Supply chain efficiency is setting the tone for future retail innovation.
Retail insight company Fung Global hosted a supply chain startup panel, the first event of its Disruptors series, in New York on Tuesday, to address solutions for better compliance and ethical sourcing. At the panel, seven supply chain startups presented their ideas to an executive judge panel and competed for a $25,000 award.
Featured startups included ocean freight procurement platform CoLoadX, quality textile inspection company Inspectorio, smart fabric company Loomia, online-to-offline (O2O) business Radius 8 Inc., preventative technology provider Supply.AI, international wholesale marketplace TigerTrade and restaurant industry tool BlueCart.
Each startup’s supply chain initiatives were critiqued by five qualities, which included opportunity, business model feasibility, ability to scale across multiple categories or segments, executability and investment.
Freight accuracy is a major concern of retail industry members today. Despite technology advancements in retail, logistics has become an inhibitor for commerce. Today, many companies are relying on faxes, emails and phone calls, which could slow the process of ocean freight capacity.
CoLoadX, an ocean freight procurement platform, bridges the gap between logistics and technology. Instead of engaging in the old methodologies of shipping arrangements, CoLoadX provides freight forwarders with a seamless process.
“CoLoadX is a marketplace for the $260 billion ocean logistics industry,” co-founder and CEO of CoLoadX Fauad Shariff said. “To solve this problem, we built an online platform that enables buyers and sellers of ocean freight capacity to realize lower rates and faster bookings.”
Freight forwarders first request a rate and input their shipment details. CoLoadX then uploads this information where NVOCCs can easily access quotes and work with supply chain companies instantly. Instead of taking weeks for communication, freight arrangements are minimized to minutes.
Supply chain problems don’t just persist within the freight business. Clothing waste also contributes to the inefficiency of supply chains, due to less business resources for excess inventory.
TigerTrade, an international wholesale marketplace, proposed a solution for extra apparel.
“We are transforming the international B2B marketplace for buying and selling excess inventory,” TigerTrade founder and CEO Tanjila Islam said. “The traditional off-price market is geographically isolated.”
Even though off-price retail is gaining momentum in countries including the U.S., many global buyers and sellers don’t have access to the excess inventory business. TigerTrade provides a seamless digital process for buyers and sellers in the off-price realm. Buyers receive access to high-quality fashion stocklots and secure fulfillment meanwhile sellers have accurate market control and gain access to thousands of international buyers.
Transparency is also a key issue for supply chains. For many retail companies, visibility is often overlooked in the consumer goods inspection process.
Inspectorio, the winning startup of Fung Global’s pitch competition, tackles this issue head-on with open inspection data accessibility.
“All the reports take days to be received by clients,” Inspectorio co-founder Fernando Moncayo Castillo said. “That complete lack of transparency is a real problem.”
With an advanced platform, Inspectorio navigates inspectors through the supplier verification process. Features of the platform include geolocated inspectors and a defect-prediction algorithm for heightened accuracy. Retail companies are also able to supervise in their product inspections and receive real-time updates.
As supply chain efficiency continues to be a goal for the retail industry, it will be up to many innovators, including startups, to pave the way for improved accuracy, sustainability and transparency with consumer goods.