X5 solution produces ready-to-pack, right-sized erected boxes at industry-leading speed. This packaging solution cuts, creases, glues, erects, and labels ready-to-pack, right-sized boxes for automated output onto a conveyor, cart or packstation, streamlining and enhancing packaging production through lean manufacturing. The X5 can also meet high-volume demand for regular slotted container-style boxes, ideal for e-commerce and manufacturing businesses, producing up to 600 ready-to-pack, custom erected boxes per hour, sometimes handling between 2,500-3,000 orders a day.
The X5 also reduces packaging waste caused by oversized boxes, negates void filler like plastic air pillows, reduces shipping emissions, and improves the end-consumer's overall experience. By right-sizing boxes, companies can minimize their costs and environmental impact associated with over-sized and necessary corrugated cardboard, fitting 66% more boxes on freight and delivery carriers. The X5 also streamlines packaging processes and workflows, and incorporates eight automation features, holding a 99% average machine uptime. With Packsize right-sized packaging, retailers have eliminated empty space in their shipments, taken 23 million unnecessary truckloads off roads, saved nearly 2 million gallons of diesel, and eliminated over 17 billion kilograms of carbon emissions. For every 1 million square feet of corrugated cardboard used, Packsize customers typically save 40% box size reduction 60% less void fill used 26% reduction of corrugated usage 25 tons CO2 reduced globally.
Name of Solution/Technology: drayOS Automated Terminal Appointments
Product Description: In early 2023, PortPro introduced a major update to the drayOS platform with dray OS Appointment Setting, an automated appointment-setting function for ports with terminals running on different systems. drayOS Automated Terminal Appointments eliminates the need for carriers to log into different websites to secure an appointment, as it connects all sites and booking capabilities into one portal. Available in New Jersey-New York, Seattle-Tacoma, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Norfolk, Charleston, Miami, Mobile, and Oakland ports, Automated Terminal Appointments also allows drivers to be connected to many of the major ports and auto book an appointment. Enhancements include container tracking, document management, empty return information, per diem tracking, export container tracking and appointment setting.
drayOS Automated Terminal Appointments also offers unprecedented visibility so carriers can see exactly where each load is with accurate time delivery projections. Automated Terminal Appointments integrates appointment booking directly within a transportation management system (TMS) to save both time and effort. Automated booking features also lead to a reduction in operational costs and elevate customer experience through timely deliveries and reduced delays.
CLICK HERE to learn more about all of our winners.
Here are a couple of additional standouts:
ECI Software Solutions
Category: Procurement/ERP Software
Description: With 26 years of continuous improvement, Deacom is an ERP designed for batch and process manufacturers worldwide. By providing a centralized environment with real-time visibility into every area of a business, Deacom ERP meets the crucial needs of food and beverage manufacturers. For instance, Deacom Essentials is a new a-la-carte product that supports SMBs with revenues of $5-50 million as a customized, competitive cloud ERP solution. It helps businesses gain better insight into their operation to make informed decisions and scale their overall business. Deacom ERP includes a broad set of native software capabilities, combining industry-specific functionalities and processes with functional depth under one system. By comparison, a typical environment using a generic ERP solution intensifies the “cost of being wrong." Deacom’s single-system approach yields a comprehensive range of business management capabilities specifically designed for its target customers, including accounting/finance, business intelligence and dashboards, catch weight, or “variable weight”, customer relationship management, direct-store delivery, document generation and storage, e-commerce, Electronic data interchange (EDI), formulation/bill of materials, inventory management, label generation, mobile apps, maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO), multi-company/facility, point of sale, pre-weighing and staging materials for issuing, production routings and other production data, material requirements planning (MRP), product configurator, purchasing, quality control/quality assurance, research and development/project management, regulatory management reporting, sales scheduling, serialization/traceability and warehousing/scanning.
Solution/Technology: GDL Tracker by GUYDLOGISTICS
Category: Supply Chain Visibility Solutions
Description: GDL Tracker is a one-time use device with temperature and location monitoring capabilities that attaches directly to the freight. The device is lightweight (only 60 grams) and compact (3"X2"X0.5"), comes with easy-to-use cloud-based platform and mobile application available on Android and Apple plus API Integration capabilities and features GPS and cellular location tracking. Other features include specific geo-location notifications to meet routing requirements; coverage throughout Continental U.S., Canada, and Mexico; on-demand alerts and notifications; geofence enforcements; temperature alerts; status updates provided via website/app or email; and customizable frequency of data transmission.
