Industry 4.0, also referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has initiated a lucrative transition for transportation supply chains. Research on future trends of supply chain management found that over the next five years about 80% believe ‘digital supply chain’ will be the leading industry model and 72% of global companies will invest over US$900 billion each year on digitization.

Why the need for digital implementation? Well, customers want lower prices, demand immediacy, and expect operations to ‘always be on.’ A highly efficient chain is achieved when innovative technologies are used to boost productivity and operations, lower costs and improve transparency. The benefits associated with building highly efficient digital supply chains are considered to be extremely important.

2,000 companies have already started to digitize their supply chains. How are supply chain and logistics companies implementing new technologies to achieve end-to-end results? This week we thought we would focus on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how it impacts the logistics and supply chain industry.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution in Supply Chain and Logistics

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This post highlights three strategic areas which many companies overlooked in 2017; strategy, security & interaction, and how to best achieve improvements in these areas.

It’s the second week of January. This means that roughly 30% of people have already stumbled on their New Year’s Resolutions. While many of these resolutions are weight, money or relationship related, for us in the supply chain industry, we have different priorities.

Our goal as supply chain specialists is to get the right items to the right places at the right time. Moreover, we need to be aware of the delicate balance that can be easily disrupted in logistics.

2017 has been an interesting year. Specifically in the major technological, economic and market-driven shifts. This means that being successful in 2018 will require adjustments.

For this reason in today’s blog post, we’ve highlighted some important developments in the world of supply chains and how to best tackle these new challenges.

Paying More Attention to Demand

Given the name of the field ‘supply chain & logistics’, a person could be forgiven for thinking all we’re concerned about is supply. However, supply and demand are intricately tied, which is why it exists after all.

After all, globalization, international business markets, marketing spend, weather, etc. makes demand difficult to quantify and predict. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.

On this topic, Jeff Metersky, VP of customer success strategy at LLamasoft, writes:

Supply chain professionals should absolutely strive to better understand demand; after all, demand is one of the most important factors impacting your overall supply chain design. You need to make sure your business has a solid grasp on future demand to ensure sufficient capacities are in place and products are deployed appropriately.

Metersky says that properly predicting demand starts by asking yourself these important questions:

  • Do you have challenges getting internal approval of or buy-in for strategic supply chain initiatives due to lack of visibility into long-term future demand?
  • Are you able to provide insights into company management about how evolving demand trends might impact your supply chain?
  • Are you able to model the long-term impact of demand based on internal company strategic decisions (new product design, current product life cycles, expansion into new markets)?
  • Do you have a solid understanding of and ability to quantify the factors driving changes in demand over the long term?
  • Do you need more reliable long-term demand projections to support strategic decisions about changes in your network design?

Improving Data Security

Many high-profile cyber attacks happened in 2017. They took a heavy cost on both the global economy and consumer confidence. To get ahead this year, organizations need to take advantage of emerging trends in technology and cyberspace to better handle high-risk security risks.

The Information Security Forum recommends that businesses focus on the following security topics in 2018:

  • Crime-As-A-Service (CaaS)
  • Expands Tools and Services
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) Adds Unmanaged Risks
  • Supply Chain Remains the Weakest Link in Risk Management
  • Regulation Adds to Complexity of Critical Asset Management
  • Unmet Board Expectations Exposed by Major Incidents

Take a look here for a comprehensive explanation of each security topic.

Improving Our Everyday Interactions with Other People

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but saying things like “please” and “thank you” tends to get lost once peak time rolls around. While supply chain & logistics continues to be a hot industry, that doesn’t mean that it’s zero-sum with manners. Striving towards being more personable is something we should all aim for in 2018. Whether it be with clients or coworkers.

2018 represents an opportunity to deep dive and find ways to improve the way we do things. Whether those improvements be strategic, technological or just a commitment to being more kind. Properly laying out and adhering to goals is what matters. Let’s be part of that 10% who achieve their resolution.

If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? Interested in our 3rd party logistics services? If so, don’t hesitate to check out our services . We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

Morai-Logistics-Blog-porch-piracy

A viral video opens up discussions of how private and public sectors are coming up with their solutions to stop package theft at the doors of people’s, deemed ‘Porch Piracy.’

