Graham Parker & Gravity Supply Chain Solutions: Predictions for the Future of Consumer-centric Supply Chains
Graham Parker is the CEO and Co-Founder of Gravity Supply Chain Solutions (HK) – a privately owned B2B cloud-based ‘real time’ supply chain visibility and execution platform for shippers and sellers, manufacturers and logistics providers.
Gravity’s solutions are focused on connecting the people and data involved in the entire end-to-end supply chain – from product concept to commerce. The result is a truly open and collaborative supply chain and logistics community, conducting global trade, on a single platform. Below, Graham discusses in more detail the solutions Gravity offers, as well as his predictions for the future of global, consumer-centric supply chains.
Can you tell us about the solutions that your company provides to the supply chain industry?
Gravity has built a suite of modular apps that currently capture the journey of a product from concept, all the way through to destination. They are Source (PLM), Supply, Transport, Inventory, Finance and Discover. Being modular allows our customers to pick and choose the functionality that fits their needs and pay for only the functionality they will use – for example, if you want more visibility and control into the ordering and manufacturing process, you would opt for the Supply app.
However, if you want to manage your orders from purchase order creation through to destination, you could opt for our Purchase Order Management solution which includes the Supply, Transport and Inventory apps.
The foundation of the Gravity apps is what we call magNET-T™. It accelerates and streamlines the collation, analysis and distribution of real-time data, which is revolutionising the information flow in global supply chain networks. magNET-T™ is the reason why Gravity users don’t have to work with data that’s a few hours or days old. It bypasses the manual information chain of data entry and emails to deliver information directly from the source in real time. This technology uses web APIs, AI bots and proprietary algorithms to unlock and gather data that’s scattered across not just an organisation’s immediate supply chain in financial and operating systems, but also throughout the multiple tiers of partners and vendors that support it. It also collects what is happening out in the world around us; the latest weather, labour strikes, the impact of natural disasters and so on, providing instant awareness of potential supply chain disruption.
What’s more, magNET-T™ is collaborative based, so it not only lets you know exactly what’s going on in your own supply chain, but also in the supply chain of your partners, their partners and indeed, everyone involved. On average, our users are 47% faster and more effective reacting to supply chain issues than they were before using the Gravity platform.
We recently launched Gravity ‘Shipment Tracker’ – a refined version of our core product, offering aimed squarely at the 3rd party logistics and freight forwarding communities. It is a track and trace platform, providing visibility of shipments in progress as they progress along the supply chain – from booking to destination. Not only does Shipment Tracker increase the speed and efficiency of a logistics providers’ internal operations, but it also improves their level of service by delivering their customers 24/7 real-time visibility of their shipped products. The level of service provided before and after the sale is the key for logistics providers to enhance customer loyalty and image — satisfied customers are a company’s greatest asset.
In May, we will be launching another new solution, Source, to cover product concept to purchase order. It improves speed-to-market and efficiency for the product lifecycle management and sourcing functions by collecting data to bring together ideas, plans, options, suppliers, samples, materials, designs. It streamlines product conception and collaboration with suppliers into a holistic single view of a range or purchasing plans for a particular trading period. This enables teams to quickly progress landed cost models, merchandising and ultimately raise purchase orders all within one platform providing role based visibility to all users, suppliers and partners involved in the process. Source can be used on its own or can logically flow straight into our Supply, Transport, Inventory, Finance and Discover apps, providing managers with a complete real-time view of their entire trading position from product concept to commerce.
What makes Gravity unique, on an international level?
Gravity enables connectivity across your immediate and tier one and tier two supplier base, giving you complete transparency, peace of mind and visibility of what’s happening within your supply chain at all times. Gravity will receive data from all parties including vendors, logistics providers, customs and haulage firms – anyone connected to your critical path from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world, single or multi territory. With our execution platform, you will soon be able to book and pay for services through our payment gateway, giving you a complete view on your ledger activities connected to your supply chain. Essentially, we are making all that’s happening visible, in real time – often ahead of time.
We started our business in 2014 and when COO and Co-Founder Darren Palfrey and I looked at the immediate picture, all we could see were varying degrees and sizes of companies offering predominantly on-premise legacy systems. Being a new entrant into this space has enabled us to really stand out in the market. We don’t have layers of bureaucracy, outdated ways of working and legacy technology, which has given us a leg up in terms of speed and flexibility. From day one, we’ve designed our platform and solutions with user experience being the first step, where many of our larger competitors lead with tech first, ending with an experience and interface that fits the back-end technology, rather than what is best for the user.
What lies on the horizon for the company?
We have a strong roadmap and vision to support our growth aspirations. The space has little in the way of boundaries, in fact, Gravity is pushing the boundaries. We plan to only build our platform in the areas where we know with absolute certainty we will add value to the client and ultimately – the consumer. Gravity will also work with like-minded partners on a collaborative basis in specific areas and fields, whereby we are not the experts. It’s not about building it regardless, it’s about delivering the overall value proposition.
I think if you look deep into the whole supply chain and execution requirements, there are many touch points, more than is typically seen. Therefore, opportunity exists to bring this into one platform and in real time. We are seeing more and more freight marketplaces coming to light, many driven by a specific logistics provider (and you have to use their services) or neutral groups. The reality is that you need to be offering more than the ability to just transact or just the procurement of a freight rate and space, and this is where we see Gravity driving even more value through demand-driven procurement commerce.
With this in mind, we are working on numerous innovative opportunities with a number of institutions, placing ‘on-the-go financing and insurance services’ to our growing community.
People are a key part of our strategy. Whilst technology is vital to our success, it is only the enabler – people will still be an integral part of any build, sale and delivery process. Making sure we have dynamic enthusiastic and creative employees is a crucial element of our vision. AI does not necessarily mean that everyone is about to lose their jobs. Part of our immediate and continued growth strategy is through our sales and marketing teams, focusing on expansion into a number of key strategic markets. With offices already in Hong Kong, the UK, US, Australia and Singapore, we are looking to expand further into these existing markets. We are also looking into opening up offices in China, Japan and South Africa, whilst also looking at options in South and Latin America, the ISC region and other European countries ahead of Brexit.
What supply chain trends do you predict for the rest of 2018?
2018 onwards will see quite possibly the largest change in mindset and direction within not just the logistics industry, but global trade and supply as a whole, as everyone sets about digitising and improving the efficiency of information exchange across networks of partners. We are seeing a large emphasis on the logistics providers themselves coming to terms with the need to change, getting closer and stickier with their clients to give them the tools to effectively manage and optimise their critical paths.
Real-time visibility, predictive, prescriptive analytics and IoT technology is key to the future. It’s already here and at Gravity, we have placed a huge emphasis on this technology through our data science team. We are completely focused on looking at the impact of events ahead of time and giving our customers and their clients and partners the ability to make better decisions faster, mitigating risks and disruptions at every possible opportunity.
Whether or not one likes phrases such as disruptive technology, the reality is that technology is disrupting the industry. At Gravity, our drive is to provide visibility, transparency and allow execution with accurate and real-time data, allowing our clients and their partners to make decisions with absolute certainty.