At the 18th annual Conference of Chinese Logistics Entrepreneurs, hosted on November 21, 2020 in Qingdao and centered around the theme of “Creating a Smart Future: A New Journey in Logistics," Shan Dandan, founder and CEO of FOR-U Smart Freight (also known as Fuyoukache in China), was invited to present a keynote speech at the main forum. Shen was hailed as one of China’s Top 10 Persons of the Year in Logistics for 2020, and was the only female entrepreneur to be included as Top 10.
The swift surge of digitalization has continued to reshape the market landscape. Shan Dandan noted in her speech that over the last decade, changes to business flow within the consumer market have retroactively caused restructuring and reformation of the supply chain, which in turn has catalyzed the trend toward digital innovation in logistics. Under the twin driving forces of technological and capital influx, a new logistics ecosystem has evolved.
From the perspective of the greater logistics industry, the application of technology across the sector remains relatively low, with the full benefits of digitization still to come. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2030, the application of digital technology may contribute to a 4%–9% increase in productivity in the logistics sector. With regard to truckload transportation and the ongoing incursion of drastic technological shifts, the industry has entered a competitive phase of efficiency optimization, quality enhancement, and service upgrades, where user experience lies at the forefront of the competitive landscape, and performance capabilities serve as a business's core competency.
As FOR-U continues to engage in the vertical extension of actual trade, the platform’s value continues to grow. Information platforms – such as 58Tongcheng – deliver information connectivity and bridge information gaps, while other successive trading platforms – such as such as Taobao and Ctrip – have built upon this foundational layer of information connectivity to solve credit-related problems, and enhance upstream and downstream trade efficiency.
Performance platforms output data and technological capability to empower upper and lower reach parties. Meituan, for example, uses algorithms to dispatch orders in real time to maximize food delivery efficiency for catering venues. Shan Dandan states that only platforms that utilize technology to restructure demand- and supply-side factors in a manner that achieves efficiency improvement and sector elevation may be defined as performance platforms.
FOR-U Smart Freight is a performance platform that focuses on truckload transportation services. According to Shan Dandan, the choice to undertake performance was made to allow the full permeation and implementation of technology within actual operations to thoroughly overcome the pain points of each operational segment. FOR-U uses a data-based approach in optimizing its products and technology; traditional price enquiry processes are replaced with a smart quotation framework, manual routing and scheduling is replaced by AI algorithm-based dispatching, and transportation status tracking via landline calls is replaced by smart services – empowering drivers with the ability to provide standardized, high quality services.
The new journey of logistics is a journey of digital transformation– a transition to an industry more focused of delivering high-quality services – representing a gallant march from behind drawn curtains into the limelight for logistics overall. In conclusion, Shan Dandan stated that while the past decade was hallmarked by retroactive reform as a result of changes in business flow, in the coming decade, logistics will play a dominant role in accelerating business cycles.