Solution/Technology: Control Tower
Category: Supply Chain Visibility Solutions
Description: Kenco’s Control Tower is an AI-enabled software solution for managing an entire trucking network. This comprehensive solution offers complete visibility with added intelligence, including smart exception management that proactively monitors potential issues. A Market Rate module quickly shows users how their network is doing compared to the rest of the market, and when it’s time to schedule loads, AI guides the carrier choice to ensure the best result. This Control Tower provides an all-in-one transportation management solution that was previously only visible through multiple disparate apps. Additionally, it continues to innovate as it layers on powerful AI, providing unprecedented insight into networks, forecasting delays and expectations before they occur, as well as making recommendations for a better logistics outcome. Since its initial implementation, the Control Tower has driven real results, including faster response times to delays and exceptions, insight into the cost a company is paying vs. market rates, and AI utilizing hundreds of factors to recommend the right carrier to meet your service needs. For example, a leading medical device manufacturer came to Kenco because their team lacked visibility into their $29 million freight network and competitive insights. Kenco then worked with the company to increase visibility by implementing its Control Tower solution, including its full-service transportation management services, transportation network optimization analysis, automated freight audit and pay, carrier procurement and performance management and other tools promoting continuous improvement. By doing so, the medical device manufacturer saved $2.7 million in annual procurement savings and $750,000 in projected annual consolidation savings, a 3% reduction for the company.
Solution/Technology: Slot DC
Category: Warehouse Automation
Description: Slot DC is Kenco’s automated slotting and zoning tool, designed to help companies optimize their forward picking areas. The web-based software uses machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to predict in advance which product needs to be slotted or rezoned while considering not easily seen patterns, profile changes and seasonality. Slot DC’s features include heat maps that show how operations are currently picking, putaway compliance, and zone recommendations for reserve and forward pick areas. The web-based software also develops move reports that detail SKU moves between non-optimal and optimal zones as well as a cost/benefit analysis to see how changes in volume will impact operations. The solution also has predictive velocity integrated into the tool and provides proactive alerts and reports to operations to ensure dynamic slotting. Slot DC is 100% automated and requires little, if any, manual manipulation. Kenco builds Slot DC on top of existing WMS and is able to develop a heatmap of the warehouse based on existing data. Kenco assisted a leading oil company automate their manual zoning and slotting process. Due to their manual process, changes in volume and profile were not easily picked up., which resulted in picking inefficiencies. Kenco worked with the operations and engineering teams to create a picking heat map to highlight those potential inefficiencies and develop an automated zoning strategy. The results saved the oil manufacturer $150,000 annually.
The Raymond Corp.
Solution/Technology: iWAREHOUSE FieldSense (iW.FieldSense) Proximity Notification System
Category: Supply Chain Visibility Solutions
Description: iW.FieldSense is a robust proximity notification system designed to alert pedestrians and lift truck operators when they come within a pre-defined distance of properly equipped trucks and pedestrians. The system can also alert vehicle operators to the proximity of properly equipped structural elements in a facility. Using audible and visual alerts, iW.FieldSense helps increase a user’s environmental awareness for other properly equipped users, helping to reinforce training and best practices. The vehicle-mounted Magnetic Field Generator (MFG) creates an adjustable field around each piece of mobile equipment. If a pedestrian-worn pedestrian notification device (PND) detects a field, the PND sends a notification to the MFG, which then notifies the vehicle-mounted notification device for the vehicle operator to see. Using this field, iW.FieldSense can provide three levels of awareness: Truck-to-truck, truck-to-pedestrian and truck-to-facility. In order for the system to work, vehicles, operators and pedestrians need to be equipped with specific components iW.FieldSense components, lift trucks and other vehicles must be equipped with an MFG that establishes "Notification” and “Alert” fields and pedestrians must wear/carry a small battery-powered PND that provides audible and visual alerts. If the field is detected by a pedestrian-worn PND, both the pedestrian and vehicle operator are alerted of each other’s proximity. Enhanced functionality includes silent zones, help support vehicle access and adjust zone sizes and lights and alarms for pedestrian access and structures.
Velociti Alliance North America, Inc.
Description: PiecePick combines orders during the picking process so that more of a given item can be picked at one time, and fewer items are simply passed by as the picker finds the next target item. This results in larger picks per stop and fewer skipped items. Every item is scanned as it is picked, and every quantity is checked during the sort-to-order process using Velociti’s patented Visual Sort Station. With PiecePick, both the item identity and the item quantity are checked—twice—by two different employees—without adding an “inspection” step. PiecePick also supports voice-directed, scan-enabled, and light-directed picking and sorting. PiecePick can start as a single-order picking system, and then migrate to batch-oriented picking one department at a time.
Category: Warehouse Automation
Description: The containerization feature automatically chooses between a given set of boxes for an order, given the dimensions and weight capacities of the boxes and the dimensions and weight of each item in the order. The algorithm follows a set of rules that eliminate boxes from consideration based on attributes of the box and the order. For instance, if the longest dimension of any item in an order is longer than the longest dimension of the box, that box is not suitable. If the order will not fit in any one box, the module will attempt to divide the order among multiple boxes in such a way that the business rules regarding weight and dimensions are met for all boxes. The containerization algorithm takes into account custom business rules as well. For instance, it can obey a general weight limit on the entire order, perhaps driven by shipping requirements. If the algorithm cannot find any suitable box (e.g., the length of an item in the order is longer than the longest dimension of any box), it will fail cleanly and back up to an alternate workflow, for example, a pick to tote.