SmartKargo Mobility... Business Intelligence
and Instant Shipment information from any device,
even the Apple Watch
it comes to new ideas for air cargo which, in the language
of pilots, “turn a Chandelle” (180 degrees)
from the norm, it is fair to say that since World War
II our industry has been punctuated with the hopes and
dreams of some original thinkers and plenty of dreamers
Walk around any air cargo
trade show worth its salt and there is usually someone,
maybe an airline or a container supply specialist, with
another big idea for air cargo.
So looking for
people with a light bulb burning brightly above their
head is not only great sport, but also lots of fun.
Frankly, it’s the stuff of life.
For us that moment most
recently occurred when we met Milind Tavshikar, CEO
and Founder of SmartKargo.
The Monty Python TV show
that segued between skits by announcing: “And
now for something completely different” would
love this guy, because he is unlike anyone else in air
His original idea is
so smart, it’s stupid.
Goes Behind The Cloud
graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) in Cambridge with a dream of creating an innovative
solution that could be a game changer in logistics.
team had already won the prestigious finalist Award
at the MIT100K competition and received venture capital.
While doing an industry scan, he quickly noticed a big
gap between technology used by integrators like Fedex
and airlines with a similar cargo business.
10-plus years’ experience in architecting enterprise
solutions like SAP for large companies was instrumental
in the design of SmartKargo as an end-to-end business
solution. His core skills in computer engineering coupled
with his management expertise and business process knowledge
was a great combination to build the product that the
company envisioned. He organizes and leads a team of
experts from the airline industry and takes advice from
these veterans to ensure all minor details are considered.
a relentless 6 years of design, engineering, and testing,
SmartKargo was launched in 2012. In a short span of
3.5 years, 10 major carriers around the world have deployed
the solution. Deployment times have been cut by over
half and end users love the interface. SmartKargo is
the only solution completely ‘born on the Cloud’—thus
leveraging a massive global infrastructure at a fraction
of the cost—in comparison to in-house IT systems.
Seamless and natural extensions like Mobility and Business
Intelligence have made the product a complete and robust
offering in the air cargo marketplace.
and constructive innovation is a top priority,”
“We are constantly
evaluating potential areas where technology solutions
can solve the air cargo industry’s long lasting
“For example: if
a customer finds it difficult to transmit air waybill
data from a location where he does not have access to
a computer, we make it available on a smartphone.
“If he doesn’t
have a smartphone, we make it available on a flip phone
using SMS technology!
when a business leader is in a meeting room looking
for data on sales for a particular sector, we make it
available real-time on a iPAD.
“And the list goes
“We believe we have
built SmartKargo on a technology infrastructure where
‘everything is possible’ and we want the
Air Cargo industry to experience that!”
Big Line Up
provides an end-to-end air cargo software solution to
more than 10 innovative, forward-looking commercial
airlines and a freighter operation across the world.
“The advanced solution
provides airlines with the management of belly space
in over 200 airplanes, with distribution touching about
300 airports and management of over 10 million pieces
On The Cloud
of our ‘born on the Cloud’ platform are
formidable,” Milind insists.
“I think we need
to do a better job of educating the industry on what
benefits this fact brings to bear on their business
and operational environment.
“Our 100% Cloud
solution gives us enormous power with flexibility at
a affordable price point.
built a solution that reduces the learning curve and
time to market.
“A technology solution
that creates business opportunities and increases efficiencies
has to be a winner.
“No existing cargo
solution does all that SmartKargo does: comprehensive
functionality from shipper to recipient; management
reporting and business intelligence built in ‘Big
Data’ strength; and robust mobile apps—helping
carriers meet the requirements inherent in e-Commerce.
Cloud architecture means that no upfront hardware investment
is required by the client.
“We also realize
we are in an industry where solutions built before I
was born are still running in production environments.
Our system currently speaks to the legendary BA80 with
the same level of ease as it can transmit a cXML message
to a newer partner system. That is the beauty of a cloud
environment that has it all! This is only one of the
reasons the industry should embrace SmartKargo,”
with ease of use and training for frontline agents,
relieves the burden of resource allocation for the carriers.
“Our support and
service is unmatched, and the simplicity and power of
the SmartKargo solution minimizes the need for carrier
allocations of IT staff, which is a huge issue in the
cargo business. As you are aware, the needs of the Cargo
business often take a backseat to the IT demands and
priorities of the passenger business.
it takes at least four or more years to design and develop
a cargo management solution for an airline if they decide
to do it in-house. “The sunk cost of programming
and hardware alone will be upwards of double-digit million
upgrades for a complex cargo management solution is
a huge issue for our competitors, as they are not a
‘born on the Cloud’ system. A client-server
architecture sitting behind corporate firewalls can
take an enormous effort to keep up to date, putting
operational strain on the business and customer, not
to mention employee relations. Realities and timelines
don’t often match the promise of the slick brochures.
Our Cloud-based system however, is built to mitigate
amount of configuration options in the SmartKargo Cloud
platform make each customer unique, but also, at the
same time, the same!”