You may have experienced a package being stolen from your porch at some point in your life. It happens. It’s a relatively simple form of thievery for opportunistic miscreants as the risk of getting caught is low; people aren’t always home, etc. Front porch thievery, deemed “porch piracy” by some, was put into the attention of people all over social media as a video by Jaireme Barrow taking measures into his own hands became viral.

Consequently Barrow, an Acoma, Washington man rigged a fake package with fishing wire and a 12-gauge shotgun blank.  Deemed “The Blank Box,”  it was built to (safely) scare off would-be thieves.

Funny as the video is, it highlights a problem that’s been growing recently—package theft. According to a survey by Ring, a home security company, up to 1 in 5 U.S homeowners were victims of package theft in the last year.

More Deliveries Means More Opportunities for Thieves to Ruin Someone’s Holidays

The growing number of package deliveries correlates to the continued rise of online shopping. In fact, as of this year, roughly 80% of the U.S population have purchased something using the internet. Total US ecommerce sales is estimated to be $353.7 billion. That number is expected to rise to $485.3 billion by 2021. As for deliveries, the average American homeowner receives on average, nine packages between Black Friday to New Year’s Day.

Unfortunately, the number of delivery thefts has also grown. A NBC News article quoting a insuranceQuotes.com report puts the number of Americans impacted at 23 million. Most people are either working late or staying with friends & family during the holidays. This gives the ‘porch pirates’ more time to steal unattended packages.

Combating Porch Piracy

Thankfully, this problem hasn’t gone unrecognized. In particular, many in the private and public sectors are doing their part to stop would-be thieves.

For example, in Rancho Cordova, California, local police have set up a special sting operation. Undercover officers drove in an unmarked SUV and delivered fake packages to various homes. With the bait laid, they then sat and waited. Once a thief tried to make off with a package, the police then made an arrest. The program only started during the last holiday season, but both residents and law enforcement hope it will act as a deterrent in the future.

Ecommerce and shipping companies are doing their part to fix the problem as well. Amazon, UPS and FedEx have their own creative solutions. Other businesses have sprung up to sell security measure to customers, such as Luxer One.

Packages for Safekeeping

Luxar One is a Sacramento, California-based firm that is,

…Setting up locker systems in luxury apartment complexes, office buildings and retail operations, where packages can safely be kept (typically for a small fee), hopefully preventing so-called porch pirates or other delivery mishaps.

The company’s services are proving to be very popular. According to Thomas’ article:

  • Luxer One reported an 83% increase in package delivery volume to its lockers during the week after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, compared with the week prior.
  • Package delivery volume to its locker units jumped 44% in November this year compared with one year ago.
  • The company currently works with more than 1,200 apartment communities across the U.S.

Porch pirates have been a huge problem for holidays shoppers in recent years. With this in mind, hopefully 2018 will see a decline in such activities. The holidays are already a stressful time for many due to all the planning involvement. People don’t need to added stress of missing gifts and packages.

If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

As consumer demands for efficiency and immediacy continue to rise, the supply chain industry is seeking out innovative technologies to meet these growing demands.

Canada Business Network provides recommendations to optimize the supply chain management processes of any business size. They advise companies to:

Invest in technology that will quickly transfer your requirements to suppliers and improve your time to market.

The development of improved measures is usually in response to current setbacks or issues within existing supply chain management systems. Research on the challenges facing supply chain and logistics revealed that transparency and visibility are at the top. The Financial Times defines supply chain transparency as:

The extent to which information about the companies, suppliers and sourcing locations is readily available to end-users and other companies in the supply chain.

With the origin of products becoming of interest to consumers, the ability for supply chains to guarantee visibility is an important component to their management systems.

In this e-book, the emergence of online currencies and ledgers will be explored, with specific attention to Blockchain. This beneficial platform is making headlines as a potential benefit for the logistics and supply chain industry.

How Would Blockchain Improve the Supply Chain Industry?

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If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

Morai-Logistics-Blog-bitcoin-investment

Companies talk about the possibilities of blockchain tech, but with only 1% of the responding organizations are currently using blockchain in their supply chain operations, few are actively investing in it.

