The technological revolution has touched every segment of the logistics industry. Critical and time-sensitive logistics are no exception. In fact, this high-pressure sector may have benefited most from the industry’s strong push for transparency, visibility and innovation.
“Integrators and freight forwarders are judged by whether or not a shipment arrives in the promised time frame,” Airspace’s Chief Technology Officer Ryan Rusnak said. “Time-critical is completely different. When you’re moving something like an organ for a transplant or a part for a downed aircraft, every single minute of a delay could cost someone their life or cost the client money.”
When Airspace entered the time-critical arena, it brought the technological revolution along. Prior to the implementation of AI and machine learning solutions, shipment visibility was dismal, and about one in three time-critical shipments arrived late.
“The entire industry was just barely better than a coin flip — 66% on time,” Rusnak said. “That is absolutely crazy. These are the most precious things being moved on planet Earth.”
Airspace leverages its patented Logistical Management System to optimize routes, minimize downtime and ensure virtually all time-critical shipments make it on time. Depending on a load’s origin and destination points, there are millions to quadrillions of viable ways to move any given shipment. It is impossible for a human to sift through all possible routes and choose the best one. That is where AI and machine learning come into play.
The sheer speed and complexity of machine learning give it an edge over not only human beings but also most other types of technology. Machine learning allows Airspace to pinpoint the most opportune routes, even when moving materials between origin and destination points they have never moved between before. This is thanks to machine learning’s ability to quickly evaluate and combine all available data, slicing and dicing it to find solutions for new challenges.
“We can traverse all the possible paths in one second and find the optimal path for a part for a downed aircraft or for an organ; those are not going to be the same,” Rusnak said. “The tech of the 2010s could not have solved these problems. We have made it so you can solve them in less than one second, meaning we can get a driver there faster. We can also reroute in one second. When things go wrong and flights get canceled, we are over six hours faster than our competitors.”
In addition to utilizing machine learning to plan the best possible route, Airspace has developed an innovative visibility solution that ensures packages that fail to make it onto their designated aircraft are not stuck in the airport for hours or even days on end. Airspace recently announced its new solution, Airtrace, that provides GPS tracking and reporting in areas that traditionally wouldn’t be available – and can all be accessed within the Airspace platform. With Airtrace, if a shipment is still trackable via GPS after the time its flight should have taken off, a reload is triggered. This eliminates the confusion and wasted time that often accompany stalled shipments. AirTrace solves a fundamental problem in the time-critical logistics space and was developed to provide complete shipment transparency throughout transport – all integrated into the Airspace platform with detailed reports available for customers.
Rusnak hopes to see the time-critical space as a whole embrace technology over the coming years in the way Airspace has. Freight forwarders now have the ability to provide value-add benefits to customers, such as instant routing alternatives, monitoring of shipment contents and real-time tracking.
While time-critical logistics is often associated with healthcare and aerospace, almost every industry has a time-critical component. When standard logistics options break down due to factors like natural disasters or pandemics, most industries — including agriculture, automotive, energy and general manufacturing — turn to time-critical forwarders such as Airspace.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit, flights were grounded overnight. While other companies suffered their worst on-time percentages during the pandemic, Airspace’s average delay increased only a mere seven minutes. The company’s patented technology is designed to customize routing by industry or type of shipment instantly, making Airspace an ideal option for any company with a shipment that needs to move quickly and get to its destination at a particular time.