Has A New IT Address
“While our focus
is on fast and solid implementations for our customers,
it should be noted that the Cloud design enables adaptability
and innovation. For example, we have recently deployed
an ‘Uber-like’ solution that covers first
mile and last mile services for air cargo movement,
and are creating a technology backbone that can be of
immense value to e-Commerce companies that need speed-to-market
for new products and services.
can now seamlessly connect and communicate with each
other, thus opening up new routes and business lanes
that they never imagined were an option. It’s
all about adding incremental revenue without adding
SmartKargo executives, (l to r)—Jay Shelat,
Milind Tavshikar and Vladimir Camacho.
It Comes To Customers, We Listen
teach us a lot! Each time we gain a new customer, we
learn something that will benefit all our customers
and also the industry. Just take an example: a customer
asked us to provide an automatic email alert to a consignee
as soon as the shipment arrived at the destination airport
warehouse. In a traditional system, this is a FSU/ARR
message, which is very cryptic and flows via SITA messaging
etc. making it very difficult for a consignee to use.
We not only leveraged our Cloud alert messaging service
that sends an email, but also used Apple’s Poke
service to poke a user using an Apple Watch! This will
now become a standard for all SmartKargo users and perhaps
Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides an out-of-the-box
solution for foundational system requirements, there
are generally specific aspects of usage unique to the
particular business of our various carriers. Our system
also integrates easily with certain systems that our
customers already use and want to keep, which is a huge
the adoption of Cloud-based advantages isn’t an
immediate and overwhelming factor in the choice of service
provider,” Milind said.
there may be some confusion out there about what being
truly Cloud-based means and the advantages that this
provides. It seems that everyone is using language that
makes it sound like a fairly even playing field, but
in actuality, it’s not. When we say we are ‘born
on the Cloud’ we mean that our system is built
upon a global infrastructure that was established through
a $25b investment by our partner Microsoft.
“The SmartKargo Cloud
Solution is NOT a server you don’t see that is
hosted at a data center in Minneapolis or Virginia.
It’s a truly global infrastructure that has a
stack of technology layers used with the most complex
and secure applications, such as banking. The product
is built using technology that was available in the
millennium. We embrace mobility and big data as a natural
thing, not as an add-on or an upgrade. I am surprised
that our target audience is sometimes not looking at
the possibilities and getting more excited about it!”
Far In 2016
have some very exciting avenues that we are exploring.
We are, by nature, innovators. I think that’s
what our educational roots at MIT bring to the business
of our customers everyday. Our system is congruent with
speed-to-market for the application of latest technology.
That becomes more important as the speed-of-change accelerates
in the world. Why be stuck in a system that is non-adaptive,
when rapid change is a given?”
Unique Is What You Seek
have always been e-AWB. Paper is an option. Our approach
to e-AWB was again unique. Carriers who chose us had
a strong desire to reduce the costs of doing business,
including data entry costs. We established a multichannel
protocol of a paperless environment amongst all the
stakeholders, such as sales agents and handlers, and
achieved near 100 percent e-AWB on day of go-live! Amazing,
isn’t it? We firmly believe air waybill data should
be captured only once!
“The e-AWB movement
is dependent on technology and global access to the
technology to minimize and ultimately eliminate paper
in the process. Our system handles this seamlessly by
interfacing with the various components inherent in
the process. We are integrated with IATA and CBP and
our system is pre-loaded with key regulatory parameters
To Be Overcome
to spread the] understanding that moving to a Cloud-based
infrastructure is the game changer for rapidly meeting
challenges carriers face now and into the future. Each
time people have implemented a cargo system in the past,
it’s taken years to do and has cost millions.
Most customers cannot believe that SmartKargo can be
deployed as quickly as we get it done and can handle
all areas of their business. But they should talk to
our customers and they will know!”
I was at MIT, our team won the prestigious finalist
award at the MIT 100K competition and received venture
capital for a business plan that aimed to improve efficiencies
in Logistics. While doing an industry scan, we quickly
noticed that consumers had few choices when it came
to express transportation. The market is still dominated
by a couple of large players. After digging further,
we found a big gap between technology used by integrators
like Fedex and airlines with a similar cargo business.
Thus we embarked upon the task of building innovative
technology from scratch using the latest tools and techniques
to serve the air cargo industry. The objective was to
create software that was based upon standards, has an
easy-to-use interface, and could be deployed in a short
“My entry into programming was an interesting
one. As a young engineering student, my first assignment
was to draw a circle on a computer that consisted of
a green screen, a blinking cursor, and a floppy with
MS-DOS and a BASIC compiler. There was not even a book
to explain. It took me all night to figure it out, but
when I saw the result on the screen, I was convinced
I wanted to be a computer engineer. Imagination is the
A Choice, Would You Do It Again?
Miliand says without pause.
“The gap between
where most carriers are operating and the need/potential
to meet the challenges ahead in both sales and operations
is huge. We are energized by this and continue to innovate.”