Around this time last year, we commented on a story about Europe’s largest shipping Port, Rotterdam Port, taking part in a Blockchain consortium. Blockchain news in the logistics sector isn’t new, but this instance was unique because of the scale of the project.

Since this story, blockchain technology (as it relates to Bitcoin) has received a lot of coverage recently. Just last week, many news outlets reported on how Bitcoin hit a record $19,340 on Coinbase, before falling to $15,198.83 last Thursday. More impressively, by 2025, industry experts expect over 10% of gross domestic product (GDP) to be tied into blockchain.

These figures have made some organizations in the logistics and supply chain sector curious. However, surveys show that roughly half of supply chain organizations are not even looking at the possibilities of the technology. With this being the case, how big is the gap before blockchain can be used across the industry?

Blockchain in a Nut Shell

Many articles detail the impact blockchain-based technologies are having on different industries. Few actually go into the technical details of how it works. Lexology.com writer,
Marc S. Blubaugh, summarizes some of its the features in his article.

  • Blockchain is a decentralized database or spreadsheet (often referred to as a “digital ledger”) that is maintained and updated by a network of participating computers.
  • This highly secure technology permits parties to create a record (known as a block) that is timestamped and linked to the previous block such that it cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks.
  • The digital ledger is typically available to the public but can also be made private.
  • Blockchain is the technology infrastructure for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
  • Blockchain has many uses beyond cryptocurrencies, much like the Internet has many used beyond email.

High Potential but Little Investment So Far

Supply Chain Management Review writer, Becky Partida wrote an article earlier this week about a survey conducted by APQC.

The researchers interviewed 101 supply chain professionals. They found:

About one-third indicated that blockchain has the potential to create a competitive advantage for their organizations over the next 10 years. About 10% of respondents felt that blockchain would be a potential disruptor for their industry within the same time period

Partida points out, however, that Digital Supply Chain Institute (DSCI) conducted their own study of supply chain professionals. One-third of this group is “either extremely or moderately unfamiliar with blockchain.”

The research conducted by DSCI and APQC indicates that only 1% of the responding organizations are currently using blockchain in their supply chain operations, and only 35% are currently exploring the use of blockchain.

Of those surveyed (in both studies), almost 50% of organizations are neither using or exploring blockchain or its possibilities.

Part of the reason for these figures has to do with how new the technology is. It’s only been in the last couple of years that Bitcoin and blockchain have been taken seriously by the public at large. As more knowledge about the technology is disseminated, organizational interest in blockchain will better translate into investment.

If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

morai-logistics-drone-delivery-now

A look at where the technology meant to revolutionize small package delivery is in 2017

In 2013, the undisputed king of North American logistics, Jeff Bezos, revealed to CBS’ 60 minutes the future of small package logistics. Bezos showed off two drones which he said will be able to deliver packages anywhere within 10 miles of an Amazon fulfillment centre in half an hour.

News about the reveal was effervescent to put it lightly. Matt Hickey of Forbes called Bezos a pioneer and that “the future, it seems, is going to be a great place to live.” Not to be outdone, analyst for Forrester Research, Suchirita Mulpuru, told the New York Times, “the drones could be a game changer—20 years from now.” Surely, others would take a cue from Amazon’s example.

The fledgling technology of Amazon Prime Air, though exciting, was still very much finding its feet. In 2013 the company acknowledged that they were in talks with the Federal Aviation Administration and US lawmakers on how the service should be regulated. “I don’t want anybody to think this is just around the corner. This is years of additional work from this point,” said Bezos four years ago.

So where is the technology now? It has been years since the announcement, what new developments have we made in 2017? Who else has risen to Amazon’s challenge?

Canada

90% of Canada’s population lives within 100 miles of the American border. The further north one goes in Canada, the more remote it gets. The challenge to logistics is one of access. There are few good roads in Canada’s north and flying goods into remote communities on the few available airstrips is uneconomical.

A company aptly named Drone Delivery Canada received regulatory approval in October for testing their drone delivery service to a remote community in the country’s north.

Moose Cree First Nation is an indigenous community near Timmins Ontario, just over 700 km north of Toronto. The logistical challenges of this community have doubled the cost of consumer goods. A quick google image search of northern grocery shelves shows the horror that is shopping for groceries in the north.

