As Director of Supply Chain, Syed Aman spent several years making sure when produce reached Walmart
“Produce spends half its life in the supply chain and more than $15 billion is wasted or rejected in transit every year,” said Aman. “On average 14% of the produce shipments get rejected.”
The lingering Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the problem with supply chain disruptions and strict packaging requirements by top retailers such as Walmart and Target
Such shipments already faced tough odds due to what Aman described as ”mainly manual ways of scheduling and routing, lack of visibility and communication between the various actors in this value chain, and cold-chain standards not being met during the days in supply chain.”
The pandemic also led to a surge in demand for food in general and produce, in particular. That created a ripple effect of load density outpacing truck and driver availability, further delaying deliveries.
That’s why Aman and two fellow Walmart alumni co-founded Santa Clara, Calif.-based Hwy Haul. The company’s digital freight platform uses a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning and what Aman terms “optimization algorithms” to match loads with carriers in the U.S. and Canada. Hwy Haul’s platform also provides real-time freight tracking with “smart” alerts.”
The result, especially during the pandemic, said Aman, “Hwy Haul matched 100% of the loads with reliable carriers and demonstrated impressive on-time deliveries amidst the chaos.”
Some valuable lessons learned during his Walmart tenure were important contributions to developing Hwy Haul’s platform that include what Amad calls “learning about quirks and nuances” of shipping a fresh commodity.
But the big box experience also helped understand how to deal with a business on a big scale.
“Being the juggernaut it (Walmart) is, we were challenged to design with precision and build technology products for scale, considering various actors (users) involved,” said Aman. “At Hwy Haul, we have built our technology stack ground up keeping the peak scalability in mind. We are building an Enterprise-grade eco-system instead of a point solution like some of the companies do.”
One satisfied Hwy Haul customer is Ganesh Rajaraman, Senior Vice President at multinational food supplier Olam Americas, Inc. The company has been using Hwy Haul for almost five months that started last May.
Rajaraman says while cost savings has been minimal, a positive offset is an improvement in efficiency
“Definitely the time spent on bookings, follow ups etc., have considerably reduced from our side,” said Rajaraman. “We receive auto updates at every stage on trips which takes away our effort to track down these milestones. This was our first experience in digital trucking, and we feel that the application is very simple to use and access to information has become much easier with respect to the delivery and schedules.”
Aside from Olam Americas, Hwy Haul is expanding its customer base having delivered loads to many of the top chains that include Costco, H-E-B, Kroger
Big customers are nice, said Aman, but he’s not picky remarking, “No customer is too small for us and neither are they too large.”