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Today, there's no shortage of discussion about the state of supply chains. But a year before the pandemic hit and set in motion what you might call the great supply chain scramble, Sam Lurye was traveling around the U.S.
While visiting warehouses, speaking with truck drivers, and spending time on factory floors, Sam tried to understand the challenges that kept everyone from running a seamless supply chain. In nearly every conversation, problems at the loading dock kept coming up.
Despite tech innovation and adoption throughout the logistics value chain, loading docks remained a huge blind spot. Sam saw the opportunity and, in late 2019, founded Kargo, which offers a hybrid tech platform that improves loading dock efficiency by connecting the physical world of freight with the digital ecosystem used to manage it.
There are over 10 million loading docks in the U.S. alone; regardless of whether you are manufacturing, distributing, storing, or selling, nearly everyone who handles physical goods uses docks. They're the gateway between transport, storage, and back again – but are a critical choke point in the supply chain.
Bottlenecks are incredibly common, with the average truck waiting two and a half hours at a dock. These long timelines result in shipment delays for businesses and customers and in demurrage, or delay charges, for warehouses.
These bottlenecks also correlate with an increase in safety hazards. Twenty-one forklift accidents occur at loading docks every day, and 25% of all warehouse injuries occur on the loading dock. According to the U.S. DoT, a prolonged wait time at loading docks also increases the likelihood of a driver later being involved in a road accident.
Avoidable mistakes, such as miscounting a load or processing damaged goods, happen regularly at the docks due to limited visibility into the operations. These errors obstruct supply chain fluidity and cost businesses money.
Loading docks are where all partners – shippers, 3PLs, carriers – interact, making them a critical supply chain interface. Yet, visibility into freight and facility operations has been practically nonexistent because no single solution has provided insight into these moving parts. Warehouse management systems operate only within the warehouse, while yard management systems handle complex yard operations but only up to the dock.
Sam and his team knew that software alone wouldn't cut it if they wanted to provide true transparency into dock operations. They needed "eyes" on the ground to understand in granular detail what was going on.
That's where the Kargo towers come in; 10 feet tall and packed with sensors, including cameras and LiDAR, they sit on either side of a dock. Coupled with Kargo's software platform, the towers can analyze palettes of freight that pass between them in real-time. They can look at the types of goods, their dimensions, and accuracy and identify damage, spot expiration dates, and check temperatures. The towers can reduce loading time by up to 48% and provide far more granularity than existing tech like RFID.
Kargo's software platform then uses insights from the towers to provide customers with a comprehensive view of their dock operations. Kargo integrates with a customer's WMS and TMS platforms and can anticipate upcoming congestion.
With 96% of industrial space currently in use, increased supply chain efficiency depends on loading docks enhancing their operations and reducing human error. Kargo is already working alongside some of the most prominent players in logistics to improve supply chain operations.
We're proud to be partnering with Sam and the entire Kargo team for their Series A as they expand their operations across the U.S., triple their workforce, and add hundreds more loading docks to their platform in the coming year.