Food Price in Northern Canada:

  • Tropicana orange juice – $26.29
  • Pack of seedless grapes – $28.19
  • Milk – $10.75
  • Pack of strawberries – $14.39
  • Frozen Pizza – $27.99
  • Broccoli- $7.43
  • Margarine- $11.29

The company’s CEO hopes to solve the logistical challenge of the Canadian north; hoping to build what he calls “a railway in the sky.”

United States

United Parcel Service, or UPS, tested a literal new platform for the launching of drones last February in San Francisco.

The company used their iconic brown trucks as a road-bound aircraft carrier for drones. How does it work? A roughly minute and a half long video from UPS shows the delivery driver loading the drone from the inside of the truck, opening a door in the roof of the vehicle revealing an autonomous drone on a sort of tiny helipad, which then flies off under GPS control to its delivery location. The same GPS control then docks the drone back on the truck, after it is finished making the delivery. The company touts the time-saving potential of this technology as it allows delivery personnel to deliver more than one package at once.

2017 was an interesting year for drone delivery. These were just two examples of companies who are rising to the challenge Bezos presented to the world four years ago. What 2018 holds for is an uncharted horizon of wonder.

If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

Morai-Logistics-Blog-saas-supply-chain

With technology driving industries into the Cloud, implementing and utilizing Software-as-a-Service, or SAAS, systems could help supply chains improve the customer experience.

The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to connect and enable our world to create efficient and easier modes of communication, operations and production. Technological advancements have shown improvements for many industries. Supply chain and logistics companies included.

Research claims that “SAAS cloud computing business information systems help enterprises develop.” This prompts us to ask exactly how. This article unveils how Software-as-a-Service systems function as a benefit to the supply chain industry and what this means moving forward.

SAAS Defined

Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) is an innovative tier of cloud computing. It is projected to provide lucrative benefits for the supply chain industry. In a report written by C3 Solutions, they use this term interchangeably with ‘cloud-based system’. Businesses and customers are able to access services over a network in a simplified and easy process.

As outlined in a SWOT analysis on SAAS, the system’s ability to efficiently integrate and be easily scalable are notable strengths. In addition, a major plus for businesses who adopt SAAS is it’s “less up front cost”. Senior Vice-President of Sales & Marketing at C3 Solutions, Gregory Braun, also states that cloud based platforms “keep up with changes and advances in the technologies”. Therefore, this system has the capability to help businesses streamline their supply chain management processes.

The Benefits of SAAS for Supply Chain Management

SAAS systems provide businesses with the ability to offer more efficient services to customers by helping them streamline their data. Similar to the research found by C3 Solutions, Salesforce outlines four main benefits that this cloud-based option provides all industries. SAAS is:

  • Easy to learn, generating high adoption rates
  • Offers Low initial costs
  • Upgrade capabilities that removes unnecessary hassle for adding additional software
  • Helps your business “scale indefinitely to meet customer demand.”

While this all sounds promising, how can supply chain industries utilize this? Research has found that current supply chain management systems are more effective when combined with IoT technology. Specifically in relation to supply chains, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) can be optimized using cloud based software. This is primarily to “improve the collection, sharing and exchange of information.”

Therefore, SAAS systems could create efficient processes for transporting goods by offering a low cost opportunity to integrate and scale shipments.

Proof in Numbers

Although the above benefits speak to the advantages software-as-a-service (SAAS) systems provide businesses, steady market growth shows proof in numbers. According to Digital Journal, Canada joins many global leaders in contributing revenue to the SAAS market. It’s estimated that by 2020, the Global SAAS market will increase by 21%, representing $117 billion USD in annual growth.

Both Small, medium and large enterprises are adopting this software across a variety of industries including IT, Manufacturing and Healthcare. The Globe and Mail reports that the Canadian stock market is seeing a surge this year. They reported technology stocks increasing by 8.5%. These figures represent the steady progression of innovative technologies and their contributions to global economies.

Improving the Customer Relationship

In addition to being an efficient tool to help businesses optimize their operations, SAAS systems also help improve the customer relationship. Writer, Michael Krigsman, discusses how leading enterprise software, Oracle, foresees a future in the clouds. He states that as companies move toward implementing cloud software. This leads to a focus on responsiveness must be taken to meet customer satisfaction.

