A ‘most complex’ challenge – Bosch and AWS knit together global logistics services
Bosch and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are combining on a new digital services platform for the logistics industry, to launch in Europe, India, and the US in late 2022. Bosch is in charge of the platform itself, developing and operating the solution, which includes a marketplace for digital services; AWS, as per its essential business remit, is contributing the backend cloud infrastructure, as well as “expertise”. AWS called its joint-pursuit with Bosch, to knit together “hyperconnected” transportation functions, “one of the most complex technical challenges of our time”.
The pair have signed a “strategic collaboration”; the plan is for a “complete ecosystem and software environment” for freight carriers and forwarders, offering quick and easy access to digital services, and a way to improve operational and environmental efficiency in the logistics industry. A press statement lists early applications for commercial vehicle fleets, including capacity utilisation, asset tracking, and order processing.
The promise is to establish a single software environment for logistics firms across the whole sector. Most of the market (95 percent) comprises small and medium-sized enterprises; most logistics companies (90 percent) run fewer than five vehicles; and most (no percentage value provided) organise daily business manually, or with unrelated computer software. The implication from Bosch, as well, is they are unable, frequently, to buy-into the IoT game.
The new platform will help them to digitise (digitalise?) “without having to set up their own… IT projects”. Bosch quoted statistics from the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (in German) that logistics companies drives lots (and lots) of wasted miles (kilometres) – “more than 150 million trips are empty runs, which adds up to more than 6.5 billion empty kilometres annually, or more than 160,000 unnecessary journeys around the earth”, it said.
Given the planet’s environmental challenges, plus the logistics industry’s own difficulties to find drivers (a shortage of 60,000-80,000 in Germany alone, according to the Federal Association for Goods Traffic), and the spiralling demand for logistics services (global goods transport will grow more than 40 percent and 145 percent by 2030 and 2050, according to someone else), Bosch reckons its new collaboration with AWS will find its mark.
The marketplace element, meanwhile, will be open to all digital logistics services providers. Bosch said: “The platform also allows for easy integration of [existing] applications… [such as] in transportation management systems. Thanks to shared usage of data available through the telematics systems in commercial vehicles… it is also possible to… allow interplay between different services from different areas.”
Sandeep Nelamangala, executive director at Bosch, in charge of the new logistics platform business, said: “The logistics industry is the backbone of the global economy… It will have to shoulder continuously increasing transport volumes for goods and commodities while simultaneously reducing its carbon footprint… We want to help the logistics industry with this. We aim to ring in the future of the industry and drive forward its digitalization.”
Kathrin Renz, vice president for business development and industries at AWS, commented: “Developing hyperconnected transportation functions is one of the most complex technical challenges of our time… We are working with… Bosch to master these unique challenges. The digital marketplace will enable logistics customers to quickly transform… into a fully digital end-to-end value chain. Customers will benefit from the tools, frameworks, and modules we offer for digitalization, in addition to improving the sustainability of their transportation processes.”