Why investors are backing supply chain technology in 2022

UK haulage industry tells PM to act on supply chains or face Christmas crisis

Supply chains are still not back to how they were pre-pandemic. And for exporters in the UK, they’re nowhere near back to pre-Brexit levels.

In fact, things seem to be getting worse, not better. Before Brexit, shipments from the UK to EU member states could be transported with minimal lead times and red tape. Now, the multiplication of processes and additional declarations makes import-export operations tricky and has contributed to the general chaos which has contributed to what has become known as “the supply-chain crisis”. Goods that were usually freely transported now require significant amounts of additional documentation.

Richard Parkinson, port director at Southampton’s UK Solent Gateway, reported in World Finance on January 4th, 2022 on the problem of fragmentation of the supply chain weighed down by heavy procedures: “It may be that each logistic service provider, airline or shipping line holds its own data but perhaps it needs to be collated centrally for a single analysis of end-to-end global supply chains. That may be where the weakness in data lies: each element of the global supply chain holding its own stove-piped data.”

If UK businesses are going to have a fair crack of the whip when it comes to competing in the European market, it’s essential that as many unnecessary points of supply chain friction are removed or mitigated as is possible. Technology, specifically artificial intelligence, will play a crucial role in this.

One company at the forefront of addressing the friction problem is KlearNow, a California-based company driving innovations in the ‘supply chain tech’ space.  KlearNow  understood the problem earlier than most and has answered to it with 3 valuable words:

“Easy, unifying and empowering”.. Already a leader in supply chain technology in the in North America, KlearNow has now shifted focus to become a Smart Logistics as a Service (LaaS) pioneer. The firm was founded in 2018, but launched in the UK in 2021 specifically to support UK and EU businesses operating in the post-Brexit landscape.  The obvious potential for a platform like KlearNow to change how supply chains work hasn’t gone unnoticed. The fact that it utilises AI has made it very appealing to investors.

The firm raised  £38M ($50M US) in new capital at the end of 2021, with a brief to transform broken supply chains, simplifying and providing real-time cargo visibility to the customs clearance and drayage processes.

KlearNow’s AI-powered platform eases worldwide supply chain disruptions offering clarity and visibility. It addresses the world’s supply chain gridlock due to Brexit and the Covid-19 outbreak, allowing capacity planning and reducing red tape headaches. The technology platform gathers all the agents of the supply chain and enables them, its customers, – importers, customs brokers, freight forwarders, carriers- to have an unprecedented level of real-time end-to-end visibility with proactive data. By digitizing and streamlining complex paper-based logistics processes, KlearNow’s technology reduces manual entry times and human errors, logistics costs and creates better customer experiences and collaboration between the agents of the supply-chain.

The firm is responding to the rapidly evolving and unpredictable needs of the sector as a whole. It recently added a drayage marketplace to its smart LaaS platform to support drayage providers facing planning and scheduling challenges and importers demanding extended visibility, thus providing a single view on multi-leg shipments  from loading to destinations.

Sam Tyagi, CEO and Founder of the company stated: “This latest round of funding enables us to aggressively accelerate our technology development and deployment, geographical expansion, and talent investments, helping us transform supply chains that power commerce.” He added that the deep sectorial knowledge of the investors and strategic partners of his company can increase the efficiency and impact of KlearNow technology in a meaningful and sustainable way all over the world, leading the way to zero-net logistics, among others.

With wind in its sails, the company has grown exponentially, increasing its customer base tenfold and its monthly revenue run rate by more than 50 times since 2020. It also has expanded to Canada, and soon will be delivering its services in a number of new European Countries.

KlearNow is not the only supply chain technology company to have piqued the interest of big investors. At the end of last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that investors were ‘piling in’ to the sector.

The Journal referencing a number of “newly minted unicorns, or companies that exceed $1 billion valuations, in the logistics sector in 2021” including, e-commerce fulfillment outfit ShipBob Inc., digital warehouseing and distribution provider Stord Inc. and Flock Freight, a freight ‘matching’ platform.

After such a turbulent 24 months for the economy and for businesses, 2022 could be the year that the supply chain efficiencies the logistics sector has been promising for a long time finally start to bear fruit.