The Balance asks “are you getting your customers what they want, when they want it – and spending as little money as possible accomplishing that?” The answer to this could possibly be the implementation of IoT technolgoies like as SAAS. Not only does this system improve the efficiencies of data collection and transfer, it can also save your business significant costs.

If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

morai-blog-image-automated-trains-part-2

In this final part, we look into the role unions and the need for human judgement play in keeping trains from being universally automated.

In last week’s blog post, we asked why there’s little media excitement around automated trains. We’ll be answering that question today, but first, a quick recap.

In the previous post, we mentioned that the technology to automate trains systems and networks has existed for decades. The technology even allows for different levels of automation which is already in use to varying degrees around the world.

It’s curious then that there isn’t the same zeal to make fully automated trains the standard rather than the exception around the world. As mentioned before, many companies are pushing hard for robot cars, trucks and ships, so why are trains different?

There are two answers to this question—strong unions and the need for human judgement.

No One Wants to Lose Their Job

In an online article by Wired.com, writer Damon Lavrinc asks Dr David Clarke, director of the University of Tennessee Center for Transportation Research Center, what’s holding automated trains back. Clark replies that train operators make it hard politically:

Organized labor doesn’t like the idea of losing the jobs of its members to driverless trains.There has been push back with the allegation of safety issues. Politically, that makes it hard to implement.

Reddit user dunnkw, who says he’s a BNSF Railway Locomotive Engineer for the last 10 years, echoes this issue in a Reddit thread on the same topic.

The first answer to your question is that the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (Engineers Union) is the oldest in the country at 152 years and we have fought tooth and nail to keep our jobs.

This sentiment from the union goes beyond simple preservation, however. The strongest case in favour of making train automation universal has to do with safety concerns. Basically, no current AI can keep your typical commercial train safe.

The Human Touch

There’s a reason why existing automated trains are confined to isolated areas and why they don’t intersect with major lines. These systems generally have little to no obstacle detection. It’s why they’re closed off. Open lines need people at the controls to make the necessary snap-decisions when it comes to unforeseeable circumstances. Even then, it takes years of specialized training to recognize various problems that can occur and the best solutions.

This is an issue recognized by the public. Fear of automated cars and ships is a problem affecting other driverless technology as well.

Some companies are trying to fix these issues. For example, tech conglomerate giant Siemens issued a press release detailing ways to improve driverless train technology. A robust safety outline is included in the release.

Some policy highlights are:

  • The trains are equipped with surveillance cameras throughout. The video images are transmitted to the control centre by means of a radio LAN. This enables incidents to be registered directly by the control center and countermeasures to be initiated.
  • If a fire should break out in the car, the installed smoke detector and temperature sensors become active. They detect hazards as they arise. The sensors trigger an alarm in the control centre and the train is stopped automatically at the next station, where personnel can investigate the cause of the fire alarm.
  • A public-address system in the passenger area serves for the announcement of operational and traffic information. Besides advising passengers in an emergency, it is used to supply passengers with general information.

There’s a long road ahead before robots can transport us across land, sea and air without issues. Although trains are further advanced and seemingly a more obvious choice than other transportation systems, an old adage rings true—”if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

morai-blog-image-interview-team-true-patriot-love-invictus-games

Toronto hosts 2017’s Invictus Games, an international adaptive multi-sport event created by Prince Harry where wounded, injured, or sick armed services personnel and associated Veterans take part in various sports.

The name Invictus was coined based on its Latin origins meaning: unconquered or undefeated. Prince Harry describes the games as a “a spotlight on the unconquerable character of servicemen and women and their families.” The motivation being a display of the very best of human spirit.

This year could not have been better timing for addressing issues of Canadian Veterans and their families with the events being hosted in Toronto. One of the main reasons we supported Team True Patriot Love earlier this summer is because we truly believe in the organization they chose to support: True Patriot Love Foundation (TPL).

True Patriot Love Foundation Leverages Invictus as a Platform to Bring Awareness to the Current Canadian Veteran Situation

TPL is an organization that works closely with the Canadian Armed Forces, Department of Veteran Affairs and local grassroots organizations to clearly identify the most urgent needs of Canadian military families on a national scale, while avoiding duplication of efforts between all organizations.

A multinational symposium prior to the Games was organized by TPL, which brought together competitors and their families from the 17 nations represented at the Invictus Games, international leaders and senior representatives from the charitable, research, and medical sectors to discuss the most pressing concerns within the military community.

The Morai Logistics team decided to feature this week’s post to outlining the difficulty Veterans face when transitioning into civilian life and how the average Canadian can help support those men and women returning from military service.

An Interview with Team True Patriot Love on What Canadians Can Do to Help Veterans in Need

Sitting with three members of Team True Patriot Love, the team that raced to bring awareness to TPL and to contribute their donated earnings to support their cause.

In June of this year, Team True Patriot Love successfully completed the Race Across America (RAAM) 2017, coming in second place with a time of 5 days, 17 hours and 55 minutes, setting a new Canadian record. The team also were successful in raising over $130,000 for Canadian Veterans in support of the True Patriot Love Foundation.

We go over the three biggest questions stemming from the call to bring Canadians up to speed on the current situation for Canadian Veterans returning from service, what their needs are, and what can be done as a Canadian citizen wanting to do more and support their servicemen and women.

Reid McGregor, from Team True Patriot Love, answers on behalf of him, Chris Slawson, and Bryan Murphy.

Shaun Francis, the executive chair of True Patriot Love Foundation, encourages ordinary Canadians to get to know Veterans and their families, hinting that civilian and governmental support for the current cohort of Canadian Veterans was a “generational commitment.” What are your thoughts on this?

The point about getting to know Veterans and helping build back their social network and supporting them in their civilian life is extremely important. Canada has done an incredible job of creating a melting pot of culture and diversity that is inclusive and celebrated from coast-to-coast, but we have failed to fully support those that voluntarily elect to join the military and serve our country. Furthermore, it is clear that we continue to fall short of providing a stable network for them to return to.

I have struggled to find an outlet or events where I would get to interact with more Veterans. My grandfather was a military Veteran, but no one in my circle of friends born in the early 80s chose the military as a career. In choosing TPL as the charity to support in our Race Across America, our cycling team wanted to change this. We needed to find a way to open our network not only to meet Veterans but theirs as well, and create a new environment where we could help support them, but also build new friendships. We were introduced to Glen Villa, a 31-year-old Veteran at the True Patriot Love Toronto Tribute Dinner in 2016.

Glen agreed to join our team in the race and as part of our crew shared valuable leadership, motivation, and technical skills that had a direct impact on our success in setting a new Canadian 8-man record. Glen shared many stories about how the close community of the military is so vastly different than what’s waiting after returning from service I was glad we had the honour to work with Glen and also build a friendship. Glen is not an anomaly and their needs to be more services to support people like Glen. More information, more ways to honour and more direct involvement needs to be addressed otherwise for those with less and less connections to the military, we risk losing the link between military and community.

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Team TPL Members Attend the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto
How can the “Average Canadian” better support Veterans or get more informed on the issue?

Get involved. The difficulty is that when you are not part of a (figuratively speaking) “military family”, it’s hard to find ways to be a part of it. Whether it be through community programs or within corporate organizations, you have to put yourself out there. Once you do though, it opens up a different and unique part of society and one that should be an essential part of being Canadian.

As Canadians we need to understand that our Veterans deserve every opportunity as civilians and should be supported in returning to civilian life and create opportunities for them to succeed. As a Canadian, we owe it to them. I have no doubt that events like the Invictus Games will show society how tough these people really are and that although they may face physical and mental challenges in their life outside of the military, the skills that they exude vastly surpass any of these.

What sort of support structures do you feel the Canadian Government needs to put in place?

There needs to be a more accessible medium to interact with Veterans. It has been a personal gain for me to meet someone like Glen and I know the more focus we put on celebrating the men and women who serve our country the more the community will build. Events like the Invictus Games not only shine a spotlight on our military but also celebrates them through a different lens. It celebrates their abilities and their drive, and exposes regular Canadians to the struggles that these heroes face in daily life. Watching them put that aside to compete was inspirational.

Remembrance Day certainly brings the military into the spotlight but it is once a year and although incredibly important and patriotic, it does little to address the next wave of Veterans. These are not our grandparents anymore, but our colleagues, associates and our neighbours. Creating a unique environment where we can interact with our Veterans would be essential.

Sports is an easy avenue to start with. The US created the Warrior Games which brings together wounded service men and women from air force, navy and marines to compete. This could have profound national impact and increase community involvement. If we can also find ways to include military Veterans in our daily activities I would expect more support to build. Maybe we create a “Marathon of Sport” similar to Motionball where we can interact with Veterans in a more fun and social manner. Any event where civilians have an opportunity to interact with Veterans will build a foundation and support.

About Morai Logistics and Team True Patriot Love

Morai Logistics Inc. is a 3rd party logistics provider with an operating agency agreement representing Mode Transportation. They are a logistics team based in the Greater Toronto Area and do business throughout North America, specializing in cross-border logistics, especially Mexico.

They were the presenting sponsor to Team True Patriot Love, the only eight rider Canadian Cyclist Team that participated in the Race Across America (RAAM) for Canadian Veterans supporting True Patriot Love Foundation.

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Talk of automation is sweeping the transportation industry, but there’s barely a whisper when it comes to automated trains or self-driving trains.

The conversation around automation and A.I is nothing new. Since 2010, it seems like every industry headline has to do with a newly tested application for these technologies. This isn’t surprising. The technology is indeed revolutionary and if recent advancements are any indication, very close to becoming the new standard. Industry experts are predicting that in three short years, both automated cars and automated ships may be a reality.

However, trains, another essential mode of transportation, seems to generate little news on the automation front.

This may seem strange on the surface, trains run on a track, after all, meaning they have only two directions of movement. Conversely, both cars and ships have eight directions of movement. Their onboard A.I would also need to worry about the local geography, weather conditions, other cars or ships, etc. Trains seem like the first and most obvious choice for transport automation.

The reason why there isn’t of a push for more fully autonomous trains boils down to two issues: unionization and the importance of snap-judgements. Before we can deep- dive into those issues, it’s important we look at the background of the technology as it relates to trains.

Train Automation: A Short History

Believe it or not, the technology to automate trains already exists. It has for decades, between 20 to 30 years according to David B. Clarke, director of the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Tennessee.

Vice journalist Carl Franzen, in his investigative piece for Motherboard, looked at the questions of “why we don’t have driverless trains yet”. According to the article, they already exist, we just don’t hear about them. The first completely automated subway went into service in New York in 1961. Canada wasn’t far behind as it tested a crewless freight train system shortly after according to an official report.

Automated Train Systems are More Common Than You Think

Since those early attempts at automating trains, the technology evolved and spread around the world. Franzen, quoting International Association of Public Transport (UITP), an advocacy group that promotes public transit, writes:

48 fully automated public metro systems can be found across 32 countries […] That number doesn’t include other private light rain systems which number in the dozens

Train network automation has been around for so long and is so prevalent, that the UITP actually has Five Grades of Automation (GoA) for trains:

  1. GoA 0 is on-sight train operation, similar to a tram running in street traffic.
  2. GoA 1 is manual train operation where a train driver controls starting and stopping, operation of doors and handling of emergencies or sudden diversions.
  3. GoA 2 is semi-automatic train operation (STO) where starting and stopping is automated, but a driver operates the doors, drives the train if needed and handles emergencies. Many ATO systems are GoA 2.
  4. GoA 3 is driverless train operation (DTO) where starting and stopping are automated but a train attendant operates the doors and drives the train in case of emergencies.
  5. GoA 4 is unattended train operation (UTO) where starting and stopping, operation of doors and handling of emergencies are fully automated without any on-train staff.

As you can see, the technology is further along than where it is with cars and boats. While automating those two transportation methods is still several years away, trains have enjoyed a nearly 50-year head start. Why then isn’t there more investment in fully automating all train lines?

The answer, as mentioned in the introduction, has to do with unionization and quick decision-making. Come back next week when we go over why these two issues are such a barrier to future train automation efforts.

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